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Home » Daily Briefing » Morning briefing - Friday 12 August

Morning briefing - Friday 12 August

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The Chinese elevated bus that has become a sensation on social media and news sites is possibly being used to lure investors into buying products from a financial platform run by the chief executive of TEB Technology (Transit Elevated Bus Technology), according to Chinese state media. The elevated bus, which allows traffic to flow underneath, has been hailed as a great innovation that may solve China's congestion problems. Others have pointed out that the elevated bus is a fantastically impractical solution to congestion problems.

The soon-to-be-renamed UK challenger bank Mondo has been granted a restricted banking licence, meaning it can now hold customers' money. The app-only bank claims to have a waiting list of 200,000 people, and says its 30,000 existing customers have already spent £20 million via its prepaid card. Mondo CEO Tom Blomfield is the founder of GoCardless, which allows business to accept direct debit payments. The accelerated rise of Mondo is in part due to the fact that Blomfield had previously been CTO at Starling, but left to develop his own business. Now that a handful of app-only banks have emerged, which will leap ahead of the pack?

Anne Boden, CEO of Starling Bank, is the former COO at Irish bank AIB, which has its own worries after finishing near the bottom of the European bank stress test tables. Yesterday, worried AIB customers could be overheard fretting about problems at the bank that resulted in AIB issuing a statement that said it was experiencing technical difficulties in branches and with its mobile phone app. Customers of mobile-only banks will have little tolerance for technical difficulties that take out the entire bank. AIB customers were also hit by technical problems last month when its internet and tablet services went down.

A new report by the Brookings Institute claims that more regulation could increase financial inclusion across Africa. The report looked at 26 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America, finding that Kenya, South Africa, Uganda, Rwanda and Nigeria ranked among the top ten in the list of countries surveyed, according to Quartz.

As noted in Lafferty News earlier this week, bitcoin enthusiasts were stunned to discover that their investments are being written down by 36 percent at the bitcoin exchange Bitfinex after hackers made off with about $70 million worth of bitcoins. The word "haircut" has been used, but since people return for haircuts week after week, it's perhaps not the best metaphor to use. Read Bloomberg's account of the theft here.

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