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Trade group lashes at Square: The Independent Community Bankers of America is pressing the FDIC to reject Square's application to become an industrial loan corporation, contending it's a "loophole" that allows Square to skirt banking rules. "Square should be subject to the same restrictions and supervision that any other bank holding company of a community bank is subject to," executive vice president and senior regulatory counsel Christopher Cole wrote, also calling on Congress to close the ICL "loophole" because it creates an uneven playing field for community banks. Granting Square an ILC charter would allow it to engage in both banking and commercial activities without being subject to consolidated supervision, ICBA claims. ILCs do not have to comply with bank holding company rules, leading to concerns among some in the banking industry that Square's move could open the door to other fintech bank applications. Square's application comes as large technology companies including PayPal, Amazon, Google, Facebook and Amazon meet with banking regulators to inquire about regulations.
Amazon's knocking: Amazon is working on a potential program that would permit its staff to access consumers' homes and/or the trunks of their cars to make deliveries, reports CNBC, which adds it would be a protective move against the theft of unattended packages by "porch pirates." The e-commerce giant is discussing new technology with Phrame, a company that makes license plates that power remote access to trunks via a smartphone app. Amazon is also considering a doorbell that could store credentials to allow Amazon's couriers to access homes. Engadget reports Amazon has wanted to do something like this for years, and it's never gotten beyond the idea stage, suggesting there's uncertainty around this new move. Amazon's other security moves include placing lockers inside bank branches to avoid leaving packages unattended.
Mastercard's lab in India: Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga recently said the card network would spend $750 million to acquire and build new technology in India. Part of Mastercard's expansion is a new innovation lab, reports India's Economic Times. The lab in Pune will be Mastercard's ninth innovation lab globally and its second in the Asia Pacific region. Mastercard will work with financial institutions, merchants, and fintech developers to build technology for digital payments, data, financial inclusion, alternative payments and risk. The lab will also have ties to Mastercard's Start Path program for startups. About 3% of Mastercard's revenue comes from India, as do about 14% of its workers. Prior to this new commitment, Mastercard had already spent more than $550 million in India.
Monzo brushes off glitches: Monzo's had a series of challenges in the past year ranging from transaction-disrupting outages to running out of cards. But the company is pushing ahead with a revamped account service, and is pushing is prepaid card users to upgrade and starting a wait list for orders, reports Finextra. Monzo contends it has 450,000 signups for its new card account, which is past its initial projections. About 18,000 users have tested the account, and the migration of existing prepaid users to the new card should take about two months. Monzo also claims it's being pursued in the M&A market by "large technology companies," though Finextra quotes Monzo CEO Tom Bloomfield as saying large acquisitions usually do not go well. He also said Monzo's transparency following glitches and the recent card supply problem has helped it weather those issues.
From the Web
Danske Bank in talks with DNB on Vipps payment service in Norway
Reuters | Wed Oct 11, 2017 - Danske bank said Wednesday it has entered talks with Norwegian rival DNB’s electronic payment service Vipps about a distribution agreement in Norway. The bank also said it will terminate its own Mobilepay service in Norway. The news come after Nordea earlier on Wednesday said it will begin to cooperate with Vipps in Norway.
Alibaba says it will invest more than $15 billion over three years in global research program
CNBC | Wed Oct 11, 2017 - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba announced Wednesday it will invest more than $15 billion over the next three years into a global research and development program to increase collaboration and develop new technologies. That sum was slightly more than double the total amount Alibaba spent on R&D between 2014 and the fiscal year that ended March 31, 2017. The program is called the Academy for Discovery, Adventure, Momentum and Outlook — DAMO Academy for short. As part of the program, Alibaba will set up seven research labs in Beijing, Hangzhou, San Mateo and Bellevue in the U.S., Moscow, Tel Aviv and Singapore, and recruit 100 researchers to staff them. Those labs will undertake projects in areas of data intelligence, Internet of Things, financial technologies, quantum computing and human-machine interaction, including machine learning and Natural Language Processing. They would collaborate with institutions such as the University of California, Berkeley through its RISE Lab.
You Could Soon Get on Any Subway in the World By Just Tapping Your Smartphone
Fortune | Tue Oct 10, 2017 - In the near future, riders around the world will be able to access transit systems with just a tap of their smartphones, which can be linked directly to bank accounts for convenient payment. A few cities, like Chicago and London, already have such technology in place, but it’s not yet widespread. That will change soon, according to officials at several transportation companies that focus on mobile ticketing. “I think it’s closer than a lot of people think. Optimists would say you could have it up and running within 24 months, pessimists would say it might take 48 months,” David deKozan, a vice president of business development at Cubic Transportation Systems, a company that develops public transportation payment systems, told Fortune Monday at the American Public Transportation Association expo in Atlanta.
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