Not three months after the triumphant announcement of House of Fraser’s £29 million investment in UK banking startup Tandem, the wheels have fallen off. House of Fraser’s Chinese parent company, Sanpower has coshed the deal amid mutterings that the Chinese government is looking darkly at outward investment.

Tandem is obviously disappointed as is expressed by founder Ricky Knox:

“While this investment not completing is disappointing it does not change our vision: to build a service that helps our customers improve their lives with money and a business that delivers long-term returns for our investors”

Note the use of the word “service” rather than “bank”; because that’s what the loss of this funding means. The capital that was supposed to arrive was essential for securing a UK banking license, allowing Tandem to take and hold deposits. There isn’t an obvious pathway for for the company to rectify this shy of finding another £29 million (bank robbery maybe?) and so their “service” will be a standalone app for the time being.