Financial Technology

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Tag: international

FinTech 101: What is a Green Bank?

What Is a Green Bank?
You may have heard the term “Green Bank” and wondered what it meant. This short article will explain the term and concept behind it.

Green Banks in a Nutshell
A green bank is a bank that exists for the sole purpose of battling earth climate change by funding projects that may be able to decrease the global carbon emissions and increase the use of alternative and renewable fuels and energy. They tend to support infrastructure spending in wind, solar, and other renewable energy space.

Green Banks: Functional Model
Green banks are not climate charities. Their funding is expected to be paid back with a profit for the bank. Currently, they are supported by some states in the U.S. and also by private funding. Green Banks utilize philanthropic and public funds. They generally fund energy projects that beyond the research stage and “good to go”. The Coalition for Green Capital (CGC) is a nonprofit agency that is deeply involved in advocating for green banks’ continued development.

Where Did the Idea for Green Banks Originate?
The idea for green banks started in 2008 when two entrepreneurial-minded, Ken Berlin and Reed Hundt, came up with the concept as part of the Obama transition team’s plans for promoting cleaner energy changes in US society. A proposal to enact federally supported green banks was attached to the American Clean Energy and Security Act. The concept never made it as legislation at the federal level. Green bank supporters were not daunted. Consequently, green bank advocates persuaded some states to take up the cause.

Green Banks: Some Statics
Currently, there are at least ten states that have at least one green bank. In addition, they are in the early stages of catching on globally as well. They also exist in Australia, the United Kingdom, and Malaysia. Within the U.S., green banks have already been involved in the funneling of some $3 billion in funds for clean-energy projects.

Green Banks: Their Future Development
With the advent of the Biden presidency, green banks may again find a firmer footing at the federal level. Indeed, in December 2020, Mr. Biden proposed the idea of a national green bank. They appear sure to gain more traction internationally as the desire to dampen climate change takes hold.

Transferwise — The Revolutionized International Transfer Jacob Parker Bowles

TransferWise — The Revolutionized International Transfer

Anyone who has ever had to deal with international money transfers, whether through ACH, wire transfers or e-Wallets like PayPal, knows well the extreme headaches, frustrations and steep fees that are a seemingly unavoidable part of doing so. Yet, in a globalized world where it is necessary for businesses, entrepreneurs, and freelancers to send and receive payment across the world and in multiple currencies, international payments are often a necessary part of conducting business.

In many cases, however, the costs that businesses and individual entrepreneurs face for maintaining international payment capabilities can be prohibitive. While banks and services like PayPal often advertise low fees for sending money across borders, everyone who has done so knows that the realities are often not as they are promoted.

TransferWise is a UK company that was founded by two entrepreneurs who finally had enough of the deceptive marketing that banks and other services put out about the true cost of international transfers. TransferWise is a system that is designed to eliminate the banks’ and large payment processors’ stranglehold on international money transfers. By holding accounts at hundreds of banks across the globe and striking strategic deals with key financial institutions, TransferWise is able to almost completely eliminate surcharges associated with sending and spending across borders.

TransferWise typically charges a simple, low fee of around .6 percent, plus a flat fee of $1 per transfer. Whereas sending $5,000 from the United States to the United Kingdom through PayPal may cost business account holders upwards of $200 between both the sender and recipient, with TransferWise that same transaction will cost only around $31. It’s easy to see how savings like that can add up to huge boosts to the bottom line of any business that is required to regularly transfer large sums.

TransferWise also has a number of highly unique products, such as real foreign bank account services. TransferWise Clients are able to obtain real account information in dozens of countries, which they can then use as their local business accounts for that area. Having local bank accounts wherever one does business not only provides a patina of international prestige, but it also can eliminate hundreds of dollars in transfer, exchange and service fees on every transaction.

TransferWise is revolutionizing the way that international payments are made.

Jacob Parker Bowles Fintech Around The World

Fintech Around the World

Fintech, short for financial technology, is a commonplace term in first world economies such as those of the United States and Europe. Even if you don’t work in the finance sector, you are probably familiar with it. It makes its way into the news all the time with hyperbolic speculation about how fintech will be the ultimate disruptor of traditional banking, overturning archaic legacy systems. It’s true that financial technologies have shaken up traditional financial markets to a certain extent, but exactly how much and in what ways varies across the globe.

To get a sense of how much the fintech sector is disrupting markets, we should look at stock investments in the major fintech markets around the world, on both a macro and micro scale. Overall, fintech has taken the world by storm. According to statistics collected from the 2017 FinTech Adoption Index, the average adoption rate of fintech products around the world is 33 percent- up from 15 percent in 2015. Even in emerging markets such as India, Brazil, China, Mexico, and South Africa, the adoption rate is about 50 percent. Fintech funding around the world totaled $49.7 billion between 2010 and 2015, and $25.8 billion in 2016 alone. As of 2016, there were approximately 1,400 fintech companies throughout 54 countries.

In the macrocosm, it is clear that fintech is a dominant and growing force, but to understand its impact on a deeper level, one should examine regional trends. Here is how the fintech sector plays out across European, U.S., and Asian markets, based on recent data from GP Bullhound and CB Insights.

United States

The United States is a hotspot for fintech activity, representing nearly half (46%) of all global fintech startups valued at $1 billion or more (or unicorns, in finance speak). The United States exhibits a fairly consistent trend over recent quarters where the volume of fintech deals being made is decreasing while the amounts are increasing. The reason for this trend can be attributed to a shift toward large-scale private investments, which could affect the supply of venture capital funding to other startups.


Fintech investments in European markets, in contrast to the purely capitalist United States, tend to be smaller and more regulated. Only one European fintech investment as of the second quarter of 2017 exceeded $50 million in value. Although the volume and value of investments have decreased since the first quarter of the year, investments follow a pattern according to the European financial year, whereby investors seeks to capitalize on early-stage fintech startups before the end of the fiscal year. Additionally, traditional banking models in the UK are starting to give way to technology-driven ones, as can be seen in ClearBank, the first UK clearing bank built on cloud technology rather than legacy systems.


The Asian fintech market has experienced rapid growth in the second quarter of the 2017 fiscal year, with deal value and volume both experiencing five-quarter highs. The reason for the spike in Asian fintech markets can be explained by huge investments in financial technologies alongside traditional financial institutions. Rather than disrupting traditional institutions, fintech businesses in Asia tend to supplement the existing infrastructure.

It’s easy to make generalizations about fintech and the effect it has on traditional financial markets around the world, but when we take a step back and examine how it plays out across key markets, it becomes apparent that fintech has a long way to go before it becomes the ultimate disrupter of financial markets people speculate. For now, it exists within a highly volatile market where traditional systems such as legacy banks continue to exist alongside fintech startups, many of them gradually morphing their financial offerings.

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