By Oliver Smith on Thursday 5 March 2020
Starling Bank has seen a 60 per cent drop in accounts doing transactions in Chinese Renminbi.
Several fintechs across London and the UK are ramping-up their responses to the spread of coronavirus, with at least one running rehearsals for a worst-case outbreak.
Tomorrow Curve is closing all its offices and running a “remote test day” to ensure its services remain up should the company be forced to enact a compulsory work from home policy.
“We are committed to being operational for our customers in a 100 per cent remote scenario, and this is why Friday’s Remote test day is an important exercise,” said Matt Collinge, Curve’s CTO.
“This isn’t just a work from home scenario, this is a simulation of 100 per cent remote working environment.”
The only exception to Curve’s test is the onboarding of new starters, which will still be conducted in-person as the startup is still working through a remote solution.
Monzo hasn’t made any operational changes as of yet, but says it is following Government guidelines asking any staff returning from infected areas to work from home.
A Revolut spokesperson said the digital banking service has: “taken every necessary precaution... including providing regular internal guidance on the latest information from government authorities.”
The actions aren’t atypical for what’s happening across the traditional banking sector. Many banks have imposed restrictions on foreign business trips, including Goldman Sachs and Citigroup, and at the same time several are testing their disaster recovery sites should coronavirus take hold.
Interestingly for fintechs, the spread of coronavirus can be seen directly in their usage statistics.
Starling Bank told AltFi that since the end of 2019 when cases of coronavirus began “on a daily basis we’ve seen a 60 per cent reduction in the number of accounts doing transactions in Chinese Renminbi, and a 30 per cent reduction in the value of transactions.”
If coronavirus takes hold in Europe an outbreak could be a double-edged sword for fintechs, with declines in payments balanced against an uptick in digital banking as consumers grow less willing to visit traditional branch networks.