Top 10 Fintech News Stories for the Week Ending December 12, 2020

Here are what I consider to be the top 10 most important fintech news stories of the past week.

Online lender SoFi explores deal to go public, report says from CNBC – SoFi might be the next fintech to go public, possibly via a SPAC, having held discussions with a number of so-called blank-check acquisition companies.

Affirm: The Morality of Money from The Generalist – This may be the most in depth analysis of Affirm ever written starting with Max Levchin’s childhood in the former Soviet Union and providing a detailed examination of Affirm’s S-1.

Robinhood is preparing for its 2021 IPO launch with Goldman Sachs from Business Insider – In keeping with our IPO theme this week we hear news of Robinhood having selected bankers for their IPO next year.

Two cryptocurrency firms seek OCC approval to charter trust banks from American Banker – Paxos and BitPay have applied to the OCC to become national trust banks, a type of bank that does not require FDIC insurance.

Why Square’s Expanding Ecosystem Threatens Banking’s Future from The Financial Brand – Many very small businesses are using Square as they would a bank because it is so easy and convenient, and this is before Square has set up its FDIC-approved industrial bank.

Synctera raises $12.4 million seed to connect community banks and fintechs from FinLedger – The former head of Uber Money, Peter Hazlehurst, has launched his new company, Synctera, which aims to make it easier for community banks and fintechs to partner with each other.

Jack Ma’s Ant Group Ramped Up Loans, Exposing Achilles’ Heel of China’s Banking System from The Wall Street Journal – The scale of Ant Group’s lending program is staggering so it is worth a deep dive into their lending practices.

Capital One bans buy now, pay later transactions on its credit cards from Business Insider – Capital One becomes the first major bank to hit back at the BNPL trend that has been sweeping the country this year.

The new challenger banks: ‘A lot of these are going to fail’ from American Banker – Penny Crosman analyzes the rapidly expanding challenger bank space with some analysts concluding that many of these new digital banks are not going to survive.

Betterment CEO Jon Stein Steps Down from The Wall Street Journal – The CEO and founder of Betterment has stepped down and he will be succeeded by Sarah Kirshbaum Levy, a former ViacomCBS executive who has been consulting with the company since October 1.

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