“In the UK, the Access-2-Accounts provision within Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) along with parallel initiatives including OpenBank and remedies from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) will introduce a new wave of technology and competitive openness. This new world of “openness” will likely present opportunity and challenge to both sides of the value-chain; banks and third-party processors.
PSD2, OpenBank and the CMA remedies introduce “front doors” to data to which banks will need to provide third parties with keys. These freshly mandated “open APIs” will be a milestone in banking technology and regulation, creating tremendous industry buzz.
However, considering the scope of each initiative and their projected implementation timetables along with their specification principles, it is apparent that PSD2, OpenBank and the CMA remedies offer access to the same thing; namely the end-users basic current account, albeit with different technical standards and implementations.
Essentially what’s on offer are access to three different front doors leading into the same room. While all three initiatives address the scope of the basic current account, each initiative varies in its inclusion of credit card, overdrafts and savings accounts. Furthermore, only the CMA remedies address loan products, and these are in the context of business accounts only.
With the average consumer and small business customer possessing a broad range of financial services products including current accounts, credit cards, personal loans, leases, insurance, ISAs and various other investment and credit accounts, the scope of these “open API” initiatives might leave some of us feeling underwhelmed when it comes to providing end-users with innovative, convenient and value-added services driven by a truly comprehensive picture of their financial relationships.
One might even ask how, without a platform able to aggregate data from a comprehensive range of target institutions and a broad list of product types, a third-party processor could build a sustainable business model given how limited and crowded the front room will be.
PSD2, Open Banking and the CMA remedies simultaneously introduce complexity and a narrow scope. The year unfolds with more questions than answers.”
Spain’s jobless hit four million for first time in five years as pandemic curbs bite
By Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño
MADRID (Reuters) – The number of jobless people in Spain rose above 4 million for the first time in five years in February, official data showed on Tuesday, as COVID-19 restrictions ravage the ailing economy.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Spain has lost more than 400,000 jobs, around two-thirds of them in the hospitality sector, which has struggled with limits on opening hours and capacity as well as an 80% slump in international tourism.
Jobless claims rose by 1.12% from a month earlier, or by 44,436 people to 4,008,789, Labour Ministry data showed, the fifth consecutive monthly increase in unemployment.
That number was 23.5% higher than in February 2020, the last month before the pandemic took hold in Spain.
“The rise in unemployment, caused by the third wave, is bad news, reflecting the structural flaws of the labour market that are accentuated by the pandemic,” Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz tweeted.
Restrictions vary sharply from region to region in Spain, with some shutting down all hospitality businesses, though Madrid has taken a particularly relaxed approach and kept bars and restaurants open.
A total of 30,211 positions were lost over the month, seasonally adjusted data from the Social Security Ministry showed. It was the first month more positions were closed than created since Spain emerged from its strict first-wave lockdown in May.
Still, the number of people supported by Spain’s ERTE furlough scheme across Spain fell by nearly 29,000 to 899,383 in February.
“These figures have remained more or less stable since September, indicating that the second and third waves of the pandemic have had a much smaller effect than the first in this regard,” the ministry said in a statement.
Hotels, bars and restaurants and air travel are the sectors with the highest proportion of furloughed workers, it added.
Tourism dependent regions like the Canary and Balearic Islands have been particularly hard hit, with the workforce contracting by more than 6% since last February in both archipelagos.
The last time the number of jobless in Spain hit 4 million was in April 2016.
(Reporting by Anita Kobylinska, Nathan Allen and Belén Carreño, Editing by Inti Landauro, Kirsten Donovan and Philippa Fletcher)
Pandemic ‘shecession’ reverses women’s workplace gains
By Anuradha Nagaraj
(Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The coronavirus pandemic reversed women’s workplace gains in many of the world’s wealthiest countries as the burden of childcare rose and female-dominated sectors shed jobs, according to research released on Tuesday.
Women were more likely than men to lose their jobs in 17 of the 24 rich countries where unemployment rose last year, according to the latest annual PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Women in Work Index.
Jobs in female-dominated sectors like marketing and communications were more likely to be lost than roles in finance, which are more likely to be held by men, said the report, calling the slowdown a “shecession”.
Meanwhile, women were spending on average 7.7 more hours a week than men on unpaid childcare, a “second shift” that is nearly the equivalent of a full-time job and risks forcing some out of paid work altogether, it found.
“Although jobs will return when economies bounce back, they will not necessarily be the same jobs,” said Larice Stielow, senior economist at PwC.
“If we don’t have policies in place to directly address the unequal burden of care, and to enable more women to enter jobs in growing sectors of the economy, women will return to fewer hours, lower-skilled, and lower paid jobs.”
The report, which looked at 33 countries in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) club of rich nations, said progress towards gender equality at work would not begin to recover until 2022.
Even then, the pace of progress would need to double if rich countries were to make up the losses by 2030, it said, calling on governments and businesses to improve access to growth sectors such as artificial intelligence and renewable energy.
Laura Hinton, chief people officer at PwC, said it was “paramount that gender pay gap reporting is prioritised, with targeted action plans put in place as businesses focus on building back better and fairer”.
Britain has required employers with more than 250 staff to submit gender pay gap figures every year since 2017 in a bid to reduce pay disparities, but last year it suspended the requirement due to the coronavirus pandemic.
(Reporting by Anuradha Nagaraj @AnuraNagaraj; Editing by Claire Cozens. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers the lives of people around the world who struggle to live freely or fairly. Visit http://news.trust.org)
German January exports to UK fell 30% year-on-year as Brexit hit – Stats Office
BERLIN (Reuters) – German exports to the United Kingdom fell by 30% year-on-year in January “due to Brexit effects”, preliminary trade figures released by the Federal Statistics Office on Tuesday showed.
In 2020, German exports to the UK fell by 15.5% compared to 2019, recording the biggest year-on-year decline since the financial and economic crisis in 2009, when they fell by 17.0%, the Office said.
“Since 2016 – the year of the Brexit referendum – German exports to the UK have steadily declined,” the Office said in a statement.
In 2015 German exports to the UK amounted to 89.0 billion euros. In 2020, German they totalled 66.9 billion euros.
Imports to Germany from the UK totalled 34.7 billion euros in 2020, down 9.6 % compared to 2019.
(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Madeline Chambers)
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