The Briefing on
Retail International Banker
The latest news, trends and data in RBI
Retail International Banker
News in Numbers
The percentage of the UK population that did not have a current account in 1981, the year when the first issue of Retail Banker International was launched. However, only 15% of the UK had no account whatsoever.
Now, 46 million people in the UK hold current accounts. According to the Financial Inclusion Commission, the UK ranks ninth in the world in terms of banking inclusion; furthermore, it reports that only about half of the unbanked population would like a bank account.
Starling Bank is going through another round of funding, this time to the sum of £80m ($107m).
Founded by Anne Boden, the challenger bank wants to raise new funding to help support its newly launched business banking account. To date, Starling had been solely funded by hedge fund manager Harald McPike who handed over £48m and owns over 50% of the firm.
In 1981, the amount of branches for banks and building societies totalled 22,000. Today it is about 7,800. NatWest, to pick just one example, is down from 3,370 then to 655 today.
In addition, in 1981 Barclays had a mere 240 ATMs across 3,014 branches. At the same time, 14 million workers were paid in cash. This is a stark contrast to the way people are paid now, usually via bank transfer, and a mile away from the cashless society that the UK is often predicted to be heading towards.
The UK government has divested a 7.7% stake in Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) for £2.51bn as part of its strategy to return the bank to private hands.
Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said: “This sale represents a significant step in returning RBS to full private ownership and putting the financial crisis behind us. The government should not be in the business of owning banks.
“The proceeds of this sale will go towards reducing our national debt – this is the right thing to do for taxpayers as we build an economy that is fit for the future.”
The government intends to dispose RBS shares worth £15bn by 2023. The UK bank was rescued through a £45.5bn taxpayer bailout during the financial crisis in 2008.
The Key Moments in RBI This Month
UK fintech Revolut plans to apply for US banking licence
UK-based fintech company Revolut is planning to apply for a banking license in the US by the end of this year.
Revolut CEO Nikolay Storonsky in an interview to Reuters said that his company intends to expand its banking services to the US.
It has already applied for a banking licence in Europe and is planning to expand its services to the US with a banking partner this year.
UniCredit contemplating merger with Societe Generale
Italian banking giant UniCredit is planning a merger with its French rival Societe Generale (SocGen), the Financial Times reported.
Sources familiar with the development told the publication that UniCredit chief executive Jean-Pierre Mustier, who previously served as head of SocGen’s investment banking arm, has been developing the idea for several months now.
However, no formal approach has been made.
SocGen directors are also exploring the possibility of the merger, the sources told the Financial Times.
Currently, the planning is in the initial stages as the Italy’s tense political scenario is said to have delayed the time frame of the deal from an original plan of 18 months.
Emirates NBD introduces digital banking kiosks
Emirates NBD has introduced digital kiosks in the UAE under a partnership with Diebold Nixdorf.
This digital kiosk, called EasyHub, will enable the customers to access various banking services as well as sign up for new products.
The device is expected to serve as a mini- Emirates NBD branch serving customer even after normal banking hours.
Leveraging on Diebold Nixdorf’s flexible self-service software Vynamic Connection Points, Emirates NBD EasyHub provides the customers a self-service banking experience supported by a video banker. The video banker guides the customers by offering step-by-step assistance.
Customers can utilise EasyHub to open accounts of their choice and procure a personalised debit card instantly.
Additionally, it supports all other conventional teller services, such as cash deposit, withdrawals, check cashing and deposits as well as internal fund transfers.
RBS sees resignations and protests before its AGM
This is occurring within a wealth of controversy for RBS. At the start of May, the Edinburgh-based incumbent announced the cancellation of its Williams & Glyn spin-off bank.
This will result in the closure of 162 branches and a loss of 792 jobs.
As a result, Unite, the UK’s biggest union, has begun a campaign outside RBS’ offices in Manchester and Edinburgh. It has called on communities, pensioners, activists, RBS staff and customers to join a demonstration.
Automation in Action
The latest companies to use AI to streamline their workforce
Pandora Automates 5% of Workforce
Music streaming service and Spotify rival Pandora has announced that it is laying off about 5% of its workforce in a bid to save around $45m a year. Jobs across several departments are being automated, including advertising, marketing and investment, as part of a wider restructuring to the company in a bid to maintain its presence in the streaming market.
Amazon Restructuring Sees Key Tasks Automated
Online retail giant Amazon has cut hundreds of jobs at its Seattle headquarters as the company reorganises to remove older departments and shift a growing number of tasks onto AI-based software. The company, which is enjoying strong growth, is reportedly restructuring to support future ventures, cutting some operating costs in the process.
Driverless Trucks Replace Oil Sands Jobs
Canada-based Suncor Energy has announced the layoff of several hundred workers as the company introduces autonomous haul trucks into its Alberta-based oil sands operations. The layoffs, which have prompted strong reactions from unions, are likely to be only the start, with Suncor planning to build a fleet of over 150 driverless trucks over the next six years.
Source: Global News
India Sees IT Layoffs in Tens of Thousands
Once one of the biggest employment sources in the country, India’s IT industry saw layoffs totalling over 56,000 in 2017, and is expecting to see further job cuts in the coming year. The layoffs have been largely due to digitisation and automation, which have dramatically reduced the number of workers required to maintain current operational levels.
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