Challenger banks in Britain seem to have the wind in their sails: Metro Bank's first quarter results show a 57 percent rise in loans, to £6.8bn from £4.1bn in the corresponding quarter last year. City AM observes: "Metro is yet to reach the milestone of posting an annual profit, but today's results show it's heading in the right direction." Standard Chartered's profits for the first quarter meanwhile have almost doubled. However, there is concern in the UK at the rise in consumer borrowing in a time of rising inflation: something to watch, for incumbents and challengers alike.
The board of Wells Fargo made it through by a whisker, thanks to Warren Buffett's continued support it seems. However many shareholders made their feelings known in plain terms, with several people escorted from the meeting. The angry encounter does not mark the end of the affair: now, according to a Reuters report, two senators are "asking a US audit watchdog to review whether KPMG failed to disclose or prevent fraud when it audited Wells Fargo's books during the time period that the bank's sales force was opening two million unauthorised accounts."
Not many Europeans have had the pleasure of having €500 notes passing through their wallet; indeed some commentators argue that the only real users of such large denomination notes are criminals and tax evaders and that there is no need to continue printing them. However, the note has now become symbolic of the official trend to do away with cash and embrace cashless forms of payment. "Cash-loving Germans," reports Reuters, citing a new ING report of consumers in Europe, Australia and the United States, "have been concerned that a move by the European Central Bank to phase out the €500 note by the end of next year is the start of a slippery slope. Germany is one of the countries that uses cash the most."
Can crypto save the world? In an interview profile, Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin argues that financial incentives powered and delivered by computer science can bring equilibrium to adversaries, and the valuation of his technology at $4bn shows that many share his vision. TechCrunch describes his innovation thus: "the two most interesting things about Bitcoin are that it is fully decentralised, and it is programmable money. Ethereum is both of those things on steroids." Meanwhile another crypto innovation, the blockchain, continues to change the world, one byte at a time. Chinese tech giant Tencent is reportedly building a Blockchain Platform.
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