Socure Makes $70 Million Acquisition
  • Socure is acquiring automated identity verification solution provider Berbix for $70 million.
  • Socure has used Berbix’s technology to launch its Predictive Document Verification (DocV) 3.0 solution.
  • The new acquisition will also help Socure accelerate its international expansion.

Digital identity verification company Socure has acquired automated identity verification solution Berbix for $70 million. The deal marks the first-ever acquisition for Nevada-based Socure.

Founded in 2018, Berbix launched a document verification solution with a forensics engine that detects spoofed IDs – including AI-generated fake IDs. Socure will leverage this technology to accelerate its international expansion by providing global coverage of ICAO-compliant travel documents, passports, and national ID cards. 

“I’m extremely proud of what we built at Berbix to advance state-of-the-art document verification,” said Berbix CEO and co-founder Eric Levine. “Moving forward with Socure, we are able to multiply our impact on day one by leveraging our technology with Socure’s substantial customer base, reach, and reputation. Combining our independent investments in document verification is yielding stunning results – and we’re just getting started.”

Socure has already integrated Berbix’s technology into its own to launch its Predictive Document Verification (DocV) 3.0 solution. The new tool combines Berbix’s forensics engine and data extraction with Socure’s image capture app. The company has found that DocV 3.0 has been able to increase first-attempt auto approvals of good consumers by 26% and increase fraudulent document capture by 27%.

While DocV 3.0 is used within Socure’s integrated identity platform, it is also available as a standalone solution.

“DocV 3.0 represents a significant departure from legacy providers whose document verification models rely on simple template checks and rules to determine if a document is legitimate,” said Socure Founder and CEO Johnny Ayers. “Without running sophisticated fraud models on related personally identifiable information (PII), or pairing the documentary check with rich device, phone ownership, geolocation, and behavioral data, customers see far less accurate decisions, resulting in higher fraud and lower customer acceptance. This prohibits companies from using document verification solutions for high-risk onboarding, authentication, or transactions. It’s a real gap in how ID document verification can be used.”

Socure has more than 1,800+ customers across a range of industries. The company serves four of the top five banks, 13 of the top 15 card issuers, over 400 of the largest fintechs, and more. Among Socure’s customers are Chime, SoFi, Robinhood, Gusto, Poshmark, and the State of California. Since it was founded in 2012, the company has raised $742 million from the likes of Citi Ventures, Wells Fargo Strategic Capital, Capital One Ventures, Synchrony, and others.

Photo by Jeswin Thomas

Google Cloud launches AI-powered tool to fight money laundering

Tech giant Google launched an anti-money laundering tool backed by AI on Wednesday for financial institutions to detect nefarious activities. The tool uses machine learning (ML) to help financial institutions (FIs) identify risky transactions efficiently while driving down operational costs and improving consumer experience by using first-party data by the FI, according to Google’s release. More […]

FIs share fraud-fighting insights with Plaid solution

Plaid is looking to fight fraud with its Thursday launch of a network-based tool to help financial institutions take a collective approach to a problem that cost consumers nearly $8.8 billion in 2022, according to the Federal Trade Commission. Plaid Beacon allows the data transfer company’s clients to share information about potentially fraudulent users with […]

5 account takeover attacks FIs should watch for

It’s no secret to financial institutions that fraud is on the rise.   Seventy percent of financial institutions reported losses of over $500,000 to fraud in 2022, according to Alloy’s State of Fraud Benchmark Report. While fraudsters sometimes request direct payments from their victims, one of the most common — and most dangerous — methods for […]

IBM’s AI consultants aid banks

IBM Consulting launched its Center of Excellence for generative AI last month, where clients, including financial institutions, can look to consultants for expertise, use cases, risk mitigation and advancements in the technology. “As part of our Generative AI CoE, we have developed industry-specific generative AI accelerators to rapidly scale AI across the enterprise in domains […]

Grasshopper Bank automates document processing

Grasshopper Bank integrated digital business solutions provider Numerated into the bank’s platform to automate document processing and streamline underwriting in a deal announced last week. The $700 million New York-based digital bank was looking to eliminate manual entry of client information to save time and reduce risk, Russell Jacobson, head of credit administration at Grasshopper […]

Transactions: Citizens selects embedded payments provider Wisetack

Citizens Financial Group selected embedded pay-over-time provider Wisetack Thursday for its new consumer financing platform, Citizens Pay. Citizens Pay will use Wisetack’s existing connections to merchants and software-as-a-service integration capabilities to offer customers the ability to finance home improvement purchases with low interest and individualized timetables, according to a news release.  “Working with Wisetack, we’re […]

Baker Hill Acquired by Private Equity Firm
  • Baker Hill is being acquired by private equity firm Flexpoint Ford.
  • Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
  • Company President and CEO John M. Deignan will continue to lead the business.

Lending-as-a-Service provider Baker Hill has agreed to be acquired by private equity firm Flexpoint Ford. Riverside-owned Baker Hill has not released financial terms of the deal, which is expected to close upon the receipt of regulatory approvals.

Baker Hill will tap into the Flexpoint team’s experience and fintech knowledge and will be able to leverage the private equity firm’s capital to fund product developments and acquisitions. The Indiana-based company will also be able to benefit from Flexpoint’s insight into the needs of bank and credit union clients. As Vilas Nair, Flexpoint Principal explained, the firm can “support Baker Hill’s mission of helping banks and credit unions foster more profitable relationships with their customers and drive economic development in their communities.”

“Baker Hill has a long-standing reputation for being a trusted provider of differentiated loan origination and risk management software, which has helped fuel our consistent growth each year. This ongoing market validation is a source of inspiration for our team and by partnering with Flexpoint we can continue to elevate the lending experience for our bank and credit union clients,” said Baker Hill President and CEO John M. Deignan. “Our team is confident this partnership will provide new opportunities to deliver more value for our clients and the communities they serve.”

Deignan, along with the company’s existing leadership team, will continue to lead the business and remain shareholders.

With $7.5 billion of regulatory assets under management, Flexpoint Ford’s portfolio is comprised of companies in the financial services and healthcare industries. The firm has invested in more than 40 companies since 2005.

Founded in 1983, Baker Hill offers banks and credit unions a SaaS solution for commercial, small business, and consumer loan origination, as well as risk management tools. The company, which most recently demoed at FinovateFall 2021, has received numerous awards in recent years. The IndyStar selected it as a top workplace in Central Indiana, Aite-Novarica recognized Baker Hill NextGen as best in class product, and, most recently, the company received a Product Innovation of the Year Mira Award nomination.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki

Tyfone Inks Strategic Partnership with Star One Credit Union to Boost Instant Payments
  • Digital banking solutions provider Tyfone has inked a strategic partnership with Star One Credit Union.
  • Tyfone will help Star One CU implement its instant payments solution.
  • Headquartered in Portland, Oregon, Tyfone made its Finovate debut in 2008.

Digital banking solutions provider Tyfone has forged a strategic partnership with Silicon Valley-based Star One Credit Union. Tyfone, a Finovate alum since 2008, will help the FedNow certified-credit union implement its new, instant payments solution.

“Today’s consumers and businesses not only want quick, simple, and instant ways to facilitate payments, but they expect a unified, consistent user experience,” Tyfone CEO Dr. Siva Narendra said. “Our partnership with Star One Credit Union allows us to build a solution that aligns with financial institutions’ unique needs and ensures greater accessibility. Our goal is to help scale this service and unlock the tremendous potential instant payments offers financial institutions and account holders.”

Tyfone’s technology helps financial institutions regardless of size connect directly to the FedNow Service for credit transfer send and receive message sets. The new solution developed by Star One Credit Union, in partnership with Tyfone, will integrate the core processing systems of FIs and leverage Tyfone’s open APIs to enable connectivity to payment originators and digital banking providers. The solution, combined with participation in the FedNow Service, will empower account holders to send and receive payments any time, any where, and have full and immediate access to transferred funds.

“Together with Tyfone, we are advancing instant payments adoption in the United States and helping to fulfill the end-to-end instant payment ecosystem,” Star One Credit Union VP of Remote Services Minai Gupta said. “We look forward to working with Tyfone’s team to create a solution for financial institutions of all sizes, regardless of what payment providers or digital banking platform they use.”

To date, more than 100 community financial institutions in the U.S. have adopted Tyfone’s platform and technology. For its part, Star One Credit Union is one of the largest FIs in Silicon Valley with more than 123,000 members. Launched more than 60 years ago, Star One CU today has assets of more than $10.2 billion. The financial institution offers membership to employees of some of Silicon Valley’s most notable companies such as Lockheed Martin and Juniper Networks.

Founded in 2004, Tyfone made its Finovate debut in 2008. This April, the company announced a “significant investment” from Demopolis Equity Partners and a merger with digital banking provider Cubus Solutions. In a statement, Tyfone’s Narendra discussed the transaction in the context of enabling financial institutions of different sizes to provide their customers with equally compelling digital experiences.

“Today success in digital banking – in fact, success in any financial technology – is all about engaged digital experiences and the ability to scale,” Narendra said. “That means scaling up to power digital growth for larger institutions and scaling down to facilitate the smaller one stay relevant.”

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

Podcast: Payments innovation post-SVB

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank, First Republic Bank and Signature Bank has companies looking to technology providers to ensure they have the right payment strategies in place.

Companies are looking at “due diligence, redundancy, single points of failure,” and wondering whether they are set up with the correct providers globally, Ralph Dangelmaier, chief executive at global payment platform BlueSnap, tells Bank Automation News on this episode of “The Buzz” podcast. “These are the things now people have to look at when they’re setting up their payment networks around the world.”

The bank collapses also present an opportunity for payments innovation in areas of super apps, embedded banking and platform upgrades, Dangelmaier said. “I think we’re on a small pause; innovation is down a little bit because we’re in the middle of this sort of transition period — but it is going to spike back up.”

Listen as BlueSnap’s Dangelmaier discusses payments innovation, lessons learned from collapsed banks and the state of global payments rails today.

The following is a transcript generated by AI technology that has been lightly edited but still contains errors.

Whitney McDonald 0:01
Hello and welcome to The Buzz, a bank automation news podcast. My name is Whitney McDonald and I’m the editor of bank automation news. Joining me today is Ralph Dangelmaier chief executive of FinTech BlueSnap. He is here to discuss the growing need for payment innovation, learning experiences from recent banking collapses in the current state of payments rails.Ralph Dangelmaier 0:23
Great. Hi, I’m Ralph Dangelmaier, the CEO of Blue snap. Bluesnap helps merchants accept payments globally. And we do that through our platform, which we call the payment orchestration platform. And what that does, it allows merchants to accept payments in hundreds of countries with hundreds of payment types, hundreds of currencies, what makes it unique is that we can process those payments in 47 countries around the world, which allows merchants to have a higher authorization rates or less declines and lowers their cost of processing payments. So that’s what blue snap does around the world for merchants.

Whitney McDonald 1:08
Well, thanks so much for joining us. We’re definitely in a unique environment right now in the financial industry. I figured we could kick things off by talking about the recent collapses from SBB, first republic, Signature Bank and of course, the crypto environment as well wondering if you could kick us off with some lessons learned takeaways, just from your perspective on what’s been going on in the past several months.

Ralph Dangelmaier 1:35
Great. Well, I think there’s a lot of lessons learned here. I mean, boy, have we had a turbulent ride, right? I mean, COVID came, everything started booming, nobody could do anything wrong. And then whammo, everything hit. And I think the lessons learned are that you really can never put all your eggs in one basket. Right? So the people that didn’t have multiple bank accounts, that people that weren’t prepared for either higher interest rates, or were prepared for backups on their bank accounts. We had, I think a story that didn’t get told well is a lot of these banks were processing payments for people. So not just payroll, but actually payments. So we heard of 1000s of merchants that were down for the weekend processing payments. So really, it’s a redundancy story is one here that I think is the big lesson learned is where are you redundant? Where are your single points of failure if you have a problem? So that’s one big lesson. I think the other thing you mentioned, and I’ll just touch on it simply is you could not do a podcast or you could not do a story without someone bringing up crypto, crypto, crypto, crypto, it was everywhere. And I think some people understood it, some didn’t. And now we’ve seen crypto collapse. So we had this banking collapse and crypto classes the same times really, really think made people nervous. And I’ll throw a third thing in there as lesson learned, is this Buy now pay later was literally the hottest thing ever. And so you’re constantly like borrow money and spend everything you can to grow and get into crypto and do buy now pay later. And all of a sudden, all three of those sort of stuff came tumbling down and merchants were left hanging Wait a man, this was my strategy a year ago? And now what do I do? So I don’t think I’ve seen so many real hot trends, crash, or really take this deep dive in so rapidly in any period of time and payments. So due diligence, redundancy, single points of failure, am I setup with the correct providers globally? These are the things now people have to look at when they’re setting up their payment networks around the world.

Whitney McDonald 3:58
Now, speaking of payment networks and payment rails and where we stand today, maybe we could just talk through the current environment and what exists today. Before we talk about the good stuff, the innovation.

Ralph Dangelmaier 4:13
Yeah, so what we ended up talking to a lot of our customers about is, you know, they get confused. So if you think about it, there’s hundreds of companies, hundreds of territories or countries out there, they all have their own payment rail in their country, right. So they all have their own like Pay Pal in their own countries. And then you have these global networks. There’s about seven of them, right like China, UnionPay and Visa and MasterCard, American Express, and when do I use them? And then there’s bank transfers that happen like ACH or EFTPS in certain countries. And now there’s real time gross settlement which is happening, which is like fed now, and open banking sort of in another little Avenue Over in Europe, and this is confusing people. That’s really what the message here is they’re confusing. What rail do I use? For what customer type? In what country? In what currency? And what does it cost. And so I think what’s happened is we’ve taken something that was very simple. When you use sort of ACH for payroll, you do buy things online with a card, and the smartphone and the innovation and the worlds can, again, smaller is confused everyone, because now there’s literally hundreds of wallets around the world. And they got to work on hundreds of different connected devices. And you’re trying to work with hundreds of currencies, and people that are just confused. So I think trying to really map out payments, and what rails you’re going to use as part of your product plan when you roll things out. Like let’s catch people doing it right, like people like Uber, or maybe Intuit. That’s where I think the rail conversation really comes about. And usually if you’re selling outside of your own country, you have to educate yourself on what’s the right rails that aid process for those customers outside of the country. Whitney,

Whitney McDonald 6:12
if we can take that a step further, what are those conversations look like? How do you know that you are selecting the right payments? Well, especially with more coming to market fed now coming in July? How do you know you’re making that right? Choice? Yeah,

Ralph Dangelmaier 6:29
so it really comes down to is what it? Who’s your customer? I know it sounds simple, but it’s who’s a customer? Is it b2b is a b2c? Is it a mix? How does that customer now what’s the way it likes to pay? So there’s a payment method called ideal, which does about 70% of all online transactions. In the Netherlands, right? So that’s how people want to buy as a consumer. Bigger business may want to pay with a bank transfer, or something called SEPA over in Europe, right? Very similar United States, right? Where we pay with small transactions use in cards and big transactions, we’ll probably use an ACH or wire, that wire now might move to a Fed now. So you really need to look at who’s my customer base? Where are they located? What’s their preferred currency? What’s the preferred payment method? What’s the dollar amount? Because if it’s $100,000 payment, you’re probably not going to put that on a credit card. But if it’s a $10 payment, you most likely are? And what’s the work involved in the back office on collecting payments? And how much work it is? So there’s a little analysis that has to be done by the company to figure out what does make the most sense based on who my customers are? And that’s really the question that I know we spent a lot of time to is who’s your customers BBB Z both is an invoice, you know, they buy online, and that’s helped figure out what then is the most optimal payment method that you need to offer on your checkout to really cater to those customers.

Whitney McDonald 8:07
So one of the things that comes up is that that confusion that you’re hearing from customers, there’s friction in this process, maybe we can shift into some innovation talk here where there is opportunity for innovation in payments, and the importance of innovating within this space.

Ralph Dangelmaier 8:26
So there’s been so much innovation in payments in the last 15 years is one of the I think it’s a second most invested space by private equity firms in the world after biotech. We’ve seen all of it come with the invention of lots of cool things right? Apple Pay By now pay later crypto, all the things we mentioned. So are we going to stop innovating? No, I think we’re on a small pause innovations down a little bit because we’re in the middle of this sort of transition period. But it’s going to spike back up. And where’s innovation going to spike? At least from our point of view? Well, I think absolutely real time payments and open banking those concepts. cutting out the middleman is absolutely going to be a spike. I think you’re going to see this concept of super apps, right? Where Why am I going to log into so many different apps? Why do I have so many of a wallets on my phone to check out? And it really, you know, it looks like, you know, just a confusing menu. I mean, I was buying something the other day from a well known retailer and they must have had it looked like a NASCAR racetrack there was so many stickers on there. I’m like, which one do I pick to choose to buy? So it’s making things so we’re going to see that consolidate in my opinion, you’re gonna see so many wallets. I think the other thing you’re going to see is the concept of pain more in what I call ubiquitous or common currency is going to change right and right in the changing things back and forth. So think of like a common Euro that we’re going to see around the whole world, we’re all using a single currency, sort of what Bitcoin is trying to do, I think you’re gonna see innovations in FX. And the other one that I think is kind of one of my favorites is, you’re going to see platforms, which really run companies, if you think about it, right, the likes of whether it’s Salesforce or HubSpot, or Intuit, or SAP, or Salesforce, they’re really running, they’re the heart of what runs these companies, right in this specialized ERP and CRM systems per industry, they’re going to start offering banking services, you’re going to be able to open your bank account as a law firm, or accounting firm or school or camp, you’re gonna be able to open your bank account on your platform, and you’re gonna be able to form payments, and you’re gonna get lending there, it’s already started to happen, we’ve seen about, we’ve done a survey ourselves. And we’ve seen a lot of outside data that says about 10% of the platforms today are serving up and opening bank accounts. And the trend is being called embedded banking or embedded payments. And you’re gonna hear a lot about that over the next 10 years that this business is gonna go from very little to potentially a trillion dollar business in the next years. And that’s one of my favorites, because I think it makes it easy. It’s frictionless for the merchant. And when they’re filling out their application to sign up for Intuit, or Salesforce, they’re also opening the bank accounts and to do something different. And they don’t have to go do this coding integration, hire system integrators to do it, which we have a huge problem in the world with technical debt, right? Everything requires technical resources, and we just don’t have enough of it. So I think that’s ripe for disruption and innovation right now and where we are in the market.

Whitney McDonald 11:45
Now, with all of those examples in place, and different opportunities within the payments industry, what are you looking forward to or expecting from the payments world? Whether it’s innovation or reimagining money movement? What are you looking forward to or watching for even working on?

Ralph Dangelmaier 12:03
Yeah, well, I’m gonna follow up on my past theme, I’m really looking forward to watching these, these platforms starting to sell on open bank accounts and how powerful they become. And I think it’s going to be a big shift in banking, I’m going to think the SMB business is not going to go to the bank anymore. And I think you’re gonna see lots of bank closures, I think you’re gonna see a lot less use of cash. You know, cash is still rising every year. And the people don’t believe that, but they really are. Because, globally, cash is on the rise, especially as we get into tough economic times. So I’m looking forward to see that. And I think as soon as, as we come as recession, we’re gonna see explosion of investment and innovation on those topics I mentioned earlier. It will really I don’t know when it’s gonna exactly happen. But my guess is every time we’ve been through one of these things, when it was 1999 2000, we had a we had a sort of a low in the internet, and then boom, exploded. We saw another low in Oh, 708 the smartphone came along and exploded. We saw COVID Law things and we came out things exploded. I think we’re gonna see a real mass investment and explosion of innovation. Probably 2425 is what I see happen. And it’s just fun watching these companies, you know, kind of start and bloom into something very interesting.

Whitney McDonald 13:26
You’ve been listening to the buzz, a bank automation news podcast, please follow us on LinkedIn. And as a reminder, you can rate this podcast on your platform of choice. Thank you for your time, and be sure to visit us at Bank automation For more automation news,

Glia Taps Illuma Labs to Bring Voice Authentication to its Customer Service Platform

Digital customer service provider Glia is enhancing its Glia Interaction Platform with a partnership with voice authentication provider Illuma Labs. Glia has integrated Illuma’s voice authentication technology into its customer service platform to help organizations streamline voice authentication for customer service interactions.

Glia anticipates the new addition will not only prevent fraud, but also enhance the customer experience and improve operational efficiency. “Illuma Shield fits seamlessly with the Glia Interaction Platform, adding more efficiency by making voice authentication effortless,” explained Illuma CEO and Founder Milind Borkar. “Our joint customers are experiencing the real value that the Glia and Illuma partnership delivers.”

Illuma Shield is Illuma’s flagship voice biometrics product that integrates signal processing, AI, and machine learning. The technology works in the background to authenticate customers during an interaction and prevent account takeover. Meanwhile, the customer service representative doesn’t need to make unnecessary clicks or spend time on data entry during or after the call. And because the user interface shows up on the agent’s existing screen, they don’t have to open up a different window.

The Glia Interaction platform is comprised of digital, phone, and self-service customer service options. The range of solutions not only provides customers a variety of options when seeking out customer service, but it also offers end users a seamless, omni-channel experience in the event they need to change communication channels.

“Authentication, particularly for phone banking, has traditionally been cumbersome and a major source of friction,” said Glia SVP of Alliances Steve Kaish. “By verifying enrolled customers in the first few seconds of natural conversation with the Illuma Shield software, Glia quickly enables an authenticated interaction, reducing fraud and letting customers focus on their immediate need, be it an account balance, mortgage inquiry or loan origination.”

Glia was founded in 2012 as SaleMove. The New York-based company offers digital communication environments, on-screen collaboration, and AI-enabled assistance tools for clients who need to support end customers online, over the phone, in home office environments, and via video. In total, Glia has facilitated more than 10 billion customer interactions. The company has raised $152 million and counts Envestnet, Deutsche Bank, and United Healthcare among its clients.  Glia has taken home 10 Finovate Best of Show awards for its live demos and most recently showcased its tools at FinovateSpring 2021. 

Founded in 2016, Illuma seeks to help credit unions boost their brand reputation with a modern and seamless member experience and better security. The Texas-based company has raised $2.5 million. Illuma appeared on the FinovateSpring stage last month in San Francisco with a demo of how it brings passive voice authentication to Glia’s customer service interactions.


Thought Machine to Power Jordan Ahli Bank’s Social Payment App
  • Jordan Ahli Bank has tapped Thought Machine to launch its new social payments app.
  • Qawn, the new app, is built on Thought Machine’s Vault Core cloud-native core banking platform.
  • Using Vault Core’s Universal Product Engine, Jordan Ahli Bank was able to tailor the new app to its diverse customer base.

Core banking technology provider Thought Machine is helping Jordan Ahli Bank launch Qawn, its new social payments app.

Powering Qawn is Thought Machine’s Vault Core cloud-native core banking platform. The banking technology provider’s Universal Product Engine enabled Jordan Ahli Bank to customize the tool based on its customers’ needs.

“Our aim is to help people prosper by creating a social financial experience that addresses real-life problems with cutting-edge technology,” said Jordan Ahli Bank Chief Innovation Officer Nidal Khalifeh. “Money is inherently social, and we want to reinvent digital money with a social aspect. Our app is designed to be secure, user-friendly, and to offer guidance with a focus on technology.”

With Qawn, Jordan Ahli Bank is helping a diverse group of users to send and receive money, request payments through chat, or scan a QR code for hassle-free money management. The app, which supports both Arabic and English languages, is also aimed at commercial banking users and can function as a payment acceptance tool.

Thought Machine was founded in 2014 and has since raised $563 million in funding. The U.K.-based company offers two main products: Vault Core, a tool that leverages smart contracts to help organizations design and build new financial products; and Vault Payments, a payments processing platform that enables banks to run all payment types for different payment methods, schemes, and regions across the globe. 

“Bringing Qawn to the market is just the start – we look forward to expanding our partnership with Jordan Ahli Bank to bring further innovative financial solutions to Jordan, and elsewhere in the MENA region,” said Thought Machine CEO and Founder Paul Taylor.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

BlackRock Takes Minority Stake in Avaloq
  • Avaloq has received a strategic investment from BlackRock.
  • The amount of the investment is undisclosed, but it gives BlackRock a minority stake in Avaloq.
  • BlackRock will integrate Avaloq’s wealth management technology into its Aladdin Wealth product.

BlackRock announced a strategic investment in wealth management technology provider Avaloq this week. The amount of the investment was not disclosed, but BlackRock has taken a minority stake in the Switzerland-based company.

“This partnership will help us empower our clients to streamline processes, enhance risk analytics, and make more informed portfolio decisions, ultimately delivering greater value to their clients,” explained Avaloq Co-CEO Martin Greweldinger.

Their collaboration will combine Avaloq’s core banking, client relationship management, and mobile banking services with the risk analytics and portfolio management capabilities of BlackRock’s Aladdin Wealth. This combination will empower wealth managers and private banks to offer enhanced, more holistic services.

“BlackRock and Avaloq joining forces will help clients reduce the complexity and friction inherent in many of today’s digital transformations,” said Aladdin Wealth Tech’s Global Head Venu Krishnamurthy. “Our combined offering will make it extremely convenient for clients to implement and adopt Aladdin Wealth’s industry leading capabilities as it will be deeply integrated with Avaloq’s core banking solutions.”

Founded in 1991, Avaloq was acquired by Japan-based NEC in late 2020 for $2.2 billion. Prior to the acquisition, Avaloq had raised $392 million in funding.

Originally a core banking provider, Avaloq has narrowed its focus to serve private banks and wealth managers and now counts more than 150 clients across 35 countries. The company has four main product lines: Avaloq Engage increases client engagement, Avaloq Wealth supports the client journey, Avaloq Insight offers access to data, and Avaloq Banking Operations supports the back office.

Photo by Kindel Media

Finovate Global Colombia: Innovations in Payments Security and the Blockchain

This week’s edition of Finovate Global looks at recent fintech news from Colombia.

The largest Spanish-speaking country in South America, Colombia is located in the northwest corner of the continent. With a population of more than 52 million, Colombia has the third largest economy in South America and the fourth largest in Latin America. More than 11 million people live in the country’s capital city of Bogota.

Earlier this year, the Colombian government indicated its support for open banking and open finance. Specifically, the government included the establishment of an open banking scheme as part of its National Development Plan. The fact that the current government endorsed an initiative that began with the previous administration was seen as an especially constructive sign for the future of open banking and open finance in Colombia.

One way to keep up with fintech news from Colombia is via Colombia Fintech. With information in both Spanish and English, Colombia Fintech is an association of fintech companies based in Colombia. The association provides news on Colombian fintechs, updates on relevant developments on the government and regulatory front, as well as opportunities for networking. Colombia Fintech counts more than 240 members in its community. The association was formed in 2016.

As for recent Colombian fintech news, Bogota-based payments and data security company Intexus announced a partnership with security software company Entrust this week. Intexus will use Entrust’s digital card and instant issuance technology to support its card-as-a-service solution. The partnership is designed to enable banks and credit unions in Latin America to benefit from a unified payment card program.

“We have long been in the digital era and today’s consumers are accustomed to having resources at their fingertips instantaneously,” Intexus CEO David Rojas said. “Our partnership with Entrust allows us to simplify payment enablement for our bank and credit union customers throughout Latin America so they can focus on building relationships with their cardholders and members.”

Intexus serves clients in eight Latin American countries and issues more than 100,000 cards a month. The company was founded in 1997. Entrust provides solutions to help businesses offer trusted experiences for identity, payments, and data. Founded in 1969, the company has been a Finovate alum since 2015 when it presented its technology as part of our developers conference, FinDEVr SiliconValley.

Speaking of partnerships between Finovate alums and Colombian financial interests, we also learned this week that Ripple has entered into a new collaboration with the country’s central bank. As reported in CoinDesk, Banco de la República will test the effectiveness of Ripple’s CBDC platform to enhance Colombia’s high-value payments system. The pilot is being conducted in partnership with the country’s Ministry for the Information and Communications Technologies (MinTIC). Spanish blockchain company Peersyst Technology is also participating.

The goal of the project is to demonstrate the platform’s ability to improve the speed and reduce costs for large scale, wholesale payments, RTGS systems and similar operations, Joe Vollono, a director of CBDC business development at Ripple indicated. The project is scheduled to continue through the end of the year, and is being conducted in a controlled environment without compromising public resources.

As noted in The Paypers coverage of the announcement, Ripple previously partnered with Colombia last year to put land titles on the blockchain as part of a land redistribution program. Peersyst Technology was also a part of this initiative to permanently store and authenticate property titles on Ripple’s public blockchain.

Founded in 2012, Ripple made its Finovate debut as OpenCoin at FinovateSpring the following year. Rebranded as Ripple in 2015, the company has since grown into an innovative payment protocol and exchange network. Use cases of the company’s technology range from cross-border payments to crypto liquidity to CBDCs. Ripple’s customers include Novatti, Modulr, and Siam Commercial Bank. Chris Larsen is CEO.

Here is our look at fintech innovation around the world.

Central and Southern Asia

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Ripple announced a collaboration with the Central Bank of Colombia
  • Citi Treasury and Trade Solutions teamed up with Brazil-based banking and payments software company Pismo.
  • Security software company Entrust partnered with Colombia’s Intexus to enhance payments for banks in Latin America.


Sub-Saharan Africa

Central and Eastern Europe

  • PKO Bank Polski unveiled a new system of valued-added services (VAS).
  • Austrian fintech Vipaso (Vienna Payment Solutions) teamed up with Visa to launch a new app, ViennaPay.
  • France’s Market Pay agreed to acquire Poland-based payments technology company Novelpay.

Middle East and Northern Africa

Photo by Santiago Boada

What bank leaders should know about AI in financial services
Adam Lieberman, head of artificial intelligence & machine learning, Finastra 

With ChatGPT reaching 100 million users within two months of its release, generative AI has become one of the hottest topics, as individuals and industries ponder its benefits and ramifications. This has been further spurred by the fact that ChatGPT has inspired a slew of new generative AI projects across industries, including in the financial services ecosystem. Recently, it was reported that JPMorgan Chase is developing a ChatGPT-like software service to be used by its customers.

On the flipside, as new stories about generative AI tools and applications spread, so do conversations about the potential risks of AI. On May 30, the Center for AI Safety released a statement — signed by over 400 AI scientists and notable leaders, including Bill Gates, OpenAI Chief Executive Sam Altman and “the godfather of AI,” Geoffrey Hinton— voicing concerns about serious potential risks.

Finastra has been closely following developments in AI for many years, and our team is optimistic about what the future holds — particularly for the application of this technology in financial services. Indeed, at Finastra, AI-related efforts are widespread, touching areas from financial product recommendations to mortgage process document summaries and more.

However, while there is good to come from AI, bank leaders — responsible for keeping customers’ money safe, a job they do not take lightly— must also have a clear picture of what sets tools like ChatGPT apart from past chatbot offerings, initial use cases for generative AI for financial institutions and the risks that can come with artificial intelligence, particularly as the technology continues to advance rapidly.

Not your grandma’s chatbots

AI is no stranger to financial services, with artificial intelligence already deployed in functions such as customer interaction, fraud detection and analysis well before the release of ChatGPT.

However, in contrast to today’s large language models (LLM), previous financial services chatbots were archaic — far simpler and more rules-based than the likes of ChatGPT. In response to an inquiry, these previous iterations would essentially look to find a similar question and, if such a question was not registered, they would return an irrelevant answer, an experience many of us have no doubt had.

It takes a much larger language model to understand the semantics of what a person is asking and then provide a useful response. ChatGPT and its peers excel in domain experience with a human-like ability to discuss topics. Massive bots like these are heavily trained to provide a far more seamless experience to users than previous offerings.

Potential use cases

With a better understanding of how new generative AI tools differ from what has come before, bank leaders next need to understand potential use cases for these innovations in their own work. Applications will no doubt expand exponentially as the technology develops further, but initial use cases include:

Case workloads: These documents can be hundreds of pages long and often take at least three days for a person to review manually. With AI technology, this is reduced to seconds. Furthermore, as this technology evolves, AI models may develop such that they not only review but actually create documents after having been trained to generate them with all their necessary needs and concepts baked in.

Administrative work: Tools like ChatGPT can save bank employees meaningful time by taking over tasks like curating and answering emails and supporting tickets that come in.

Domain expertise: To provide an example here, many questions tend to arise for consumers in the home mortgage market process who may not understand all of the complex terms in applications and forms. Advanced chatbots can be integrated into the customer’s digital experience to answer questions in real time.


While this technology has many exciting potential use cases, so much is still unknown. Many of Finastra’s customers, whose job it is to be risk-conscious, have questions about the risks AI presents. And indeed, many in the financial services industry are already moving to restrict use of ChatGPT among employees. Based on our experience as a provider to banks, Finastra is focused on a number of key risks bank leaders should know about.

Data integrity is table stakes in financial services. Customers trust their banks to keep their personal data safe. However, at this stage, it’s not clear what ChatGPT does with the data it receives. This begs the even more concerning question: Could ChatGPT generate a response that shares sensitive customer data? With the old-style chatbots, questions and answers are predefined, governing what’s being returned. But what is asked and returned with new LLMs may prove difficult to control. This is a top consideration bank leaders must weigh and keep a close pulse on.

Ensuring fairness and lack of bias is another critical consideration. Bias in AI is a well-known problem in financial services. If bias exists in historical data, it will taint AI solutions. Data scientists in the financial industry and beyond must continue to explore and understand the data at hand and seek out any bias. Finastra and its customers have been working and developing products to counteract bias for years. Knowing how important this is to the industry, Finastra actually named Bloinx, a decentralized application designed to build an unbiased fintech future, as the winner of our 2021 hackathon.

The path forward

Balancing innovation and regulation is not a new dance for financial services. The AI revolution is here and, as with past innovations, the industry will continue to evaluate this technology as it evolves to consider applications to benefit customers — with an eye always on client safety.

Adam Lieberman, head of artificial intelligence & machine learning, Finastra

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