- First close of £6m Series A funding which follows £2.5m seed round in 2015
- Neyber founding team from Goldman Sachs
Neyber, a provider of financial employee benefits, today launches a unique consumer lending platform enabling employers to offer loans at more affordable rates than are accessible on the High Street. Loan repayments are taken through a unique salary deduction technology that integrates directly with employer payroll systems. Neyber plans to lend over £100M throughout the UK over the course of 2016.
The launch comes in the wake of Neyber raising £6m in the first close of series A funding which follows a £2.5m seed round in 2015. Neyber has invested significantly in designing a user experience and platform that currently doesn’t exist in the market and is revolutionising the way employees can borrow money.
This follows a successful year-long partnership with Police Mutual1, the not-for-profit financial services provider to the Police family. Neyber lent £8M to serving police officers, civilian employees and their families over the past 12 months, on average, saving 20% on monthly debt repayments and gaining the equivalent of a 5% yearly pay rise2.
Neyber’s cloudbased tech solution integrates seamlessly with an employer’s payroll system. Its proprietary underwriting algorithm takes ‘know your customer’ to a new level and allows Neyber to take a broader and personalised view of an individual’s affordability and likelihood to repay and therefore applicants are more likely to be approved. Together with significantly lower cost of acquisition this means that Neyber can offer lending at more affordable rates than are traditionally available from banks or alternative lenders.
Neyber was founded by former Goldman Sachs investment bankers Martin ljaha and Monica Kalia along with financial technology expert Ezechi Britton. Britton is chief technology officer at Neyber and has ingrained tech into the DNA of the company. The founders joined together to deliver a genuine alternative to the solutions offered by financial service providers whose high borrowing rates and low returns on savings have helped to create an unprecedented era of financial stress.
Martin Ijaha, Neyber co-founder, comments: “Through Neyber we have created an exciting alternative lending platform which aims to address some of the challenges faced by existing alternative lenders. Neyber’s disruptive approach to consumer lending allows us to better manage borrower defaults and originate loans at a vastly lower cost of acquisition and find credit worthy borrowers. Employers gain access to an easy to implement solution that integrates seamlessly with payroll that can also act as a tool for engagement and productivity and reduce stress related absenteeism.”
Unlike banks, Neyber has a genuinely lower cost base due to a lower default risk by virtue of salary deduction and streamlined technology (no branches or legacy costs) enabling it to pass on the benefits of lower costs in the form of lower borrowing rates (4.9% APR) for customers.
Ezechi Britton, Neyber CTO, comments: “At Neyber we understand the challenges faced by HR Directors and have spent time listening to them on how technology can positively impact upon their work and the workplace. It’s why we have invested significantly in creating a unique lending platform that we know will revolutionise the concept of employee benefits in the UK.”
Employees who borrow from Neyber can choose from loans ranging from £500 – £25,000 to meet their personal needs. Neyber customers significantly reduce their outgoing costs through consolidating their existing debts in a single loan at a low competitive rate of 4.9% APR. Similar to the Police Mutual partnership, others too can save, on average 20% of their monthly outgoings, equating to a 5% yearly pay rise, during a period of continuing wage rise restraint.
Neyber recently conducted research into the UK’s consumer credit crisis in the UK workforce3. The research showed that over half of UK workers (53%) would value access to affordable loans from their employers.
The need is clear as one in 10 employees (9%) do not have any savings , with the same number (9%) paying more than half their income on debt repayments and a further tenth (9%) have defaulted on a loan in the past two years. Over half (56%) of employees would be worried if they had an emergency expenditure of over £1,000.
Almost two thirds (64%) of UK employees have been affected by money worries, with workers reporting that it is most likely to affect them by feeling stressed (38%) or anxious (35%). And as a result, over one in 10 (13%) have been unable to focus at work due to financial stress and a quarter (25%) of workers have lost sleep due to financial stress in the past year.
Neyber co-founder and chief strategy officer, Monica Kalia, added:
“Our research showed that over half (53%) of workers would value access to affordable loans and savings from their employer. Financial wellbeing has been quickly gaining recognition amongst HR professionals and the interest for our proposition amongst employers has been immense. It is imperative that employers provide their employees with the solutions they need to help them improve their financial, physical and mental wellbeing.”
U.S. inauguration turns poet Amanda Gorman into best seller
WASHINGTON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The president’s poet woke up a superstar on Thursday, after a powerful reading at the U.S. inauguration catapulted 22-year-old Amanda Gorman to the top of Amazon’s best-seller list.
Hours after Gorman’s electric performance at the swearing-in of President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, her two books – neither out yet – topped Amazon.com’s sales list.
“I AM ON THE FLOOR MY BOOKS ARE #1 & #2 ON AMAZON AFTER 1 DAY!” Gorman, a Los Angeles resident, wrote on Twitter.
Gorman’s debut poetry collection ‘The Hill We Climb’ won top spot in the online retail giant’s sale charts, closely followed by her upcoming ‘Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem’.
While poetry’s popularity is on the up, it remains a niche market and the overnight adulation clearly caught Gorman short.
“Thank you so much to everyone for supporting me and my words. As Yeats put it: ‘For words alone are certain good: Sing, then’.”
Gorman, the youngest poet in U.S. history to mark the transition of presidential power, offered a hopeful vision for a deeply divided country in Wednesday’s rendition.
“Being American is more than a pride we inherit. It’s the past we step into and how we repair it,” Gorman said on the steps of the U.S. Capitol two weeks after a mob laid siege and following a year of global protests for racial justice.
“We will not march back to what was. We move to what shall be, a country that is bruised, but whole. Benevolent, but bold. Fierce and free.”
The performance stirred instant acclaim, with praise from across the country and political spectrum, from the Republican-backing Lincoln Project to former President Barack Obama.
“Wasn’t @TheAmandaGorman’s poem just stunning? She’s promised to run for president in 2036 and I for one can’t wait,” tweeted former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.
A graduate of Harvard University, Gorman says she overcame a speech impediment in her youth and became the first U.S. National Youth Poet Laureate in 2017.
She has now joined the ranks of august inaugural poets such as Robert Frost and Maya Angelou.
Her social media reach boomed, with her tens of thousands of followers ballooning into a Twitter fan base of a million-plus.
“I have never been prouder to see another young woman rise! Brava Brava, @TheAmandaGorman! Maya Angelou is cheering—and so am I,” tweeted TV host Oprah Winfrey.
Gorman’s books are both due out in September.
Third on Amazon’s best selling list was another picture book linked to politics and projecting hope: ‘Ambitious Girl’ by Vice-President Kamala Harris’ niece, Meena Harris.
(Reporting by Umberto Bacchi @UmbertoBacchi, Editing by Lyndsay Griffiths. 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)
Why brands harnessing the power of digital are winning in this evolving business landscape
By Justin Pike, Founder and Chairman, MYPINPAD
Delivery of intuitive, secure, personalised, and frictionless user experiences has long been table stakes in digital commerce, well before the era of COVID-19. As businesses harness the revolutionary power of digital technologies, they have pursued large-scale change to adapt to evolving consumer preferences (some more successfully than others, but that’s a blog for another day). Digital transformation is a term we hear repeatedly, and it looks different for each organisation, but essentially, it’s about utilising technology and data to digitise, automate, innovate and improve processes and the customer experience across the entire business.
As I said, this was already well underway but then came 2020 and no industry escaped the disruption of the coronavirus outbreak, which has had an indelible impact on businesses performance, operations, and revenue. Regardless of whether the impact of COVID has been very positive or very challenging, it has forced organisations globally to re-evaluate and re-orient strategies to adapt.
As lockdowns and pandemic-related restrictions continue to change daily life, this raises the question of how we can balance a dramatic shift to digital and the benefits it brings, while ensuring business continuity and innovation both during and post-COVID, and protecting everyone against fraud?
Digital is an essential survival tool, and even more so in a COVID world
No one could have predicted the dramatic digital pivot that has taken place over this year. Indeed, within weeks of the COVID outbreak cash usage in the UK dropped by around 50%. Digital solutions including delivery applications, contactless payments, mobile commerce, online and mobile banking have become essential components of a touchless customer experience in the era of social distancing. It’s no longer just about an enhanced and superior customer experience, it’s also about health, safety and survival.
In store, businesses have benefited from contactless payments enabling faster throughput and reduced need for consumers to touch payment terminals (therefore requiring greater cleaning, which degrades the hardware much faster). Mastercard reported a 40% increase in contactless payments – including tap-to-pay and mobile pay – during the first quarter of the year as the global pandemic worsened. Digital has also become an essential sales channel for many B2C brands. Where brick and mortar stores have been required to close, digital commerce enables continuity of customer relationships and revenue. This channel also provides brands with rich customer data, which can be used to enhance and personalise the customer experience and typically results in greater levels of engagement and uplifts in revenue.
Industry forecasts estimate that worldwide spending on the technologies and services enabling digital transformation will reach GBP 1.8 trillion in 2023 – a clear indication that the process represents a long-term investment and a global commitment to digital-first strategy. The key point here is that digital brings significant benefits, and regardless of COVID, is here to stay.
The challenges that rapid digital transformation brings to businesses
Regardless of whether businesses are operating in developed or less-developed economies, these times of crisis have levelled the playing field in the sense that all businesses are facing similar issues. Access to products and supplies, maintaining customer relationships, accelerating sales for some and declining sales for others, health and hygiene are just a few of the unique challenges brought about by COVID.
Many businesses in physical environments have had to swiftly implement changes to significantly reduce safety risks for staff and customers, such as contactless payments, mobile ordering and delivery options. But with these changes come a host of other benefits of digitisation, such as faster transactions, and reduced human error at the point-of-sale.
The reliance on technology, however, can also expose organisations and consumers to certain vulnerabilities. In particular, the risks of fraud and cybercrime have dramatically increased since the onset of the pandemic as scammers have taken advantage of digital technologies to target both businesses and individuals.
As a McKinsey report illustrates, new levels of sophistication in the activities of fraudsters have placed more pressure on companies that have been previously slow to go digital, bringing “into sharp relief how vulnerable companies really are”, and damaging the financial health of small and large businesses. In fact, the Bottomline 2020 Business Payments Barometer reveals that only one in 10 small businesses across the UK report recovering more than 50% of losses due to fraud.
But take these stats with a grain of salt. While it is important to be aware of the risks and challenges this new business landscape brings, it’s equally as important to have a lens firmly across your own business, industry and audience, and to identify the changes you can make internally to mitigate risk as well as improve your customer experience. Where can you make some quick wins? Do you have the right skillsets internally to achieve what you need to achieve? What technology is out there that will enable your business goals? There are tech companies like MYPINPAD that are making huge strides in software development, which will transform businesses globally.
A digital world post-COVID
Almost a year in, the line between business success and failure remains fragile. However, an ongoing transition towards greater digitisation will be the difference between survival and the alternative.
There is a wide range of initiatives businesses can implement to weather this storm. If we look at the space MYPINPAD operates within, secure digital consumer authentication is crucial to the ongoing success and security of not only financial products but also identification and verification across a range of different industry verticals. Shifting the authentication of consumers securely onto mobile devices enables businesses to completely reshape their customer experiences. By bringing together a more seamless, frictionless customer experience, accessibility, privacy, security and access to consumer data, businesses are able to drive digital transformation across day-to-day activities.
Against this backdrop, software with stronger security standards continue to play an ever more vital role in supporting society, protecting consumers and businesses from the increase in risks that rapid digitisation brings. Already, merchants can deploy PIN on Mobile technology from companies like MYPINPAD, onto their smart devices to speed up the digitisation process many are now tackling.
Essentially, opening up universal payments and authentication methods that feel familiar, for both online and face-to-face transactions, will be key to opening up a world of possibilities when it comes to redefining how businesses engage with consumers.
Brexit responsible for food supply problems in Northern Ireland, Ireland says
LONDON (Reuters) – Food supply problems in Northern Ireland are due to Brexit because there are now a certain amount of checks on goods going between Britain and Northern Ireland, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.
British ministers have sought to play down the disruption of Brexit in recent days.
“The supermarket shelves were full before Christmas and there are some issues now in terms of supply chains and so that’s clearly a Brexit issue,” Coveney told ITV.
The Northern Irish protocol means there are “a certain amount of checks on goods coming from GB into Northern Ireland and that involves some disruption,” he said.
(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Tom Hogue)
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