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Irish bank payments app JV hits competition watchdog roadblock

Irish bank payments app JV hits competition watchdog roadblock

Ireland's competition watchdog has rejected a plan by four of the country's biggest banks to create a joint payments app, but says it is willing to "further engage" on the issue.

Earlier this month Bank of Ireland, AIB, Permanent TSB and the Irish arm of Belgian bank KBC outlined plans to set up Syntech Payments, a joint venture company to oversee the project, which is designed to take on the likes of Revolut.

The partners sent a notification letter on the issue to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC), which has now been rejected.

Explaining its decision, the CCPC says the "notifying parties have not provided full details of the proposed transaction as required," and so it has "been unable to determine whether the proposed transaction is a 'merger or acquisition'".

Concludes the watchdog: "The CCPC has written to the notifying parties informing them of its decision and expressed its willingness to further engage with the notifying parties in relation to the issues raised in its letter."

Undeterred, the banks have stumoped up €5.9 million of initial capital to get the JV off the ground. AIB committed the most capital to Synch Payments in the initial equity raise, at €2.73 million, followed by €2.06 million of shares bought by Bank of Ireland. Permanent TSB bought just over €1 million of stock, and KBC Bank Ireland, €100,299.

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