Daily Dash: Singapore Bans DBS From New Business Ventures After IT Failures

November 2, 2023
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DBS has been banned from new business ventures in Singapore, and Hong Kong has found “unique value” in e-HKD.

Singapore Regulator Bans DBS Bank From New Business Ventures 

DBS has been restricted from non-essential business activities by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), following repeated and prolonged disruptions of DBS banking services this year.

Under the restriction, DBS Bank will not be allowed to acquire new business ventures or reduce the size of its branch and ATM networks in Singapore.

The regulator will review the progress made by DBS Bank on its remediation efforts at the end of six months.

After this, the MAS may extend the duration of the measures, vary the additional capital requirements currently imposed on DBS or take further action.

Meanwhile, the regulator will retain the multiplier of 1.8 times to DBS Bank’s risk weighted assets for operational risk, which was imposed after the March and May 2023 incidents.

e-HKD Could Offer 'Unique Value' To Payments Ecosystem, Says HKMA Study

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) has published a Phase 1 report on its central bank digital currency (CBDC) pilot, finding that e-HKD could offer “unique value” to the payments ecosystem.

The HKMA said the three main areas where it sees potential in e-HKD are programmability, tokenisation and atomic settlement.

“An e-HKD has the potential to facilitate faster, more cost-efficient and more inclusive transactions. It can also enable new types of economic transactions,” it said.

However, the HKMA cautioned that it has only tested e-HKD on a small scale and in a controlled environment, so further study is needed to determine if these benefits can be scaled up.

The HKMA also noted that it has not yet reached a decision on whether to issue e-HKD.

Tinder Owner Settles Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google, Returns Disputed $40m

Match Group, parent company of dating apps Tinder, Hinge and OKCupid, has settled an antitrust lawsuit against Google over its in-app payments policy.

The case was scheduled to go to trial on November 6, but court documents confirm that all claims and counterclaims between the two parties were voluntarily dismissed on October 31.

In May 2022, Match filed a lawsuit alleging that Google has abused its market power by forcing Match to use Google’s own billing system to stay on the Google Play Store.

Since then, Google has opened up the Play Store to third-party billing systems, and in its latest earnings report, Match said it will switch to “user choice billing” in March 2024.

In addition, $40m that was held in an escrow account to cover unpaid Play Store fees during litigation will be returned to Google.

European Payments Initiative Completes Acquisition Of iDEAL And Payconiq International 

The European Payments Initiative (EPI) has announced the completion of its acquisition of Dutch payment solution iDEAL and Luxembourg technology provider Payconiq International. 

The two acquisitions, first revealed earlier this year, mark a significant milestone for EPI’s strategy to deliver a unified instant payment scheme and platform for Europe.

EPI will now prepare for the launch of Wero, its new digital wallet solution, in Belgium, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

After launching in these four markets, which together represent more than half of all non-cash payments in the euro area, EPI will extend the solution to other European countries.

Offline CBDC Payments Successfully Trialled At Australian University

Australia’s Southern Cross University has completed a pilot scheme with ANZ that uses offline central bank digital currency (CBDC) to pay for goods and services at on-campus stores.

The eight-week pilot explored how a CBDC could be used during internet outages and in rural areas where connectivity is poor.

The university was selected due to flooding that took place locally a year prior. During the devastating Northern Rivers floods of 2022, Southern Cross University’s Lismore campus was the main evacuation centre and an emergency housing site for the broader community. 

“ATMs and EFTPOS machines were down for weeks, and a cash-filled ATM had to be flown into Lismore to help residents pay for essential goods and services,” said Hari Janakiraman, head of industry and innovation, transaction banking at ANZ.

“Because of this experience, offline Payments was a very tangible and powerful use case for our customer, Southern Cross University, and their community.”

In 2024 Elon Musk Wants X To Replace Bank Accounts

In an audio clip obtained by The Verge, Elon Musk said that in 2024 he wants X users to start porting “their entire financial life” to the micro-blogging platform.

“If it involves money, it will be on our platform,” he said. “Money or securities or whatever. It’s not just like I send $20 to my friend. I’m talking about, like, you won’t need a bank account.”

The clip was recorded during one of X’s now-private earnings calls. Linda Yaccarino, CEO of X, confirmed in a public blog post that 2024 is the goal for a new payment system launch on the platform.

“We want money on X to flow as freely as information and conversation,” she said. “We have already secured our first money transmitter licences in several states, and we are moving toward launching a global payment system — more soon!”

UK Needs Stablecoin Regulation, Says Outgoing BoE Deputy Governor

Jon Cunliffe, deputy governor for financial stability at the Bank of England (BoE), has said in his final speech that the UK needs regulation of “systemic payment system stablecoins”.

“The Bank expects very soon to issue a Discussion Paper setting out its proposed regulatory regime for systemic retail payment systems using stablecoins,” he said.

Although Cunliffe said he was unable to set out the proposed regime in detail during his speech, he said it will use the new Financial Services and Markets Act that became law in June.

“The act extends the Bank of England’s existing powers to regulate conventional systemic payment systems,” he said.

“The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) will regulate the issuance and custody of stablecoins for conduct and market integrity purposes.”

Bank Of Lithuania Fines E-Money Institution For Non-Compliance

Lithuania's central bank has fined Demivolt, an e-money institution, for failure to comply with equity capital requirements. 

According to the regulator, the institution has since rectified and eliminated the issue. 

Due to this mitigating factor, Demivolt institution was fined a more lenient fine of €3,000. 

The latest public censure for non-compliance with capital requirement rules comes after the Bank of Lithuania publicly censured, but did not fine, NomuPay, a fortnight ago.

Credit Cards Cost Americans $130bn In 2022, Agency Says

The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has found that credit card companies charged consumers more than $105bn in interest and more than $25bn in fees in 2022.

Consumers who carried a balance paid about 20 percent of their average balance in interest and fees over the year, while cardholders with subprime scores paid 30 to 40 cents in interest and fees per dollar.

Total outstanding credit card debt exceeded $1trn for the first time since the CFPB began collecting this data, the agency said.

It noted that the remarkable profits, which surpass pre-pandemic levels, “potentially signal a lack of competition in a market consistently dominated by the top 10 credit card companies”.

In a biennial report to Congress, the CFPB also raised concerns that nearly one-tenth of credit card users have “persistent debt”, where they are charged more in interest and fees than they pay toward the principal.

Klarna Staff Threaten Strike Over Salary Audit 

Swedish staff at Klarna, the multinational buy now, pay later (BNPL) firm, have threatened to go on strike over the right of employees to an annual salary audit.

Two of Sweden’s trade unions, Unionen and Swedish Engineering, handed a strike notice to Klarna on Thursday (October 26) last week. If talks fail, then staffers at the fintech giant could walk out on November 7. 

According to Unionen, work to reach an agreement with Klarna has been going on for several years, and a collective agreement has been on the table since April.

“It is deeply regrettable that Klarna's management does not listen to the employees' needs and desire to participate in decision-making processes at the company and have the right to an annual salary audit,” Unionen said in a statement.

“It feels surprisingly out of date for a company that wants to appear modern.”

Taiwan Passes First Reading Of Major Crypto Regulation

Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan has passed the first reading of a new bill that seeks to introduce a comprehensive regulatory framework and strengthen oversight of the crypto industry.

The Virtual Asset Management Bill was co-authored by 17 lawmakers and was introduced by Chiang Yung-chang, a member of the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP).

If adopted, the bill will mean all virtual asset platforms that wish to operate in Taiwan will need to obtain a licence to do so.

They will also be subject to new rules on virtual asset listing criteria, separation of client funds, rules on fair advertising and marketing, and standards for information security and anti-money laundering (AML).

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