Santander UK joins Barclays in blocking payments to Binance after regulator clamps down on the crypto exchange

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Binance CEO, Changpeng Zhao.

  • Santander’s UK unit has joined Barclays in blocking customer payments to crypto exchange Binance.
  • The FCA, the UK financial watchdog, has banned Binance from trading regulated derivatives.
  • A series of countries have been cracking down on the crypto exchange, including Poland and Japan.
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Santander UK has joined rival banks Barclays and NatWest in stopping its customers from making payments to Binance after the national regulator said the cryptocurrency exchange was not allowed to trade regulated derivatives.

In a customer update sent via email on Thursday, Santander told its UK clients the bank would block payments to Binance for their client safety and protection. Customers could however still receive funds from Binance.

“We’re taking this step as we want to do everything we can to protect you and keep your money safe.” the email said.

The bank cited the FCA’s statement warning consumers about Binance and said they were making the change to protect customers from fraud.

“In recent months, we have seen a large increase in UK customers becoming the victims of cryptocurrency fraud. Keeping our customers safe is a top priority, so we have decided to prevent payments to Binance following the FCA’s warning to consumers.” Santander’s UK customer service account added via Twitter in response to a complaint about the ban.

Santander’s customers had taken to the social media platform to protest the ban and suggest they would close their accounts with the bank unless it reversed its decision

The Financial Conduct Authority told Binance in late June it had to halt regulated activities unless it obtained prior written permission from the regulator. The FCA effectively banned the crypto exchange’s UK-listed entity, Binance Markets, from offering crypto derivatives.

A series of UK-based financial institutions have since stopped their customers from making payments to the crypto exchange platform, among them Barclays and NatWest, which are some of the biggest retail banks in the country.

Binance’s main exchange is not UK-based, so people in the country who buy and sell cryptocurrencies via its platform will not be affected by the ban, the crypto exchange provider said at the time of the ban.

Binance has been in the hot seat in various countries now – most recently the Polish regulator urged caution, while Thailand’s Securities and Exchange Commission filed a criminal complaint against the company for unlicensed operating.

Japan’s regulator had also issued a warning about Binance operating in the country despite not having obtained a license to do so and the crypto exchange risks being fined in Germany for offering digital tokens that track securities without presenting an investor prospectus, according to Reuters.

On Wednesday, the day before Santander’s announcement, Binance’s CEO Changpeng Zhao wrote a blog post addressing the regulatory crackdown. He said he welcomed regulation as it helped the industry grow and that Binance was focused on its customers best interests.

“Compliance is a journey – especially in new sectors like crypto. […] Binance has grown very quickly and we haven’t always got everything exactly right, but we are learning and improving every day. We hope to clarify and reiterate our commitment to partner with regulators, and that we are proactively hiring more talent, putting in place more systems and processes to protect our users.” he wrote.

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Spain’s Santander’s 4th-quarter profit plunges 90% as the bank sets aside higher provisions to weather the pandemic

A woman walks past a Banco Santander branch in downtown Rio de Janeiro August 19, 2014.   REUTERS/Pilar Olivares/File Photo
  • Santander’s fourth-quarter profit plunged 90% to 277 million euros ($333.5 million) on Wednesday. 
  • It posted a record annual loss of 8.77 billion euros ($10.5 billion) after setting aside higher loan-loss reserves.
  • The bank still intends to pay the maximum cash dividend allowed in accordance with the ECB.
  • Visit the Business section of Insider for more stories.

Spanish lender Santander posted a sharp drop in fourth-quarter profit Wednesday on higher restructuring costs and provisions to weather the impact of the pandemic.

The bank’s quarterly profit fell 90% to 277 million euros ($333.5 million) compared to the same period a year ago, missing the $411 million euros ($494.7 million) estimate of analysts polled by Reuters. However, estimates varied between 102 million euros to 616 million euros.

The bank posted its first ever annual loss of 8.77 billion euros ($10.5 billion) after setting aside one-off charges worth 12.6 billion euros, taking hits on job losses and branch closures. 

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Here are the key numbers:

  • EPS: €0.008 versus €0.069 estimated
  • Quarterly profit: €277 million versus €411 million
  • Full year net loss: €8.77 billion versus estimated loss of €8.5 billion 

Net interest income rose to 8.02 billion euros ($9.6 billion), beating estimates, and the bank said it expects a rebound in profitability in 2021. The Latin American and North American divisions were the key performance drivers for overall strength, offsetting weakness in Spain and the UK.

Based on the European Central Bank’s recommendation on December 15, Santander said it would pay shareholders a cash dividend of 0.0275 euros ($0.033) per share.

Santander’s stock rose 2.7% in early European trading, as investors looked past the bank’s losses.

Read More: JPMorgan’s market-moving quant guru lays out an under-the-radar risk that could spring up during the pandemic recovery and snowball into a full-blown crisis across the western world

Read the original article on Business Insider