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The week in fintech: Atlanta wants to be the capital of fintech

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The week in fintech: Atlanta wants to be the capital of fintech

This weekly recap features updates on bank technology, payments, online lending and other news in the financial technology space. Send tips, ideas and chatter to kate.garber@spglobal.com. For other recent fintech news, click here.

Members of the business community in Atlanta are promoting the city as a hub of financial technology innovation.

Barry McCarthy is executive vice president of network and security solutions at First Data Corp. He is also the chair of FinTech Atlanta, a task force created in 2015 to make Atlanta "the recognized global capital" of fintech.

"Atlanta is not making any claim of any kind as being a financial capital," McCarthy said in an interview. "That's not the claim here. New York and London clearly own those."

But the city boasts more fintech activity than people realize, according to McCarthy, who pointed to the large concentration of talent from universities like Georgia Tech and a thriving group of Atlanta-based companies that are likely customers or partners for fintech companies.

"Companies of all stripes that are based here also invest in young companies," he added.

The state of Georgia has cultivated fertile ground for business and for fintech particularly, according to McCarthy.

"Atlanta and the state of Georgia have really made a big investment in driving support for technology specifically," he said.

For now, it seems New York and California are still considered the epicenters of U.S. financial technology innovation. The Global Fintech Hubs Federation chose to highlight New York and Silicon Valley in its 2016 review of international fintech capitals.

This week, Fiserv Inc. announced plans to acquire Atlanta-based Online Banking Solutions Inc., a provider of cash management and business banking technology.

In the distributed ledger technology space, a former Barclays Plc CEO joined the board of a London-based bitcoin startup called Blockchain, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In partnership news, Fifth Third Bancorp is taking an equity stake in online lender ApplePie Capital, which lends to individuals opening franchises, the Journal reports.

BlackRock Inc. will lead the next funding round for iCapital Network, a platform that offers high-net-worth investors and their advisers access to alternative investments.

Charles Schwab Corp. announced plans to launch a hybrid advisory platform that uses both algorithms and live service support to help customers manage their wealth.

In payments, Citigroup Inc. made a deal with PayPal Holdings Inc. that lets Citi cardholders check out with PayPal in store, in-app and online starting in 2017.

In the insurance space, Allstate Corp. inked a multiyear agreement with Stanford University's Intelligent Systems Laboratory to research autonomous vehicles.

From Dec. 8 to Dec. 15, the SNL U.S. Financial Technology Index fell 0.22%.

S&P Global Market Intelligence released a fintech primer on four areas — digital lending, payments, blockchain and digital wealth management — of particular interest due to their rapid pace of growth, technological disruption, and regulatory and other risks. Click here to read the primer.