Amazon payments head set to join Barclays, lead POS finance

 Antony Stephen
Antony Stephen

Barclays announced today that it has hired Amazon head of European payments Antony Stephen, placing him as CEO of the Barclays Partner Finance (BPF) business and in charge of scaling the multinational bank’s point-of-sale business in the UK, according to release.

Stephen’s most recent role saw him lead a portfolio exceeding $50 billion in payment products, which included credit cards, installment loans and a financial services marketplace. That credit experience should prove invaluable, as the now-CEO takes the wheel of Barclays’ upcoming buy now pay later (BNPL) efforts in Europe.

The new appointment will also report to Ruchir Rodrigues, Head of Barclays Cubed & Consumer Bank Europe, who oversees the bank’s end-to-end shopping exchange which connects Barclays’ customers and SME corporate clients. Stephen will also oversee the BPF’s legal entity, Clydesdale Financial Services Ltd. (CFSL).

Cubed is set to act as a key component for the US-based multinational bank’s £900 million income growth opportunity in payments over the next three years, announced earlier this year at Barclays’ Q1 2021 result session.

The next-gen commerce platform is built upon “sophisticated digital and data technology” and is designed to enable secure, frictionless interactions between consumers and merchants, according to the release.

“This is an incredibly exciting time for point of sale finance – while the core business model has existed for a long time, it has surged in popularity and prominence in recent years, thanks to advancements in technology and changes in customer behaviour. With its unrivalled network of both consumers and major retailers, Barclays recognises the fantastic opportunity it has to lead the market, and I’m thrilled to be joining the bank at this pivotal moment,” Stephen said in the statement.

Prior to serving as director and general manager of Amazon Europe, Stephen acted as CFO of Amazon’s global payments division and managing director for stress testing and competitive analytics at JPMorgan Chase. He also held the title of SVP at Capital One for ten years, according to PYMNTS.

Speaking of Amazon…

Speaking of Amazon, the Seattle-based retail and service conglomerate just announced its partnership with Lendistry, a minority-led Community Development Financial Institution that serves businesses in economically distressed community, according to an Amazon blog post.

The two organizations will work together to launch the Community Lending Pilot Program, which will:

  • Provide loans ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 for US-based Amazon sellers
  • Assist chosen small businesses with inventory expansion, brand building and customer acquisition
  • Help merchants prepare for the holiday season
  • Target Black-, Hispanic- and Latin-owned small businesses selling on Amazon, specifically those who have historically been denied credit or lacked access to funding

“Amazon came to us with this incredible idea. They’re on a mission to support and empower minority-owned businesses, just like us, so it was a great fit. The Amazon seller community is the perfect place to make these kinds of financing programs available that can truly make a difference for a lot of businesses,” Lendistry CEO and founder Everett K. Sands stated in the post.

Since Amazon began offering loans to its merchants in 2011, the company (alongside third-party lending partners) has lent more than $800 million to US small- and medium-sized businesses. The company has also increased its focus on site merchants in the past year, investing more than $18 billion through third-party seller programs in 2020.

In other fintech news, finance automation and corporate card provider Ramp is partnering with employee management platform Rippling to streamline onboarding, automate financial operations and employee spending in a single integration. Financial document automation platform Ocrolus also raised $80 million, setting a goal to expand operations to banks and other traditional financial institutions.

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