Has Safaricom abused its market-leading position in Kenya? Yes, says a draft report commissioned by the country's communications regulator and written by London-headquartered advisory firm Analysys Mason. "The report recommends Safaricom opens up its mobile-money platform known as M-Pesa to transfers from competitors' services at prices determined by the regulator. Separately, Kenyan opposition lawmaker Jakoyo Midiwo is also proposing a law to force a Safaricom split, a plan that chief executive Bob Collymore has called 'plain stupid'," according to Bloomberg. Safaricom, owned by Vodafone, has a 69 percent share of the market and is effectively four times the size of its nearest competitor, the Kenyan arm of Bharti Airtel, which has a 17.5 percent share.
Which French bank will break ranks first and meet with Marine Le Pen? That's the question playing on the minds of executives in France, after the National Front leader had her first meeting, according to her chief of staff, with a blue-chip French business. "I have no time to waste speaking with a candidate who manipulates data and reality and whose platform doesn't stand a chance of ever being implemented," Patrick Artus, Natixis chief economist, said in an interview with Bloomberg. "I can understand that colleagues outside France may need a better understanding, but I know what her plan consists of and I would gain nothing from asking her more." Le Pen, who is leading in first-round polls, is in the extraordinary situation where it appears that no bank in the country will fund her campaign. Is corporate France going to step in in place of the banks? It is currently unclear who is actually providing the finance. Meanwhile the New York Times, chastened by last year's American election upset, is a little less sure of itself: "As weeks and months go by, Ms. Le Pen's verdict on Mr. Trump's victory keeps haunting some of us: 'What seemed impossible,' she said on Nov. 9, 'is now possible.'"
From NFC World, some revealing insights into how incentives are driving the use of mobile payments. "Some 25% of US consumers are now using mobile payments both in-store and in-app and, of these consumers...86% of consumers who recall being offered a mobile payment incentive are now going on to claim the offer at the point of sale," citing research by Auriemma. There's been a reversal in the source of these offerings too, with banks being replaced by merchants as the lead source: "Merchant-funded offers are now most prevalent (46 percent) and regardless of who offered the incentive, nearly eight in ten respondents (78 percent) report their offer was linked to a specific merchant. Many consumers, however, are not seeking these incentives out — most hear about them from friends, or through emails or letters."
The Breugel Newsletter is offering advice for Italian banking on how not to end up like its Japanese counterpart. Both systems "were hobbled by NPLs," write Christopher Gandrud and Mark Hallerberg. "Though it is difficult to compare directly NPLs in different countries at different times because of the use of different definitions and varying supervisory stringency in enforcing those definitions, Japan's NPLs peaked at over eight percent of gross loans in 2001. Italy's are currently over 16 percent."
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