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Fintech Financing Slump | English Lesson

Oct 24, 2022

We draw our English lesson today from the Economist Magazine once again, which published an excellent article on October 13th, 2022, titled: Who will survive the fintech bloodbath?

Bloodbath! That sounds serious, doesn’t it? Well, it’s not a literal bath of blood, but a bloodbath is a serious and negative event. In this case, the ‘bloodbath’ refers to the fact that venture capital used to fund fintech enterprises has been greatly reduced this year.

The magazine article states:

Spooked by rising interest rates, investors have tightened their purse strings. As a result, fintech funding has collapsed.

Spooked’. That means scared. Investors are scared by rising interest rates, so they are tightening their purse strings, which is a metaphoric way to say they are being careful with their money.

It’s a big change compared to the rapid growth of funding that went to the fintech sector in the last two years, when, according to the article, and I quote:

Plentiful venture-capital funding allowed them to launch into foreign markets, make bold acquisitions and hire the best staff.

Some areas of the fintech sector have been harder hit than others. One of them is the so-called ‘neobanks’, which according to the article, have been “starved of revenue”.

You know the word starve, right?  You starve if you don’t eat for a while. So, if you say they are ‘starved of revenue’, it means they are not getting a sufficient amount of revenue.

This was the first time I had seen the word ‘neobanks’. Of course, ‘neo’ means ‘new’, so I think it is a pretty accurate way to refer to these new types of virtual banks that don’t have a fixed address, but rather live in the cloud. ‘Neobank’. A new kind of bank.

Neobanks that rely on transaction fees are being starved of revenues.

On the other hand, the article points out that some fintechs are still doing quite well. Particularly those that help companies reduce inefficiencies and cut-costs in these difficult times. Also, fintechs that help companies find new sources of revenue are doing quite well.

Another winner in the fintech funding game is who the article describes as ‘financial plumbers’, such as firms that provide data, or that work in different aspects of crypto, among other things.

A real plumber, by the way, is the person who fixes the pipes that move water around your house. A plumber. But used metaphorically, a financial plumber is also understood as a metaphor to describe the people and institutions in the financial system who enable flows of credit, capital, and financial risk.

The final group includes financial plumbers, from firms providing data or ones dabbling in crypto to those that help banks comply with sanctions.

So, lots of great new vocabulary today. Some of which you probably already know, but it never hurts to review, does it?

Vocabulary Review

  • Fintech: financial technology.
  • Bloodbath: either a bath in blood, or probably just a negative experience where something is being damaged.
  • Spooked: scared or afraid
  • Purse strings: the control of spending. So, purse strings get tightened or loosened.
  • Neobanks: a way to refer to a new type of bank. ‘Neo’ means new.
  • Starve: you starve when you don’t eat. And you can be starved capital, or starved of investment.
  • Financial plumber: best understood as someone or something, like an institution, that provides the systems to keep money moving in financial markets.


Friends, that’s all for now. If you found this lesson to your liking, you may also enjoy our lesson on The ‘Gig’ Economy’.

Before I finish I want to thank you for listening to the English for Economists podcast.  This is my labor of love, so it was gratifying to reach 10,000 downloads of these podcasts. I truly hope that I am helping you with these lessons. If that is the case, wherever you are hearing or watching this, show your appreciation by liking and subscribing.

The Economist Magazine has a special bonus for you, too. Follow the link and you will also find their audio version of the entire article.

I will be back with another lesson soon!

This is Alan Robert. Take care!

Image courtesy of Rohiththomas226, Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0


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