The Bankwatch

Tracking the consumer evolution of financial services

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The Tragically Hip farewell concert in Kingston brings Canada to a standstill

Few outside Ontario Canada know about this.  I watched as the national broadcaster CBC showed it ad free.  This was up there with the <a href=””>Cream farewell at the Albert Hall</a>.

I admit to not even being a Hip fan.  They just were not that big in western Canada where I spent my early time.  But somehow they were always there, and the music is in your bones if you lived in Canada.

Gord Downie is diagnosed with terminal brain cancer, and that does make this an actual farewell.

btw, The Hip, aka Downie lyrics, are the only band that will require access to wikipedia to know what the hell he is talking about.  Brilliant !!


Canada, yes the entire country, stood still and put even the Olympics aside for a moment.

The secret rules of engagement are hard to endorse

When the appearance of conflict meets the appearance of force

But I can guarantee, there’ll be no knock on the door

I’m total pro here, that’s what I’m here for

I come from downtown, born ready for you

Armed with skill and it’s frustration, and grace, too

Written by Colin Henderson

August 20, 2016 at 23:37

Posted in Uncategorized

Hong Kong-based Bitcoin exchange Bitfinex customers lose 120K BTC

Bitcoin reporting continues to be as vague as the average persons understanding of Blockchain. Nonetheless this loss will be closely followed. The last big loss was 2 years~ ago at MtGox in Japan, and that resulted in the exchange being shut down.

Following MtGox closing in bankruptcy, here are the reasons according to Wired:

But on the inside, according to some who were there, Mt. Gox was a messy combination of poor management, neglect, and raw inexperience.

So Coindesk are doing no-one any favours by attempting to deflect the Bitfinex loss with a mid article shift to a discussion about Bitcoin mining activity and that effect on Bitcoin prices. Interesting but not the point.

The issue is security of the Blockchain and why this new loss occurred, apparently related to social media, but with no details. Maybe this loss is something to do with phishing or someone using the same password across multiple sites. Whatever the cause it is important to elaborate very quickly if confidence in Blockchain activities is to be established. This quote hidden in the Coindesk article is critical.

Market observer and trader Jacob Eliosoff provided similar input, telling CoinDesk that the event had sparked a new wave of uncertainty.

“The big question will be how much was stolen and whether Bitfinex will make customers whole,” he said.

No-one loses money with online investing with their bank and there is a reason for that. Blockchain has many advantages, but confidence will always come back to the institution involved, and not the encryption methodology; this is entirely due to the human component, which is an unfortunate reality.

Written by Colin Henderson

August 3, 2016 at 00:35

Posted in Uncategorized

Bank customers move from online banking to mobile apps

The ongoing demise of online banking and its replacement by mobile banking continues. These statistics overshadow the almost 50% reduction trend in branch based transactions in UK that is expected to continue significantly to 2021. They also note this is not a reflection of bank disaffection; rather it is a shift in how customers interact with Banks.

For industry wonks click through for the BBA/EY report.

Apps crush internet for UK banking logins

In 2015, there were 4.3 million online banking logins each day, down two per cent on the previous year, the BBA’s Way We Bank Now report shows. In contrast, banking app logins topped 11 million a day, a 50% rise on 2014 as 40,000 apps were downloaded every 24 hours.

The number of payments made using banking apps hit 347 million last year, a 54% rise. Internet banking still has the edge here, used for 417 million payments in 2015, but this was up just two per cent.

Further the EY lead notes something of particular interest

However, they also face difficulties in bringing legacy infrastructure in line with their new aspirations and creating an organisational environment that attracts top talent to achieve their aims.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 25, 2016 at 02:48

Posted in Uncategorized

Apple Pay accepted wherever Interac Flash is accepted, despite Apple’s own messaging

I am glad it is not just me that was confused about Apple Pay in Canada and where it is accepted. Remind me not to read marketing messages and lemming blog posts again. Even the Apple page is confusing with their “Coming Soon” section, which I now assume must be referring to online Apple Pay Interac Debit (online purchases such as Foodora).

Here is the punchline; Apple Pay works everywhere Interac Flash (Tap) is accepted. I have verified this over last few days, and am delightfully surprised with the convenience and simplicity.

myWPEdit Image


I do not know where the “only accepted at Tim Hortons” meme came from but lets consider that banished forever!

There is a decent explanation at Interac.

TD Canada, BMO, Scotiabank Launches Apple Pay for Visa, Debit Cards

Chad • a month ago

At LCBO today I said “credit” and pulled out my phone. The cashier said they don’t accept Apple Pay… I told him I’d used it yesterday at the same location (which I had) and he replied that management said not to accept it… it was ridiculous! Didn’t want to get into arguments I can’t win but it was an unpleasant surprise. Time to go to a different location next time.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 12, 2016 at 04:28

Posted in Uncategorized

Keshia Evans: symbol of US race problems

I have no way of knowing of any backstory on this pic from earlier today, but this has turned out today to be one of those pictures that just symbolizes everything in one moment.  “No words” as a good friend would say.

baton rouge

Written by Colin Henderson

July 11, 2016 at 21:51

Posted in Uncategorized

2008 Banking redux

This paragraph within an FT article tonight caught my attention. This is directly reminiscent of 2008 when a French Real Estate Fund froze redemptions.

On Tuesday, the pound shed 2 per cent after a handful of large UK commercial property funds froze redemptions by clients, stoking concerns the fallout from last month’s vote in favour of leaving the EU was gathering pace.

The “froze redemption” link goes to this:

Investors have been barred from cashing in their assets in two more big commercial property funds amid widespread disposals of UK assets on fears that the economic fallout from last month’s vote to leave the EU was gathering pace.

Not good. Liquidity is a given in markets, and Sept 2008 looms large. The world economy came to a stop on Sept 15th 2008 when no bank would transact with another bank for bank to bank liquidity transactions. Inter Bank trust broke down that day.
This is why the BoE is making extraordinary amounts of liquidity available but watch for other Central Banks to do the same.

Written by Colin Henderson

July 5, 2016 at 18:52

Posted in Uncategorized

2007 reprise: Could FaceBook risk becoming another AOL?

Here is something I wrote in 2007. (Could Facebook Risk becoming another AOL). The context was different, ok, a lot different given that is 9 years ago and I was thinking about Lending Club who were only available within FaceBook, but I believe the conclusion stands. In fact the reality that has shown the shifts over those 9 years towards an open and mobile dominated internet supports the point. No-one has the final answer, because there is no final answer.

FaceBook are chasing their tails.

Here is the thing. AOL which was the US #1 internet source at one point, lost out because its mission was to retain users within the walled garden. It is not the first time this argument has been used but consider …. AOL strategy was all about building tools within their own garden, and as early as the 1990’s they even had their own browser and their own markup language (think proprietary version of HTML). They had their own CD which let you install AOL on your computer. The AOL ‘platform’ was a CD. Platform, tools, apps; the parallels are remarkably close.

How do make a walled garden successful over the long haul? How can you make people remain within a walled garden without them being constantly bombarded by “grass is always greener” incentives that is the internet today.

The graphic below is a chart of active users on different social networks. If we dig behind the words “social network” what we are looking at his how people communicate with friends and relatives, or at least that is how the “social network” got its name. Meanwhile along the way in an effort to make money, advertising is introduced and co-incidentally people seek different models, whether simplicity, lower bandwidth, mobile friendly, ad-free, etc..

One striking aspect of the names on the graphic below is that they all have different models, different ways to engage people, and most distinctively different was to adapt to mobile. Who will be there in 2025? How will that list look in 2025?

So reading this Techcrunch story today which is one of a succession of initiatives by FaceBook to adapt to the AOL problem just makes we wonder.


myWPEdit Image

Written by Colin Henderson

June 29, 2016 at 15:52

Posted in Uncategorized

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