NDGIT at the forefront of European B2B FinTechs

NDGIT GmbH announced today that it quadrupled its license revenues and added 20 new banks as customers in 2018 thanks to its innovative PSD2 and Open Banking platform. These success rates make NDGIT one of the fastest growing B2B FinTechs in Europe and is fuelling the company’s dynamic European expansion to four new European locations in 2019.

“The increasing digitisation of banks, driven by a change in customer behaviour and the European PSD2 regulation, has been a tremendous growth driver for NDGIT,” according to Oliver Dlugosch, NDGIT’s CEO.

“Banks have realised that they have to change if they want to compete in the same ecosystem as new digital players. The NDGIT Open Banking platform has become an important technological enabler for those vying to stay ahead. With strong sales and customer growth in 2018, we were able to distinguish ourselves as the leading open banking provider in Europe.”

NDGIT’s recent successes include:

Revenue growth

NDGIT reports a 400% increase in license revenues last year with the success of its PSD2 and Open Banking platform and expects sales to double again in the first quarter of 2019. In addition to providing the first 360-degree platform for open banking, NDGIT also delivers turnkey PSD2 solutions that make banks “PSD2 ready”.

Customer wins

In 2018, NDGIT gained over 20 banks as new customers for its PSD2 and Open Banking platform. NDGIT is also the most widely used PSD2 compliance solution in Europe. A total of 30 well-known banks belong to its customer base, including international leaders such as UBS and “Challenger Banks” like Banco BNI Europa.

International expansion
NDGIT currently has 50 employees in Munich, London, Zurich and Warsaw. Strong international growth will see the team doubling to 100 employees in 2019 with new offices opening in Paris and Madrid. As a result, NDGIT intends to continue developing international markets and optimally serve its customers in more than ten countries.

The secret to NDGIT’s success is its Open Banking Platform that allows banks to open up to digital partners without having to change their banking systems fundamentally. With NDGIT, banks can connect, control and evaluate innovative products and services from FinTechs via APIs. These new services can be easily integrated into existing systems.

Banks are already using this platform to efficiently implement PSD2, build ecosystems, provide banking-as-a-service to their digital partners, and rapidly deliver FinTech innovations and services to their customers through the NDGIT Marketplace.

Credit card balance transfers at 12 month high – comment

Commenting on the latest credit card stats released yesterday by UK Finance, Alastair Douglas, CEO of credit experts TotallyMoney, said: “Even though credit card providers continue to slash the duration of their 0% balance transfer offers, that in no way diminishes consumer demand for them.

“According to UK Finance, there were 664,000 balance transfers in January alone, totalling £1.49 billion — the highest figures seen for 12 months.

“If you only have a few months left on your existing 0% deal, it might be worth considering switching to another product now, before the duration of 0% balance transfer offers falls even further.

“However, I would urge customers not to rush into making panic applications and risk damaging their credit rating. Instead, they should sign up for a Free Credit Report to check their Borrowing Power and product eligibility. Then they’ll find out which cards they the have the best chance of being accepted for.”

The Right Equity Release joins forces with Marsden Building society to service the later life lending market

Marsden Building Society has joined forces with The Right Equity Release to launch a Lifetime Mortgage Service to complement its later lending products.

Rob Brennan, Director at The Right Equity Release, said: “We’re very excited to be partnering with the Marsden Building Society to supplement their innovative over 55+ mortgage portfolio. The later life lending market is experiencing rapid growth, and raising awareness of equity release as a fully regulated product with a lot to offer, is one of the fundamental aims of our partnership proposition.”

The Marsden’s Chief Executive, Rob Pheasey, added: “Many customers are facing barriers as they get older when it comes to their mortgage. Often, when people are approaching retirement age they’re looking to raise additional finance to meet their plans into and during retirement or, looking to downsize or use their savings to pay off their mortgage.

“We have a range of mortgage solutions for customers over the age of 55 but we felt that a partnership with an Equity Release provider supports customers with more choice where necessary. We are looking forward to working with The Right Equity Release who are reputable providers with a customer focused approach. By introducing the service, we believe it will support our customers with high-quality Lifetime Mortgage options further complementing our focus on the 55+ lending market.”

Over half of millennials want to use mobile for admin, with only 35% of businesses catching on

Workers haven’t realised the advantages of mobile, with 91% still preferring to use a desktop or laptop for administrative tasks, as revealed by research commissioned by ABBYY®, the global provider of content IQ solutions.

The research, of 1,246 employees in the UK, found that only one third (35%) use mobiles for administrative tasks, despite 43% of workers wanting to use it for this purpose. Millennials in particular are keen to use mobile, with 55% wanting to use mobiles for admin – yet only 43% currently do. Older generations are also open to using mobile for admin, with 35% of Gen X currently doing so, and 41% wanting to.

However, it’s clear that some employees are finding the latest technologies, such as mobile, too difficult to use – 28% still want to use pen and paper for admin tasks, as 46% find it simpler than other means. Desktop still runs the workplace in the UK, regardless of today’s remote working climate and the recent influx of digital-savvy millennials in the workplace. Almost half of workers (48%) use a desktop or laptop because it’s easier, and 41% because it’s faster.

The survey demonstrates that while many believe we live and work in a smarter, digital-first era, technology still isn’t being used to its full potential due to a lack of usability. This is despite the fact that 36% see mobile as more convenient and 37% believe it’s faster.

What’s more, automation of these tasks is lagging behind. In previous ABBYY research, it was found that in an average week, 39% of workers spend 1-2 days a week on maintaining databases, and 18% of millennials spend 2 days inputting data. Yet, two thirds (63%) of UK workers want to delegate these tasks to robots – without this option, 15% try to avoid doing tasks they dislike altogether.

As such, a huge amount of time is being spent on tasks that could be automated or speeded up through mobile technologies, and some tasks are even slipping off to-do lists. As more tech-savvy employees join the workforce, this research highlights the opportunity for businesses to listen to the younger generation and move tasks to mobile through more efficient and usable platforms.

“It’s very surprising to see that mobile and automation still aren’t being used to their full advantage, especially when we have these capabilities at our fingertips,” says Bruce Orcutt, Senior Vice President of Product at ABBYY. “Businesses and software developers must continue to work to make mobile interfaces more user friendly, and boost their convenience, ease and speed. However, the onus is also on businesses to harness mobile solutions and evolve the way their staff work.”

Orcutt continues: “As we prepare for the workforce of the future, based on a culture of convenience driven by mobile, organisations must champion smarter working practices, and educate staff on how to make the most of these platforms to drive productivity – and improve employee experience in the process.

“Working with companies offering specialist mobile platforms centred around user experience is crucial. This will enable workers young and old to harness technology to make their everyday administrative tasks easier, simpler, and more convenient. Technologies such as content IQ present huge opportunities to revolutionise administrative tasks and boost workplace productivity – and they’re already there for the taking.”

Mental Health Matters at Atradius

Leading trade credit insurer Atradius recognises that employee wellbeing sits at the very heart of the organisation and has recently taken this ethos a step further by putting in place a team of mental health first aiders to help support colleagues.

The 13-strong team at Atradius’ UK and Ireland headquarters in Cardiff have each received specialist training in mental health and employee wellbeing. They are trained to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health issues and offer a port of call for colleagues encountering problems and an opportunity to talk confidentially. The training includes an understanding of referral options available to ensure that individuals have the chance to access help in whatever way is right for them. Atradius also provides a full Employee Assistance Programme with access to external counselling services.

The initiative is fully supported at all levels within the company. The new mental health first aid team is advertised throughout the business, and further training sessions are planned to grow the team, including providing support at a regional level for Atradius’ other UK offices.

As well as the hands-on response, Atradius also recognises the importance of raising awareness of this once taboo topic and recently held a mental health awareness day to highlight some of the issues and to make colleagues aware of the changing attitudes to mental health. Regular monthly initiatives have been put in place to highlight the impact that poor mental health can have on wellbeing and a number of activities have been provided to support wellbeing, including a ‘rookie’ running club and weekly on-site yoga and relaxation classes.

Awareness of mental health in the workplace is increasing in a number of organisations following new guidance released by the HSE on Mental Health First Aid. In January 2019, MPs debated a Parliamentary motion on updating health and safety legislation to put mental and physical first aid on equal footing in the workplace.

Anne Middleton HR Manager at Atradius UK said: “As an employer, we have a responsibility for the health and wellbeing of our staff – something we take seriously. While it’s a legal requirement to have physical first aiders in the workplace, it is not currently compulsory to have mental health first aiders. However, mental health is an important part of an individual’s wellbeing and we want to ensure that the right support is there for our staff, whatever their problem.

“At Atradius, we actively promote a positive working culture and believe that treating our people with integrity and respect is the right thing to do both on a corporate and personal level. We all need to do more to raise awareness of mental health issues and providing early opportunities for intervention and support can make a real difference.”

The Money Stats February 2019 – Households Remain Under Financial Stress Despite Some Signs of Improvement

Striking Numbers

  • 24 years: How long it would take to save the average first time buyer deposit at the average UK savings rate out of the average UK income
  • -5.9%: Change in the average real wage since pre-crash peak in February 2008
  • £935.34: Increase in average total debt per adult in the year to December 2018
  • 0.92%: Average interest rate on a cash ISA in December 2018
  • 18.66%: Average credit card interest rate in December 2018
  • 26 years and 5 months: Time to pay off average credit card debt making only the minimum payment each month
  • £59,261: Average total debt per UK household in December 2018
  • £7,863: Average consumer credit debt per household in December 2018
  • £30.8 billion: Increase in Public Sector Net Debt (excluding RBS and debt to Bank of England) in the year to December 2018

Every Day in the UK

  • Net lending to individuals and housing associations in the UK grew by £138 million a day in December 2018.
  • 989 people a day reported they had become redundant in October to December 2018
  • 371 people a day were declared insolvent or bankrupt in October to December 2018. This was equivalent to one person every 3 minutes and 53 seconds.
  • Borrowers paid £140 million a day in interest in December 2018
  • The number of people unemployed fell by 274 per day in the year to December 2018.

Personal Debt in the UK

  • People in the UK owed £1.625 trillion at the end of December 2018. This is up from £1.576 trillion at the end of December 2017, an extra £935.34 per UK adult, £81.72 higher than the previous month.
  • The average total debt per household, including mortgages, was £59,261 in December. The revised figure for November was £59,105.
  • Per adult in the UK that’s an average debt of £30,995 in December, around 112.8% of average earnings. This is up from a revised £30,914 a month earlier.

Mortgages, Rent and Housing

  • Outstanding mortgage lending stood at £1.409 trillion at the end of December 2018. This is up from £1.369 trillion a year earlier.
  • That means that the estimated average outstanding mortgage for the 10.9 million households with mortgage debt was £128,823 in December.
  • The average mortgage interest rate was 2.48% at the end of December. Based on this, households with mortgages would pay an average of £3,195 in mortgage interest over the year.
  • For new loans, the average mortgage interest rate was 2.15%. Using the latest figures from UK Finance, this means new mortgages would attract an average of £3,133 in interest over the year.
  • According to UK Finance, gross mortgage lending in December 2018 totalled an estimated £21.1 billion, up 4.7% on December 2017.

Savings and Pensions

  • In Q3 2018, households saved an average of 4.3% of their post-tax income, including benefits. This compares with 4.4% in Q3 2017. From 2000 to 2015, the savings rate fluctuated mostly in the 6-10% range, with a post-crash peak of 12% in Q3 2009.
  • The average interest rate for an instant access savings account, not including bonus interest payments, was 0.25% in December 2018. For a cash ISA, this was 0.92%.
  • If someone on the average salary saved 4.3% of their income in an average instant access savings account for a year, they would receive £2.36 in interest after tax. If they saved it in an average cash ISA, they would receive £10.87.

Spending and Loans

  • In the year to November 2018, consumer credit increased by 7.1% according to UK Finance, while outstanding levels of credit card borrowing grew by 7.9%, slightly down on the rate of growth in early 2018.
  • In Q3 2018, households in the UK spent £108.8 million a day on water, electricity and gas, or £3.97 per household per day. On a seasonally adjusted basis, this was similar to Q2 2018.
  • The average interest rate on credit card lending bearing interest was 18.66% in December 2018. This is 17.91% above the Bank of England Base Rate of 0.75%.

The Bigger Picture

  • The UK economy grew by 0.2% in the three months to December 2018, a fall from the 0.6% growth in the third quarter of 2018, according to the latest estimates from the Office of National Statistics.
  • The CPI (Consumer Prices Index) 12 month rate stood at 2.1% for the year to December 2018 and 1.8% for the year to January 2019, down 0.5% compared with the year to November. January 2019 was the first time inflation has been below the Bank of England’s 2% target since February 2017.
  • The highest rates of inflation over the 12 months to January 2019 were for alcohol and tobacco (4.2%), transport (3.2%), education (3.1%) and communication (3.1%).

About The Money Charity:

The Money Charity is the UK’s financial capability charity. Our vision is that everyone has the ability to be on top of their money as a part of everyday life. We empower people across the UK to build the skills, knowledge, attitudes and behaviours to make the most of their money throughout their lives.

1st Stop Group joins London Stock Exchange Group’s ELITE

1st Stop Group has joined London Stock Exchange Group’s international business support and capital raising ecosystem, ELITE.  

1st Stop Group offers car finance loans, secured second charge mortgages and unsecured personal loans to UK customers, serving customers who are not able or not wishing to borrow from high street lenders. 1st Stop prides itself on its focus on excellent customer service and has held the Gold Trusted Service Award from Feefo for the past 3 years. They employ 170 people across offices in Blackpool, Durham and Manchester and is authorised by the Financial Conduct Authority.

Alex Mollart, CEO and founder, explained: “Joining the ELITE community allows us to become part of an extensive ecosystem of entrepreneurs, advisers, investors and stakeholders to help continue to grow our business.”

Umerah Akram, Head of ELITE UK, London Stock Exchange: “I’m excited to present the latest group of UK companies to join ELITE, a clear demonstration of the country’s ability to grow great businesses. These companies drive innovation, employment, and create opportunities for us all.

“ELITE is committed to giving the British business stars of the future the very best chance to succeed, providing them with access to appropriate expertise and capital. It is a unique, strong community of the best and most dynamic entrepreneurs, advisers, investors and business school academics from the UK, Europe and around the world.” 

Chartered Banker Institute becomes one of the first UK organisations to endorse the UN Principles for Responsible Banking

The Chartered Banker Institute is proud to announce that it has become one of the first UK organisations to endorse the UN Principles for Responsible Banking.

The Principles were developed by 28 of the world’s leading banks, all members of the United Nations Environment Finance Initiative (UNEP FI). The Principles are currently out for global public consultation until May 2019 and will become available for signature in September 2019, during the UN General Assembly. Until then banks and stakeholders can join this forward-looking coalition by becoming official endorsers of the Principles.

The Principles provide guidance for banks to create value for their customers, shareholders and society. They are the first global framework to enable banks to integrate sustainability across all business areas, from strategic, to portfolio, to transaction level. The transparency and accountability mechanism of the Principles requires signatories to address their most significant impacts, set public targets and report back on progress.

Simon Thompson, Chief Executive, Chartered Banker Institute commented: “Successfully embedding the Principles for Responsible Banking (PRB) at the heart of our sector is crucial. As the oldest banking institute in the world, we have a long-term commitment to setting and driving upwards the standards for knowledgeable, accountable and responsible bankers and, through, this work our support of the responsible banking agenda. Having launched the world’s first Green Finance Certificate in 2018, we are now ensuring that the PRBs are being included in all our qualifications. This will not only help embed sustainability within our sector but will demonstrate in a very practical way the social purpose of banking and help reconnect banks and society.”

Valdis Dombrovskis, Vice President European Commission added: “Banks have a special responsibility that comes from being at the center of the financial system.” He continued, “I encourage all banks to sign up to the Principles for Responsible Banking.”

Simone Dettling, head of the Banking team at UNEP FI further added: “It is fantastic to see this coalition growing so quickly. The Principles for Responsible Banking are rapidly setting the global standard for what it means to be a responsible bank. We invite banks that haven’t endorsed them yet to join and show their commitment to the sustainable banking system of the future.”

Together delivers strong quarterly results with the loan book reaching a new high

Together, one of the UK’s leading specialist secured lenders, has announced continued robust growth in its quarterly results to 31 December 2018, as the group’s loan book reached a new high of £3.25bn driven by higher lending at conservative loan to values.

Building on over four decades of experience, Together continued to grow strongly over the quarter, with monthly loan originations up 24.9% to £171.7m, compared to the same quarter last year. The Group remained highly profitable and cash generative, delivering profit before tax of £31.2m and cash receipts to £363.0m for the quarter.

Group Chairman, Mike McTighe commented: “Together achieved strong lending volumes in the second quarter, with our Commercial Finance and Personal Finance businesses both achieving increased levels of originations to drive the loan book to a new high of £3.25bn. We also further extended our reach into the mortgage networks and clubs during the quarter, launching our bridging products via these channels, and added additional breadth and maturity to our funding.

“With the March 29, 2019 Brexit deadline looming and the UK parliament remaining divided over the best way forward, the UK’s economic outlook remains uncertain. Lead indicators are also mixed, with weaker consumer spending and UK house price inflation forecast to slow, while average weekly earnings are up 3.4% year-on-year and employment running at its highest level since 1971. Against this backdrop, we are continuing to see strong demand for our products and we believe Together remains well placed to deliver on our continued growth plans.”

Marc Goldberg, Commercial Finance CEO, said: “We are very proud to be announcing this strong set of results for the quarter, as we lent more to our personal and commercial customers and our loan book reached a new high of £3.25bn. Accomplishing these results would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our 750 colleagues who continue to deliver positive outcomes and great service to our customers. The future is very exciting for everyone at Together and we look forward to continuing to grow the business and helping more individuals, families and businesses to access the finances they need.”

Pete Ball, Personal Finance CEO, added: “Together’s strong quarterly growth is a great testament to the success of our unique model, based on almost 45 years of experience, and to our ongoing focus on enhancing our offering to deliver the best outcomes for our customers. As part of this commitment, we are very excited to have just launched Together+, a new programme offering exclusive services and support to our key packaging brokers, as we continue to expand and strengthen our relationships with our distribution networks.”

Higher lending volumes drive continued robust loan book growth

  • Average monthly loan originations of £171.7m, up 24.9% on Q1’19 (£137.5m) and up 28.3% on Q2’18 (£133.9m)
  • Increased levels of originations in both Commercial Finance and Personal Finance
  • Group weighted average loan to value of new originations in the quarter has remained conservative at 58.9% compared with 58.1% in Q1’19 and 58.7% in Q2’18
  • Loan book reached new high of £3.25bn at December 31, 2018, up 7.9% compared with September 30, 2018 (£3.01bn) and up 27.6% compared with December 31, 2017 (£2.55bn)

Strong profitability and cash generation maintained

  • Interest receivable and similar income at £84.1m, up 2.4% on Q1’19 (£82.2m) and up 18.1% on Q2’18 (£71.2m) driven by interest earned on the growing loan book
  • Net interest margin remains highly attractive at 7.1%, in line with Q1’19 (7.2%) although down on Q2’18 (8.0%), reflecting competitive market conditions, redemption of higher yielding legacy products and changes in product mix
  • IFRS 9 net impairment charge of £3.8m, compared with £4.3m in Q1’19 and £2.6m for Q2’18 (presented under IAS 39). IFRS 9 incorporates provisions for increased economic uncertainty.
  • EBITDA increased slightly to £60.5m compared with £59.8m in Q1’19, and was up 11.4% compared with £54.3m in Q2’18
  • Profit before tax remains strong at £31.2m, up 2.8% on Q1’19 (£30.4m), although down 1.0% on Q2’18 (£31.5m) reflecting the impact of the adoption of IFRS 9, net interest margin compression and ongoing cost of investment to support future growth
  • Group remains highly cash generative with receipts of £363.0m, up 21.2% compared with £299.5m in Q2’18, although lower than £414.7m in Q1’19 reflecting seasonal factors

Significant additional liquidity raised to support lending growth

  • Successful completion of a second residential backed securitisation, Together Asset Backed Securitisation 2018-1 PLC (“TABS 2”) completed in November 2018 for £287m

Continued investment in platform and governance

  • Richard Gregory, OBE, announced as Chairman of Together Personal Finance

Basis of preparation

  • The results for Q1 and Q2 2019 reported under IFRS 9, while those for prior periods are reported under IAS 39. We have elected not to restate comparative figures. An explanation of the impact of transition to IFRS 9 is given in Notes 2 and 6 to the financial statement included within this report.

TransUnion First Time Buyer Advice

George Robbins, director of financial services at leading credit reference agency TransUnion (formerly Callcredit), shares advice for first-time buyers: “News this week from UK Finance that the number of first-time buyer mortgages has hit a 12-year high will reassure those that may have been stalling their plans to get onto the property ladder whilst Brexit looms in the background. Schemes like Help to Buy have undoubtedly played a part, along with a wide range of mortgage offerings. So what should aspiring property owners be doing to help prepare for that all-important first mortgage?

“At TransUnion, we’re advocates of consumers taking control of their financial passports and encourage them to check their credit report regularly, which they can do for free via our website. For first-time buyers, this is absolutely essential, as when it comes to applying for a mortgage, a credit score will be one of the factors in a lender’s decision. It represents an assessment of creditworthiness and the likelihood of being able to make repayments, so it’s important to know what information is held.

“That said, a high credit score doesn’t automatically mean the applicant will get the mortgage they want, nor does a low score mean they can’t borrow. Each finance provider has their own lending criteria and will take a number of factors into account to ensure that the mortgage is affordable for the borrower.

“Those keen to get onto the property ladder should make sure, before they start looking for a mortgage, that all the information on their credit file is correct. If necessary, they can take steps to improve their credit score, as we’ve outlined below.”

  • Pay bills on time or ahead of schedule, a good credit score needs to be built up over time – lenders will look favourably on this
  • Avoid keeping a high balance on credit cards. Lenders may view it as excessive debt and be concerned about ability to repay
  • Don’t make multiple applications for credit over a short period of time, as this can have a negative impact on a credit record
  • Close down out of date credit cards and cancel old agreements, such as unused store cards, as these will still appear on the file. Lenders may be wary about the potential size of debt, particularly when taking on the commitment of a mortgage
  • Sever old financial relationships – those that have previously had a joint account or loan with someone they no longer have a financial connection with should update their credit file and remove them. Otherwise, their financial behaviour could influence the mortgage decision
  • If a consumer notices anything on their credit report that could be incorrect, or think they might be the victim of identity fraud and that someone has applied for credit in their name, they should contact the credit reference agency, who will work with the lender to try and resolve the issue