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 /  News  /  Weekly News Digest 31 May 2019

Weekly News Digest 31 May 2019

EuropeanFlags
Weekly News Digest 6th December 2019
EBA advises cuts & mergers | RBC results | Pay.uk hits new high | NZ capital ratios announced
Rural bank
Weekly News Digest 29 November 2019
US rural bank closures | Chinese rural bank risk | Westpac woes | RBS goes digital | Paytm raises $1bn |
Banks Customer Satisfaction
Weekly News Digest 22 November 2019
US bank satisfaction | Amex network surge | TSB outage lessons | Elavon buys Sage Pay | Apple Pay challenge
Golden Gate Bridge
Weekly News Digest 15 November 2019
Bank of Google | Facebook Pay | Apple Card algorithm alarms | Chinese super-apps open up
Credit cards stack 2
Weekly News Digest 8th November 2019
US loan standards tighten | Spain mulls revolving credit regulations | Australian bank results | Wirecard buys AllScore
Glass buildings
Weekly News Digest 1st November 2019
Mastercard transactions soar | Quarterly results from banks worldwide | Uber Money launch | Raisin plans for US
results chart image
Weekly News Digest 25 October 2019
Quarterly results from cards networks | RBS results reveal cards growth | Handelsbanken narrows focus
Chart 4
Weekly News Digest 18 October 2019
Shining Q3 for US consumer banking | Libra board elected | Machine Learning keeps a banker in the loop and more...
Credit cards – abstract
Weekly News Digest 11 October 2019
Small US issuers struggle with delinquency | PayPal quits Libra | Deutsche IT push | Europe's banks cope with low rates
Diverging rails
Weekly News Digest 4 October 2019
Revolut picks Visa for global expansion | US schemes cool on Libra | Eurozone cards thrive | tough month for UK challengers | PayPal gets Chinese payments licence
Exloding pie chart
Weekly News Digest 27 September 2019
US banking revolution | schemes beyond rails | UK branches close | depositors pay in Denmark | Rome mulls cash-use penalty
Federal Reserve 3
Weekly News Digest 20 September 2019
Fed rates cut | data-led revenues beckon, |UK payments transforming | Hong Kong neobanks on ice | TransferWise profits
jigsaw

There's no doubting the biggest story this week as merchant acquiring giant Global Payments and TSYS (known as a processor, but also an acquirer) announced a $21.5bn merger that marks another milestone in the ongoing consolidation of merchant services. As incumbents prepare to withstand new digital challengers, the combined entity should be well placed to meet the needs of both banks and merchants, especially for the all-important small and medium-sized enterprise segment, which is the most open to solutions coming from newer digital players such as PayPal, Square and Stripe. The announcement comes in the wake of two similar mergers in the sector this year: FIS/Worldpay and Fiserv/First Data. "With the latest wave of consolidation, we are rapidly approaching the point where a small handful of players control the majority of the acquiring and processing market," commented David Hickey, head of research at Verisk Financial Lafferty Research. "While scale and the associated cost savings are major driving factors, the big payments companies are also looking to provide a more comprehensive service across the entire payments value chain. This protects against fintech players who have carved out niches within the industry, reducing the revenue available to the traditional players."

However, systems are only as good as what passes through them and so the latest signal that the American consumer is overstretched should raise concerns. That signal comes from the FDIC's latest quarterly report which, though seeing interest income leading the charge in a nine percent rise in earnings, reveals that net charge-offs, mostly from credit cards, increased by over five percent year-on-year: the deposits insurer points out that, over the last ten quarters, the credit card charge-off rate has now climbed for eight of them. Earlier this month, the New York Fed noted a rise in credit card delinquencies – and not just among Millennials, with middle-aged borrowers looking to new financial instruments as they scramble to keep up. "It could be", speculated American Banker, "that older Americans, especially those with lower income levels, are struggling to balance their financial obligations as they begin to age out of the workforce or take on increased medical expenses." Almost one in six adults expects to miss a credit card payment this year, according to a survey from WalletHub.

A statistic mentioned in passing in a Bloomberg overview of virtual banking moves in Southeast Asia encapsulates the extraordinary reach of the Chinese consumer tech giants: "about 60 percent of Citigroup's consumer credit cards in Asia are now paid via Ant's Alipay". With Hong Kong online banking licences now under their belts, Alibaba (from which sprang Ant Financial/Alipay) and rival Tencent (which developed WeChat Pay) are looking to Singapore as the perfect base for the capture of regional prospects such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand and the Philippines. But will Singapore's central bank follow Hong Kong in setting capital ratios for incoming neo-banks at the same level as those required of traditional banks? Governmental enthusiasm for all things digital in Singapore, as well as digitalisation moves by domestic firms, particularly DBS, means that local players might well be ready for the fight. And it is not only the likes of Jack Ma who are noticing the island's perfect position: HSBC too is seeing a lot of room for improvement in its performance there, both in onshore and offshore operations.

There is certainly wide enthusiasm for digital ecosystems that embrace payments, but it is quite another matter to trust banks lacking a bricks-and-mortar provenance with big-ticket items such as salaries and mortgages. That natural reluctance is borne out in a new report from London which reveals that British consumers, despite the authorities' stout efforts to make account switching easier, are uneasy about stepping away from the Big Five banks when it comes to their primary bank accounts. But, as with so much in finance, the problem boils down to a percentage game: the Centre for Economics and Business Research in its accompanying survey of over four thousand adults in the country revealed that four in ten savers would indeed think seriously about taking up a new deposit relationship if they were being offered an extra percentage point in interest. But, in such a low rate environment, who can afford to give them that?

Finally, from Istanbul comes news of a surge in the number of customers with credit card debt and unpaid consumer loans: a year-on-year rise of 27 percent in the first quarter of this year, according to the Banks Association of Turkey Risk Centre. However a closer look at the association's numbers (PDF) reveals that individuals with unpaid consumer loans rose by 44 percent – in sharp contrast to a 14 percent increase for the cohort with credit card debt. When it comes to payment cards, the country is one of the largest markets in the region, with credit cardholding standing at about 96 cards per 100 adults. Four issuers (Yapı Kredi, Garanti, Isbank and Akbank) hold over two thirds of credit card billed volume at the POS and, with some of the recent macro indicators for the economy also troubling, they will be watching these debt trends closely.

To end, links to some other stories of interest this week...


The Weekly News Digest from Verisk Financial Research highlights significant developments that have recently occurred in payment cards, digital payments, acquiring, processing, retail banking and consumer credit. Our writers and researchers frame these items in contexts such as historical, sectoral and regional trends, adding a layer of value that is often missing from the rolling news cycle.

About Verisk Financial Research

The market-leading online, interactive database and data dashboards covering the global cards and payments industry in detail, plus a range of data-packed country and regional reports. Leveraging Lafferty Research data going back to 2010 – and forecasts up to 2020 – our unique datasets cover 72 countries around the world and feature more than 250 metrics per market.

Find out more about Verisk Financial Research or contact us at research_enquiries@verisk.com.