This week we take a look at Square and their leap from fintech to banking and the enormous data leak from Equifax.
Jack Dorsey’s Square Makes a Move Into Banking
Since 2014 Square has offered small-business lending and cash advances through their lending arm, Square Capital. However, now Square wants in on the banking business. Peter Rudegeair gives us the details on the stunning move for the renowned fintech group: "The San Francisco-based finance firm led by Jack Dorsey plans to submit an application on Thursday to form a wholly owned bank based in Utah, the company said. The unit, to be called Square Financial Services Inc. would offer loans and deposit accounts to small businesses and be capitalized with $56 million in cash.”
Equifax data leak could involve 143 million consumers
Equifax made quite the announcement last week regarding a massive data leak that potentially can effect more than 100 million consumers. TechCrunch's Ron Miller reports on the staggering development: “It was a treasure trove of information for the bad guys out there and included Social Security numbers, birth dates, addresses and, in some instances, driver’s license numbers. As though that weren’t bad enough, 209,000 people had their credit card info leak and the breach also included dispute documents with personally identifying information from 182,000 consumers.”
U.S. Bank Announces Amazon Alexa Integration
Customers of U.S. Bank can now use voice command technology through Alexa to perform certain functions regarding their accounts. Phillip Ryan, senior editor of Bank Innovation, writes about the latest bank-Alexa pairing: “Available features include checking account balances, paying bills, and viewing transaction history across a user’s U.S. Bank accounts. [Gareth] Gaston sees an enhanced feature set in the future, but the bank wants to learn more about how customers are using the service first.”
Fintech Gains Traction as Businesses Embrace Alternative Banking and Financial Solutions
The influence of fintech is growing rapidly. It not only is making an impact with financial institutions, but the alternative banking solutions provided by fintech has impacted a variety of industries. Markets Insider looks into a variety of these notable opportunities: “With improved capabilities, firms are catching on to alternative forms of banking that offer automation of various financial processes ranging from payments to billing and invoicing. It's especially useful in the modern world, where transactions are more often done electronically.”
Are we safe to bank on biometrics?
Banking is taking on technology left and right, looking to become a more consumer-centric business. Biometric security is a part of this adopted technology, but as Finextra points out, it is important to reinforce this technology with additional security measures. From the article: “For financial institutions, the primary goal of digitization is making banking simpler and more intuitive for customers. With biometrics in banking rapidly gaining momentum, it is equally becoming an area of great interest for cybercriminals, meaning the security of the apps and systems that support these mechanisms is more critical than ever.”
Bank Execs Are Misaligned On Technology and Analytics
It can be easy for consumers to identify whether their bank is out of touch with the latest technology, though, as Ron Shevlin points out, what we perhaps don't understand is how often banks are out of touch internally. Shevlin writes, “Overall, you’ve got to wonder who’s running the technology show at many banks, because senior executives there don’t seem to agree on it. Just 17% of CEOs think that IT leads the process (with minimal or no contribution from the lines of business), in contrast to nearly half (45%) of CIOs who think their department leads.”
Are big-bank directors too distracted to govern?
With the proposed supervisory guidance by the Federal Reserve calling for bank directors in the US to spend more time with their core responsibilities, Jeremy Kress is questioning whether it can be feasibly accomplished. Kress writes, “The Fed’s proposal fails to address a critical shortcoming: The directors of the United States’ biggest banks are too busy to fulfill these governance responsibilities. Many directors serve on multiple boards and hold full-time executive positions. While these outside commitments provide valuable learning and networking opportunities, they also limit the time and attention that directors devote to bank governance.”