In pursuit of greater efficiency and cost savings, banks are finding identifying new processes to automate with robot process automation (RPA) bots in the commercial lending space. Commercial lending platform vendor AFS surveyed its banking clients about how they’re using RPA, which provided fodder for a Thursday webinar on the topic. Brenda Alek and Bill […]
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If you are looking to get up to speed on the innovations in fintech taking place in the Asia-Pacific region, then our all-digital fintech conference, FinovateAsia, is your ticket. For two days next week, June 22 and June 23, our guest speakers and distinguished panelists will share their insights and experiences as innovators, entrepreneurs, and analysts in one of the fastest-growing, technologically-creative areas of the world.
Moderated by Marc-Antoine Hager, Sales Director, APAC, CleverTap
Embedded finance and the future of finance
Learn how to harness the power of data and digitization to build new models of finance across verticals. See how to empower customers through better offerings, and how to integrate services into customers’ every day lives. Read more.
Victor Alexiev, Director, APAC Head for Citi Ventures, Programs & Strategic Partnerships, ICG, Citi
Sonal Kapoor, Director, Flipkart
Moderated by Yannick Even, Head of Digital & Smart Analytics APAC, SwissRe
The evolving payment landscape in Asia: Blurring of lines between payment systems
Examine the emerging challenges and opportunities in the payments space. Discuss how the payments industry can foster collaboration to serve consumers and businesses better. Read more.
Daniel Webber, Founder / CEO, FXC Intelligence
Laetitia Moncarz, Head of Corporates & FI and Business Innovation, SWIFT Asia Pacific
Kevin Popermhem, Cross Border Product Manager, ITMX
Moderated by Nicholas Soo, Regional Head of Payments, Global Liquidity & Cash Management, HSBC
Change management: Bringing your people on your digitization journey
Learn how implementing cultural change can future-proof your business and attract and retain the right, forward-looking, tech-talented people. Read more.
Faraaz Ali, Group Head, Digital Ecosystems, API and Open Banking, DBS
Susan Ong, Chief Information Officer, Home Credit Philippines
Oscar Ramos, Partner & Managing Director, Chinaccelerator
Deepak Oram, Head of Marketing Technology & Automation, HDFC Bank
Moderated by John Gist, Head of Fidelity Labs, Fidelity
Overcoming challenges and fostering successful partnerships across new ecosystems
Explore the convergence between financial services, insurance, wealth, and health, and the disruptors working across ecosystems. Learn how you can fit into this emerging ecosystem model and expand into new markets. Read more.
Deepak Sharma, Chief Digital Officer, Kotah Mahindra Bank
Manish Gurbuxani, Regional Head of Business Development and New Markets, Prudential
Alpesh Doshi, Managing Partner, Redcliffe Capital
Moderated by Yi Mien Koh, Chief Partnership Officer, Asian Markets, AXA Asia
SME lending in a post-COVID-19 world
Learn how credit and financing options favored by consumers have changed in response to the pandemic. Examine ways to determine the unique credit needs of different customer types and how to build new products to accommodate them. Read more.
Nikhilesh Goel, Co-founder and COO, Validus Capital
Brian Yeoh, Head of Data Governance and Strategy, Financial Services Regulatory Authority
Moderated by Zhi-Ying Barry, Senior Analyst, Forrester
Acceleration of digital banking: Innovating in response to COVID-19
Investigate how banks and other financial institutions embraced digital transformation trends that preceded the pandemic. Discuss what challenges and opportunities are likely to arise in a post-COVID environment. Read more.
Sam Tanskul, Managing Director Krungsri Finnovate & Head of Innovation, Krungsri Bank
Xue Kai Pang, CEO, Tokocrypto
Medhy Soudhi, Head of FinTech & StartupXcharge, DBS
Moderated by Lapman Lee, Professor of Practice (FinTech & Innovation), HK Polytechnic University
Leveraging emerging technologies and digitization to reimagine a hybrid customer experience
Discover how to identify customer pain points more efficiently and find the right balance between digital self-service and the human touch. Learn how to harness AI and machine learning to exceed customer expectations. Read more.
Andy Chun, Regional Director, Technology Innovation, Prudential
Shawn Low, Co-founder and Head of Operations, Better.com
Tomasz Kurczyk, Chief Digital and Transformation Officer, AXA
Moderated by Frank Yazdi, Head of Priority Client Services, Asia Pacific, HSBC
Citizens Bank recently finished work on automating parts of its commercial bank underwriting. Vinay Jha, chief data officer at the $176 billion Citizens Bank, said the completed project allows for the importing of data from the financial statements of its commercial borrowers, some of which are in paper form. While the process was “highly manual,” […]
Stripe has announced the launch of Stripe Identity, a simple way for internet businesses to securely verify the identities of users from over 30 countries.
As more economic activity happens online, the need for internet businesses to establish and maintain high levels of trust increases commensurately. Online businesses frequently need to verify the identities of their users to comply with age requirements or “Know Your Customer” (KYC) laws—and to increase trust and safety by reducing fraud, preventing account takeovers, and stopping bad actors.
Stripe Identity makes identity verification as effortless for a business as payment acceptance. Identity is built on the same infrastructure that powers Stripe’s own global onboarding compliance and risk management, meaning that the verification tooling Stripe originally built for itself is now available to Stripe’s users as well. Stripe Identity is the first self-serve tool of its kind, allowing any online business to begin verifying the identities of their users in just a few minutes, with no code required.
Early users of Stripe Identity include:
Discord, which embedded identity verification as a feature to ensure that everyone in their community is trustwothy.
Peerspace, which added identity verification to their checks when onboarding users or merchants to reduce fraud.
Shippo, whose fraud and risk teams augmented their own risk signals by asking high-risk users to verify their identity (without adding friction for good users).
Security teams at a range of companies, using Stripe Identity to help prevent account takeovers.
“Verifications serve as a critical tool in any marketplace that’s powered by trust, especially for a platform like Peerspace that connects people to unique spaces for important meetings or milestone life events,” said Matt Bendett, VP of Operations at Peerspace. “The integration between Stripe Connect and Stripe Identity has allowed us to reduce fraud and give our users peace of mind, all while staying in a single, consistent experience that’s powered by Stripe.”
How it works
Stripe Identity is a simple and programmable way to verify identities online. A low-code integration option allows businesses to start verifying identities in minutes, with a verification flow fully hosted by Stripe. Alternatively, without any code at all, fraud and risk teams can generate verification links to assess suspicious transactions or high-risk users.
The information collected is encrypted and sent directly to Stripe, so an individual business doesn’t have to worry about managing sensitive, personal information on its own servers. (This is similar to Stripe’s hosted payments pages, which send payment information like credit card numbers directly to Stripe for secure processing.) This means businesses can now verify identities more quickly, more easily, and more securely—but take on less effort and risk themselves.
To prove their identity, users take a photo of their government ID and a live selfie, which Stripe’s advanced machine learning then matches to the ID. Businesses can also request that users key in additional information to be checked against third-party records.
The entire verification process for an individual user can be completed in as little as 15 seconds.
“Businesses have been asking us for an easy and fast way to verify identities online. Stripe Identity offers them just that,” said Rob Daly, Head of Engineering for Stripe Identity. “Now, any internet business—from a five-person startup to a multinational enterprise—can begin securely verifying the identities of their users in a matter of minutes, not weeks or months.”
Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.
“Immigrant communities and other marginalized groups are invisible to traditional banks,” B9 CEO Sergei Terentyev said. “They are hardworking people who deserve a full service banking option that fits the way they earn and spend.” Terentyev called the response to B9 “overwhelming” and said that “hundreds of thousands” of interested users have joined the company’s waiting list.
“In our view, access to banking services that allow families to share resources, build credit and plan for the future is an equality issue, and the early response we’ve seen demonstrates the magnitude of the demand,” Terentyev added.
B9 offers 0% APR pay advances of up to 15 days, as well as a free virtual Visa debit card, and access to both U.S. and international money transfers. The San Francisco, California-based company charges a monthly subscription fee of $4.99.
B9 will use the funding to add to its team, as well as make technology investments. The company hopes to have 100,000 customers by the end of the year with its focus on consumers who are not only underserved by traditional banks, but are also often preyed upon by predatory lenders. In addition to its early wage access feature, B9 expects to offer additional services such as merchant discounts and access to insurance.
In their funding announcement, the company underscored the size of the non-U.S. born population – more than 40 million – as well as the fact that the lion’s share of U.S. population growth – up to 80% – will come from the growth of the first- and second-generation immigrant population.
B9’s services are set up with this in mind. In addition to offering a low, monthly subscription rate, applicants only require a U.S. mailing address, social security number, or ITIN, as well as a government-issued ID from either a U.S. source or from the applicant’s country of origin. Multiple language customer service is available.
We cover more than 60+ sub-segments in FinTech – but we do not stop there; we also cover topics beyond FinTech, such as InsurTech, RegTech, PropTech, WealthTech, BankTech, AgriTech, and the enabling technologies enabling innovation such as AI, Blockchain, etc.
The global API banking solutions provider, Codebase Technologies (CBT), has been selected by Kuwait Finance House Bahrain (KFHB), a pioneer in the global Shari’a banking space, to expand the bank’s digital market leadership with a streamlined regulatory reporting platform to enhance transparency and automate backend compliance operations.
As banking and financial technologies have evolved in parallel with central bank regulations, internal processes and protocols within these institutions have struggled to keep pace. Leveraging the technological advancements achieved through its partnership with CBT, KFH sought the banking solutions provider’s expertise in establishing an automated, flexible platform for regulatory reporting.
KFH’s new regulatory reporting capabilities are enabled by DigibancRegReporting, a fully automated, end-to-end regulatory reporting platform that seamlessly integrates with multiple data sources and streamlines backend processing. The implementation will enable KFH to flexibly and rapidly respond to an ever-evolving regulatory environment while ensuring compliance and consistent, precise reporting.
Yousif Alhammadi, Executive Manager, Head of Financial Control and Administration at Kuwait Finance House Bahrain, said: “Technology’s expanding role in banking and finance will only continue to push institutions to widen their technological footprint. Partnering with the right technology enabler is where the advantage lies for institutions. Codebase Technologies consistently helps us evolve ahead of the market, empowering us with solutions and innovations that optimise our operations and keep customers coming back.
Raheel Iqbal, Managing Partner and Global Product Head at Codebase Technologies, said: “The efficacy of what Codebase Technologies is capable of is clearly exemplified in how KFH Bahrain has defined itself as a leader in GCC digital banking landscape. We’re proud to be Kuwait Finance House Bahrain’s technology partner of choice to help it achieve its digital ambitions because they enable us to deliver on our mission of demystifying digital financial services, and reshaping the possibilities for the industry.”
Cybercrime, otherwise known as computer-orientated crime, is an increasingly global phenomenon, threatening all industries. The evolution of technology which is now used continuously on the move in every aspect of life enables hackers to leverage the anonymity of the internet and exploit companies and individuals. Cybercrime is more prevalent in the financial services sector than in almost any other industry.
Research indicates that almost half of black-market data originates from the BFSI sector. Unsurprisingly, the nature of the personal information held by these organisations makes them a tempting target. As banking evolves and new technologies emerge, the introduction of omnichannel platforms designed to give the customer greater accessibility ironically does the same for hackers. This is presenting the industry with new challenges.
To discuss these challenges, The Fintech Times spoke to Amitava Chatterjee, a Senior Consultant in the Industry Domain & Consulting Services group for Wipro’s Banking and Financial Services Unit. They provide a range of services across Retail Banking, Investment Banking, Capital Markets, Wealth Management, and Insurance.
Over the past few years, banking has changed dramatically. New technologies have emerged that have completely transformed the way we bank. People are no longer accessing and generating data purely from ATMs or on-site, but instead via online banking, e-commerce platforms and mobile applications. The introduction of services such as cashless payments have made financial organisations even more vulnerable. Cybercriminals are regularly infiltrating and exploiting data in order to impersonate individuals, gain access to sensitive information, disable devices and even, sell sensitive data to competitors or marketing agencies via multiple channels.
Key cybercrime trend data indicates that 67% of all data breaches include advanced personally identifiable information such as addresses and dates of birth. The nature of the information held, increasing digitisation and a shift to mobile banking, has meant the financial industry has become prey to a series of cybercrime incidents, resulting in data breaches for millions of customers.
Despite the increasing sophistication of the services on offer, email phishing and third-party unprotected services are still the two major risk areas for the financial services industry. Any data from one breach can be easily used to gain unauthorised access to another infrastructure through the re-use of passwords or social engineering attacks. This data is then randomly exchanged on the Deep/Dark Web. Furthermore, aggregated data can be used to pursue enterprise-level targets, to steal intellectual property or trade secrets, customer information, financial data and/or corporate strategies. Therefore, data breaches can have wide-reaching implications not only affecting the individual customer whose data has been compromised.
In short, the banking industry is a very lucrative target for cybercriminals. If this sector is to keep ahead of the cybercriminals and maintain the trust of its customers and partners, it will need to implement broader and more effective security strategies. Thus, it is essential that this sector pinpoints its vulnerabilities and addresses them with absolute urgency.
Disruption and damage
The disruption and damage caused by a cybercrime incident generally falls into three main categories, namely:
Financial: Most cybercrime is related to fraud and has financial consequences. Shockingly, the success rate for such attacks equates around one in three.
Reputational: In addition to financial implications, cyberattacks can have catastrophic implications for a company’s reputation. Breaches of a customer’s confidentiality can irreparably ruin an organisation’s reputation and credibility, which in turn, directly impacts customers’ willingness to trust institutions to safeguard and manage their wealth and assets. In a world where the customer is the key sales driver, this kind of lack of trust can be highly detrimental to the success of a business.
Legal: There can be legal implications for companies who fail to safeguard their clients’ personal data. As per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) for EU member countries in 2018, there is a legal obligation for companies to report breaches to supervisory authorities within 72 hours. Failure to fulfil this obligation is punishable by a fine of up to 4% of global annual turnover or a maximum of 20 million EUR.
Prevent rather than react
Although cybercrime seems to be an ever-increasing problem for the financial services sector there are some practical steps that can be taken to minimise vulnerability to attacks. The key is to focus on preventative, as opposed to purely reactive measures as follows:
Risk Management Regime: it is important to fully assess and understand the risk posed before implementing cybersecurity measures.
Secure configuration: misconfigured controls such as an unsecure database, are often the origin of data breaches
Home and mobile working: as we move forward in a post covid world, many employers will be looking to work towards a hybrid working model, where remote working is still very much an option. However, it is important to address the increased security risks faced when operating with a distributed workforce.
Incident Management: establish clear policies and procedures to mitigate security incidents
Managing user privileges: restrict sensitive information with secure access controls
Monitoring: system monitoring helps identify incidents promptly and initiate appropriate response efforts.
Network security: improve policies and technical measures to reduce vulnerabilities on the internet
Removable media controls: implement policies on usage of removable devices to prevent security incidents from malware
User education and awareness: train employees and customers on their responsibilities and security practices to help increase awareness and prevent data breaches.
Implementing the above practical strategies will hopefully keep attacks to a minimum. However, moving forwards, it is critical for organisations to also focus on anticipatory approaches. Multiple industry reports suggest that some of the key measures to consider include:
Automation: the vast amount of data and assets held on a financial organisation’s network can be very complex and inefficient. Technology Asset Management (TAM) gives a holistic view of the whole technology stack and acts as a single source of truth in monitoring and identifying outdated and unused software. This can help optimise cyber-hygiene and reduce risk of cyber attacks
Artificial Intelligence: implementing intelligence-driven measures with the use of artificial intelligence (AI) can help strengthen authentication methods and reduce cyber risks. Examples such as biometric logins for multi-factor authentication (MFA) are already being used today.
Sandbox-Evading Malware: Sandboxing is an automated technology for malware detection used in traditional antivirus programs and other security applications. This mechanism keeps running programs separated, so malware cannot run in those programs while the security software executes the malware to determine what it is.
Cloud services: adoption of cloud-based Infrastructure-as-a-Service offerings for running business systems with sensitive data on public clouds. These services often reduce operating costs and increase an organisation’s speed in bringing new services to the market.
Security as a service: a business model in which a service provider integrates their security services into a corporate infrastructure on a subscription basis, which can be more cost-effective than most individuals or corporations can provide individually when total cost of ownership is considered.
Closing the Cybersecurity skills gap, the use of anticipatory measures, combined with increased automation, cloud services and AI will together help provide ways for organisations to protect themselves against potential threats. Employing these tactics will also allow them time to come up with countermeasures and responses to minimise any potential damage from the attacks which can’t be prevented. Experts agree that a combination of continually evolving protective technologies and solutions will be needed to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals in years to come.
A brand new Climate Change Risk product has been launched by Hometrack, a provider of insight and intelligence to the mortgage market, to help lenders increase their understanding of the impact of climate change on property valuation and meet increasing regulation from the Bank of England.
Lenders will gain greater control of climate change risk in their mortgage portfolio with the product’s unique ability to identify current climate change risk, as well as its ability to assess how that risk is projected to develop over time. It also allows lenders to be laser-focused in actively managing their climate change risk aligned to their risk appetite, distinguishing areas of concentration risk, and incorporating key climate change metrics into their mortgage origination strategies in real-time.
Streamlining climate change risk assessments for lenders, the product brings together critical risk components into a single lender-focused tool. It is delivered seamlessly through each lender’s existing and integrated platforms, at origination and through back book portfolio assessment, enabling quick and easy risk identification and decision management for lenders.
Hometrack’s Climate Change Risk proposition enables lenders to model for both present and future risk, and consolidates the following expert insights using a top UK valuation model (AVM) and dataset of property valuations:
Flood Risk: Lenders will benefit from Hometrack’s partnership with Ambiental, the UK flood specialist, who will provide river flow, rainfall, storm surge and climate change predictions. The model includes testing for ten flood scenarios, facilitating faster risk assessment of each lender’s physical assets.
Ground Risk: Hometrack’s partnership with Terrafirma, a UK provider of ground risk analysis, will afford lenders a forensic assessment of the climate related risk associated with property including ground movement, mining, erosion and landslides.
Energy: Unlocking easy access to critical data such as EPC ratings and an assessment of a property’s energy efficiency data, lenders will benefit from a present day view of the possible transitional and affordability risks to a property.
Valuation: Modelling the impact of ongoing climate change on property values, the product translates geo-physical climate risk into easily understandable direct risk to property for lenders. The product is also fuelled by Hometrack data from over 50 million valuations per year, delivering unique benchmarking insights for customers. This can be overlaid with other important property risk data to support lenders with more advanced risk mitigation where several risks are examined together, instantly, at the point of mortgage application.
Offering lenders the speed and cost-efficiency of a pre-packaged data service, supported by risk analysis tailored to meet their unique needs, the product is backed by the market leading expertise of Hometrack’s dedicated Data Science team. Hometrack’s Climate Change offering can deliver an assessment of risk on a lender’s existing mortgage portfolio including market benchmarking to provide analysis on market trends in this space and a comparison to the rest of the market.
Lenders can also access climate change data at the point of mortgage origination, making it easy to consume as part of the broader mortgage risk assessment. Both capabilities can be provided as a one off or updated at the preferred frequency of the lender.
Theo Brewer, Director of Analytics and Consulting, Hometrack, comments: “We need to drive climate change up the agenda for the mortgage industry and effect change from within. For Hometrack and our customers, this really means accurately identifying where, when, how often and how severe climate change related risks are going to develop, as well as devising the appropriate strategies to continue lending whilst understanding and mitigating risks.
“Our solution is designed to provide lenders with a forensic view of climate change risk, combining scientific expertise across the flood, ground and property value modelling spaces with the ability to seamlessly integrate data and decisioning capability into their mortgage and credit risk platform.
“We have enlisted the best possible partners in Ambiental and Terrafirma to deliver a collaborative solution and ensure our customers benefit from the highest quality, most accurate and most current risk data that draws upon years of experience in modelling and understanding climate change challenges.
“Our solution extends beyond identification of where physical and transitional risks are located now and in the future, to understanding how property value, desirability and saleability may also be impacted. The addition of climate change events data and the ongoing study of how properties have responded to historic events puts Hometrack in a unique position to accurately solve for the next key question for lenders: what is the expected impact to property values?”
The Fintech Times Bi-Weekly News Roundup puts the spotlight on recent industry updates, appointments and funding success stories.
Mergers and acquisitions
Banking app Dave has unveiled plans to become a publicly traded company via a merger with VPC Impact Acquisition Holdings III. The digital bank will file under the ticker symbol DAVE. VPC has been a longstanding investor in Dave, most recently providing a $100million credit facility to the company in January.
SurePay, the confirmation of payee provider, has hired Adrian Lee-Jarman as senior business development & partnerships manager. In addition, Paul Simpson joins as senior business development manager UK. SurePay says the appointments will help its mission to make online payments safer, more personal and easier to use.
SHUAA has appointed ex-Visa and Google alumnus Hadi Raad in the newly created role of chief digital officer. He will be responsible for building and leading the fintech, driving product innovation and development, digital user experience design, fintech partnerships, as well as its new digital wealth management platform.
Lendtech company DivideBuy has unveiled three senior hires. Heather Goode is now retailer risk and risk oversight manager, Jarone Macklin-Page is business development manager, while Charlotte Bright is named marketing manager. DivideBuy was also recently recognised for its growth by ranking top of the Deloitte Fast 50 UK list.
Partnerships and collaborations
Grameen America, the microfinance non-profit focused on low-income minority women in the US, has extended its partnership with SaaS banking platform Mambu. In 2013, the pair first partnered to replace the lender’s custom-built legacy system with a cloud-native platform. The five-year extension will now help Grameen scale its operations to invest $12billion in loans to minority small business owners.
Meanwhile, online mortgage broker Mojo Mortgages has partnered with GoCompare. The new partnership lets GoCompare customers compare personalised mortgage deals using Mojo’s tech as well as accessing live expert advice with a mortgage adviser.
Global payments service provider SumUp has collaborated with Google Pay to help merchants make quicker business transactions using SumUp Card. Existing SumUp Card-holders in the UK, France, Italy and DACH, can add the card to their phone wallet. They can also use it for business payments in stores, online and with other Google products.
Cashflows has unveiled two new partnerships with IMX Software and eDynamix. Both will integrate Cashflows’ acquiring solutions to expand their payment methods, as well as access data in real time to speed-up the settlement period.
Meanwhile, Net Purpose is partnering with investment app tickr to provide data on companies’ social and environmental performance. tickr says Net Purpose’s data will be central to ensuring its users know and understand the good they’re doing.
Virgin Money has partnered with New Zealand-based fintech 9Spokes to support the development of its business banking proposition. The collaboration provides customers with a personalised financial wellness tracker, as well as track, connect and explore management tools.
Finally, Yapily has launched a new open banking bulk payments service with SME payments platform Comma. Harnessing Yapily’s bulk payment offering, Comma’s accountant and bookkeeper customers can create and share payment runs with clients.
MENAT banking group Emirates NBD has launched a financial education programme targeted at young adults. The week long web-based programme will be held in collaboration with 10 schools in the UAE. It is among several key initiatives undertaken by Emirates NBD to foster financial wellness in the UAE.
While SHUAA Capital, the asset management and investment banking platform in the UAE, is launching an independent fintech platform. The new Digital Wealth Platform will serve existing clients as well as the next generation of investors. The platform will provide personalised curated management and advice.
New charity Tulinawe, which means ‘we are with you’ in Ugandan, has launched to provide locals short-term financial aid in unexpected hardship. Set up by Shamila Mhearban, director of UK HR consultancy Gingko People – and her husband James – Tulinawe hopes to help at least 12 families in Uganda with grants by the end of this year.
The Trade Bank of Iraq (TBI) has officially launched its online banking system and mobile app following a soft launch. An international money transfer option lets TBI customers transfer funds to any global bank. Customers can also see the nearest TBI ATMs and branches.
Payments platform xpate has unveiled a new payment gateway and operational support project. xpate Links meets demand from acquirers requiring end-to-end fraud control, dispute management and reporting. The solution also offers global online omnichannel payment card acceptance.
While VTB, under an agreement with the Federal Tax Service of Russia, has launched a service for issuing a qualified electronic signature (QES) on a physical medium. The pilot project will start in Moscow and St. Petersburg before becoming available to all regions in the third quarter of 2021.
Announcements and updates
Blockchain platform Zilliqa and its sister company Zilliqa Capital have become members of the US Chamber of Digital Commerce. Through the membership, they will gain access to opportunities for collaboration with the Chamber’s roster of partners and members. In addition, both firms will benefit from increased exposure across the US market, bringing access to new market and investment opportunities.
The Intergovernmental Fintech Working Group (IFWG) has published a position paper on crypto assets. Crypto assets will enter the South African regulatory purview in a phased and structured manner, according to the paper.
Fintech Saudi, an initiative launched by the Saudi Central Bank and the Capital Markets Authority to support the growth of fintech in Saudi Arabia, has launched a Fintech Saudi Youth Art Competition. Open to under 16s, the winning artwork will feature in Fintech Saudi’s upcoming Fintech Hub in King Abdullah Financial District, Riyadh.
Cybersecurity firm RSA has announced its new spinoff company Outseer, branching off from its fraud and risk intelligence business. Following a recent surge of e-commerce transactions and heightened fraud risk, Outseer will serve to address payment authentication and security issues.
Al Wathba National Insurance Co (AWNIC) has scooped the ‘Innovation of the Year Award’ by InsureTek. The InsureTek awards recognise companies who stand out from the crowd in helping the insurance industry evolve. AWNIC has introduced several tech solutions, including implementing blockchain technology in claims processes.
There’s more awards success for Backbase, the engagement banking platform provider. It picked up the ‘Best User Experience Solution Provider Award’ at the MEA Finance Banking Technology Summit and Awards 2021.
While, Welsh accountancy business Mazuma is celebrating three nominations in the FinTech Wales Awards and the Finance Awards Wales. Mazuma is nominated for fintech company of the year, while Stephanie Collins and Bryony Ham are both up for awards for their accounting skills. Winners will be revealed at ceremonies in September.
Emirates Islamic, an Islamic financial institution in the UAE, has concluded an exclusive coaching programme to empower high-potential employees to meet leadership demands of the future. The cohort in the Asian Leadership Institute Group’s 3C Triad Programme focused on communication, collaboration, and coaching.
Finally, deVere launches green investment products in order to meet ESG demand. It is offering clients a fixed-yield note of which the proceeds are allocated to the financing of eligible projects with a clear and defined environmental benefit. According to deVere, 44 per cent clients around the world are eyeing exposure to or already have exposure to ESG investments.
Funding and investments
Klarna, the global payments provider, retail bank and shopping service, has secured a new equity funding of $639million. The round was led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund 2 with further participation from existing investors Adit Ventures, Honeycomb Asset Management and WestCap Group. The funding will support international expansion as well as further capture global retail growth.
Upflow has raised $15million Series A in order to ‘revolutionise how B2B businesses get paid’. Following the investment, Upflow plans to double down on product development and open an office in New York. It also wants to triple the size of its team within 12 months. The funding round included participation from 9yards Capital as well as existing investor eFounders.
Meanwhile, Collegia, the UK’s first combined auto-enrolment (workplace pension) and personal pensions has raised £500,000 ahead of its June launch. Collegia has ambitions to become a major pan European pension provider. International backers from UK, HK, Italy, Brazil and Dubai follows existing support from Oxford University Incubator and private investors.
Since the financial crisis of 2008, banking regulators have been seeking to encourage competition in an industry often characterised as being dominated by national monopolies and cartels. In the UK, we initially saw the wave of ‘Challenger Banks’, and more latterly we speak of ‘neo-banks’. Equally, a plethora of fintechs have sought to provide propositions within Financial Services without needing to go as far as becoming a bank – with all of the licensing that this involves.
But, while a hundred flowers may genuinely be blooming for fintechs and new entrants, what of the incumbents: the so-called ‘legacy banks’? What is the opportunity for them in the transformation of the industry, or must they stand on the sidelines with fingers crossed? Andrew Arwas, Head of Corporate Development at Chetwood Financial explains.
It’s clearly an over-simplification to suggest that ‘legacy banks’ don’t have modern technology. Legacy banks have a lot of technology: some ‘tried and tested’ (i.e. ‘old’) and some much more modern. However, all that technology carries a major burden in the cost and effort to simply keep it running. As well as this, there is a sunk cost and capitalised investment from which it’s just not possible to walk away.
So, it’s not that legacy banks can’t do tech, but rather that they cannot be as nimble in switching their operations to meet the needs and demands which now change and develop so much more quickly than they used to.
While the fintechs and new entrants may have the edge in terms of the adoption of new technologies and ideas, what they don’t have – and what they must regard jealously – is the customer franchise and brand of incumbent banks.
The big five banks in the UK are all household names. They each have tens of millions of customers all of whom would name them in answer to the question “who do you bank with”. One or two challengers are making modest inroads, but even the most successful have a long way to go.
The legacy banks – the ‘universal banks’ – set themselves up to play in every stage of the value chain: brand relationship, advice and product manufacturing. While the former has proved highly resilient despite all the efforts to introduce competition into the market, the areas of ‘advice’ and ‘product manufacture’ are seeing much more change.
Open Banking APIs
The emergence of Open Banking APIs has enabled a raft of fintechs to analyse bank account data to make recommendations on actions, behaviours and services. Digital marketplaces such as ClearScore and MoneySuperMarket all provide a bountiful range of product offers without ever needing to go to ‘your bank’. And whilst the legacy banks might well appear on these sites, it is clear that the panels are dominated by new businesses that have built themselves to operate in this digital economy. The ‘fintechs’.
So, what’s to be done for the legacy banks? Should they seek to drive even more new technology – and digital operating models – into their mammoth organisations? Do they try to grab more with their already over-full hands? Or, do they make some selective choices about what to hold onto and what to put down.
As previously mentioned, the greatest asset of the legacy bank is their customer franchise – an asset which no fintech can hope to replicate without huge spend and many more years. Increasingly, though, those customers don’t care who ‘made’ the products. They just need them to be great.
So, with an abundance of fintechs creating new products, the role for the legacy banks would seem to be to create the marketplaces where these products can be bought. Every financial services product bought by a ‘legacy bank’ customer, not bought through that bank, is a lost opportunity.
Banking as a Service
The emergence of Banking as a Service as a growing reality allows any business with a customer base to make available either an entirely open market, or a range of selected products. Retail is full of comparisons: Amazon being the ultimate marketplace for an open range of products, or supermarkets carrying own brand and select third party brands. The consumer knows they shopped at Amazon or Tesco, but the brand of the product they bought may or may not have been important.
With Banking as a Service, product manufacturers can make their product available in any digital marketplace with a relatively simple API call. The growing financial services marketplaces of today are the likes of ClearScore or MoneySuperMarket – businesses who have built up brands and customer bases through propositions based on information provision, ‘advice’, price transparency and convenience in execution. The legacy banks ought to be even better positioned to do exactly this as they already have the customers and the brands and much of the contact infrastructure.
Sourcing product – great product – is becoming increasingly easy and the legacy banks cannot afford to lose their place in the market. They need to be brave enough to stop juggling every ball or plate – to put some down and focus on their prized assets. And if they do so, then their flowers too may continue to bloom.
Having a strong credit score can help you get one step closer to securing finance as it is a way to check if you are financially reliable. A higher score is a positive sign to lenders, so it is worth taking steps to avoid bad habits that could be detrimental to your score.
With searches for ‘how can I improve my credit score?’ up over 20% since May 2020, car finance provider Zuto have highlighted five activities that could be impacting your credit score.
When we get into a serious relationship, many of us will get bank accounts, mortgages, or other credit products together. By doing this, you become financially linked to your partner. Once this happens, your partners’ credit profile can impact your ability to get approved for credit – regardless of whether you are applying together. If either of you have a low credit score, or a poor credit history it might be best to take steps to boost your scores before linking up financially.
Once you become financially linked, it’s important to maintain a good credit score and not rely on your partner’s score. It can be tempting to put all the household bills etc. in one partner’s name. However, keeping on top of bills and paying them on time via direct debits helps boost your credit score so it is important to ensure you keep some sources of credit in your name.
With COVID restrictions easing, there is a light at the end of the tunnel for weddings. Once you’re married, you may choose to change your name. Changing your name can be a lengthy process; making sure you’ve contacted everyone who needs to be aware, such as your bank, doctors, and the DVLA. To minimise the impact on your credit score, make sure you update your name on all of your accounts such as credit cards and utility bills. You’ll also want to update the electoral roll in your new name too so that the link between your credit and your new name is there.
Sadly, not all relationships work out, so in the unfortunate event you decide to part ways, let credit agencies know you would like a notice of dissociation to stop your ex’s financial activity from impacting your score.
Keep Credit Utilisation Low
We all know maxing out a credit card, or even getting close to the limit, isn’t a good habit to get into. Using credit responsibly and regularly can help improve your credit score as it shows you can pay back money you borrow. With that in mind it is important to understand how much you should be spending versus what is available to you. Credit utilisation is the amount of credit available to you, so this could be across overdrafts and credit cards, versus how much you have used.
It is best to avoid being too close to the limit as it could indicate you are having financial troubles. Different agencies suggest different ratios, one of Zuto’s trusted partners, ClearScore, suggest aiming for a credit utilisation of under 30%.
Cancel or keep old Credit Cards?
This is an important question when considering what impacts your credit score. Typically, having access to too much credit, even if you don’t use it, could be seen as a negative by some lenders. So, it’s worth considering closing down the ones you don’t use or need anymore. This can also reduce the risk of any fraudulent activity happening on old unused credit cards.
However, if you’ve had a credit card for a while, and it’s been used and managed well, this can help keep your credit score at a healthy level so it’s worth considering keeping hold of these ones. Just make sure that all credit cards are registered at your current address.
Cash and Credit Cards
It can be tempting to keep an emergency £10 in your wallet; however, it is best to avoid taking cash out using your credit card. Doing so is listed on your credit record and could be a red flag for lenders as it may be viewed in a similar way to applications for credit.
While your address doesn’t impact your credit score, it is information that appears on your credit report which impacts your score; so it is important it is correct and up to date. Moving house often could be a sign to lenders that your living situation is unstable and may make them wary of lending to you. There are also lots of financial implications of moving, so keep an eye on your credit report. It may be best to hold off on applying for credit until you have registered to vote at your new address, as not being on the electoral role could increase your chance of being declined for credit.
Update the address on all of your accounts as soon as you move, even if you manage the account online, this can also reduce your chance of being a victim of fraud. Also, remember that having too many applications for credit over a short period of time may reduce your score, so be mindful of when you are applying for credit. Don’t forget to update your address on all sources of credit as inconsistencies in address can be detrimental to your score.
Polly is a journalist, content creator and general opinion holder from North Wales. She has written for a number of publications, usually hovering around the topics of fintech, tech, lifestyle and body positivity.
These companies are all looking for talent like you!
Every week, we bring you a list of some of the most exciting job openings in the UK. Well, this week we’re shaking things up ever so slightly, and planting the focus on three companies that are actively hiring for a number of great roles. We’ll tell you all about the history, culture and everything else you need to know before applying for any one of the jobs on offer.
Tandem is the bank that makes the world a better place. They empower their customers to do the right thing for themselves and for the planet. As the world adjusts to find its new normal, Tandem believe that people are taking a fresh look at how they use money. People want to build healthy habits that are good for their future and to use their spending power to enable a more sustainable world. They are on a mission to proactively help customers to reduce their carbon footprint and accelerate the UK to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Tandem are building an amazing team in London and they’re looking for ambitious and purpose-driven people to jump on board. If you’re innovative, curious and not afraid of a challenge, then Tandem would love to hear from you. Your voice, ideas and drive will always find a home at Tandem.
There are a number of great open opportunities at Tandem right now, from Legal to Customer success and beyond. Check them out!
Formed in 2017 by the combination of Misys and D+H,Finastra builds and deploys innovative, next-generation technology on their open Fusion software architecture and cloud ecosystem. Their scale and geographical reach means that they can serve customers effectively, regardless of their size or location—from global financial institutions to community banks and credit unions. Finastra brings a deep expertise and an unrivalled range of pre-integrated solutions spanning retail banking, transaction banking, lending, and treasury and capital markets. With a global footprint and the broadest set of financial software solutions available on the market, Finastra has $1.9 billion in revenues, 9,000+ employees and ~8,600 customers, including 90 of the top 100 banks globally. Pretty impressive stuff, right?
Fancy joining the ranks? Finastra is on a hiring spree at the moment, with thousands of open roles all over the world.
MSCI is at the forefront of the trends dominating the financial services landscape today and is committed to the future sustainability and transparency of the financial markets. They create innovative products and services that allow clients to make more informed investment decisions, and they provide investors with critical performance measurement and risk management data and analytics. Their values define the working environment they strive to create. Personal accountability and responsibility are key to success, and they always work as a team to remain client centric. They are inclusive, champion bold ideas, pursue excellence, and always act with integrity.
They are an international company with a highly diverse global footprint. Diversity is at their core and inclusion defines their culture. Their people are empowered to maximise their potential in an environment where all individuals are respected and encouraged to bring their authentic selves to work. This culture drives them to innovate and provide industry-leading solutions that power better investment decisions. Increasing their diversity expands their talent pool which helps accelerate innovation in all that they do. MSCI is dedicated to hiring and promoting qualified candidates who have been historically underrepresented in the industry, including women, ethnic minorities, and those in the LGBT+ community.
Head on over to their careers page and discover the exciting jobs on offer!
Rebecca works for our job board partner, Jobbio. Based in Dublin, she has been working as a writer for six years, creating engaging and insightful digital content. She has worked in Dublin, New York and London, and has a Masters Degree in Marketing from DIT.
I could be accused or being optimistic to the point of naivety but I draw hope from 5 things that are at least moving in the right direction of democratising Wall Street.
– price/fees competition. Funds that sell high cost active alpha have to justify their fees against low cost passive beta. They increasingly quote net of fees. Some are choosing to compete on both fees and performance to deliver what we call low cost alpha.
– wealthy people giving back. Some of that maybe more PR than real (ie a pledge has to be followed up with cash) but motivation matters less than the end result It is positive if some wealthy people who want to be seen to be doing the right thing are shamed into actually delivering. Others know that a hypercapitalist push to increasing inequality may actually damage their self interest.
– growing adoption of impact investing. This replaces the either profitable OR doing good paradigm with profitable AND doing good. The key benefit is getting off the treadmill of always raising more philanthropic capital.
– faster exposure of damaging business models. Thank you Internet! It is now so easy to write online and it only takes one person to expose the bad stuff and maybe somebody else with a lot of followers to give that a shout out. For example, many more people now understand that even if it is free it can harm your wealth.
– Follower model may disrupt fund management. The idea – like most disruption – is simple. You follow somebody’s trades and give them a share of the profits. This enables a new breed of fund managers to invest first then gather assets later ie the exact opposite of how it works today. The key to success is enabling both parties to make money even if the number of trades is very low.
Some subjects are too complex for our short attention spans, so we do 4 posts one week apart, each one short enough not to lose your attention but in aggregate doing justice to the complexity of the subject. Stay tuned by subscribing.
The India-based financial services company BharatPe has announced the acquisition of PAYBACK India from American Express and ICICI Investments Strategic Fund, for an undisclosed amount.
This is the first-ever acquisition by BharatPe and will accelerate PAYBACK India’s journey towards becoming a wholly-owned subsidiary. The acquisition of PAYBACK India is in line with BharatPe’s strategy to build a robust and engaged network of over 20 million small merchants by 2023, as PAYBACK India remains the country’s largest multi-brand loyalty programme with 100 million+ active members
With PAYBACK India, BharatPe will be able to enhance its value proposition for merchant partners. Additionally, it will enable BharatPe to build a lucrative set of offerings for end customers, that will enhance footfalls at merchants and accelerate the growth of their businesses.
As a result of the acquisition, all PAYBACK India employees will become part of the BharatPe group. Suhail Sameer and Gautam Kaushik, the Group Presidents of BharatPe, along with Sumeet Singh, the General Counsel of BharatPe, have joined the Board of PAYBACK India.
The role of the senior leadership team at PAYBACK India will be expanded to also work on the loyalty programme for the 6 million+ merchants of BharatPe. The team, led by Pramod Mahanta and Rijish Raghavan, will be working closely with Gautam Kaushik, a renowned name in the financial services and loyalty industry in India, to build a new version of PAYBACK India. PAYBACK India will continue operating under its current name and there will be no impact on the existing customer and partner relationships. PAYBACK India will continue to roll out initiatives to offer value for all customers across India.
Speaking on the acquisition, Ashneer Grover, the Co-Founder and CEO of BharatPe, said, “Our products have always been designed to empower the businesses of millions of small merchants and kirana store owners in India. With the acquisition of PAYBACK India, we will be able to add a whole new dimension to our merchant value proposition. In addition to the range of payment and credit products which BharatPe offers to help merchants scale their business, we will also be able to drive more consumers to their stores. We are committed to building India’s largest and most engaged merchant network and this acquisition will be a game-changer in that regard. We are very selective about strategic partnerships & acquisitions, and belive this is a win-win to meet the brand promises of both BharatPe and PAYBACK India.”
Gautam Kaushik, the Group President of BharatPe, added, “Consumers today are very aware, and make their choice of purchase based on convenience and value. We aim to empower offline merchants with the ability to offer additional rewards, coupons, or cashback to customers, to drive sales and customer stickiness. PAYBACK is a pioneer in loyalty programmes and has a host of offerings to drive value to our merchants, as well as a very large customer base. We are excited to partner with the PAYBACK India team and jointly build a very compelling payment plus rewards franchise.”
Markus Knorr, CFO of PAYBACK Global, concluded with, “It was our top priority to ensure that for the members of the successful PAYBACK India program there would be no changes and that the great customer experience would also be maintained: Users can collect points while shopping offline and online and benefit from exclusive offers in the usual way, now at even more merchants with BharatPe. We are convinced that the great PAYBACK value for customers is guaranteed sustainably and in the long term with BharatPe as the new operator.“
BMO Harris Bank selected FIS to modernize its banking platform with the aim of giving U.S. customers access to a range of mobile-first deposit and checking accounts. The multi-year rollout will transform $157 billion BMO Harris’s core banking systems to support the bank’s growth plans in the U.S., the company announced today. Atul Verna, chief […]
Finn AI, the two-time Best of Show winner whose conversational AI technology has helped banks and credit unions add to their digital engagement solutions, announced a set of new additions of its own today. The Vancouver, British Columbia-based fintech unveiled three new chatbot service levels to give banks and credit unions greater options in tailoring the online banking experience for their customers and members.
“We’re giving financial institutions flexibility in how they embrace chatbots,” Finn AI co-founder and CEO Jake Tyler said. “They can either adopt fully-integrated bank chat now or they can build their digital experience over time.”
Finn AI’s Virtual Banking Assistant, powered by AI, enables banking customers to use their preferred communication channel – including Facebook Messenger, Amazon Alexa, SMS, iOS, web chat and more – to conduct their banking activities. The AI also helps banks and credit unions gain deeper insights into customer behavior and preferences in order to make increasingly accurate and relevant responses and recommendations. With more than 800 pre-built workflows, the technology is able to answer queries out-of-the-box without human intervention, as well as know when to route more complex queries to human agents.
“By introducing an AI chatbot, banks can deliver better service, achieve higher loyalty, and build broader product relationships,” Tyler said.
The new levels are being introduced today are:
Level 1: Quick and easy responses to the most common queries to the institution’s public website.
Level 2: Concierge-based navigation to help customers and members using plain language on authenticated mobile and online banking sites
Level 3: Virtual assistant-based chatbot that enables end-users to bank via chat in plain language over the customer’s or member’s channel of choice
Founded in 2014, Finn AI has partnered with financial institutions such as ATB Financial, United Federal Credit Union, and TymeBank, as well as one of the largest U.S. card networks and a top ten U.S. retail bank. This spring, the company joined the National Association of Credit Union Services Organizations (NACUSO), and unveiled a handful of new platform features and partner integrations including interest rate tracking and enhancing the bot’s ability to respond to queries involving issues of financial literacy.
Last week, the podcast hosted Matthew Covi, co-founder and CEO of Signal Intent. A Best of Show winner in its Finovate debut this spring, Signal Intent builds financial calculators for banks, credit unions, and other financial services companies.
These solutions, designed for the digital age, help companies enhance the customer experience they offer with what Covi called “modern, digital tools that will help them compete in today’s landscape.”
“Calculators are a tool that exist on nine out of ten banking websites,” he explained. “But the options that exist really haven’t kept up with the times.”
In this conversation, Covi explains how financial services companies can leverage Signal Intent’s next generation calculators to gain valuable insights into customer preferences, and to use those insights to further enhance the customer experience.
Building a fintech company that lasts was the theme of Danny Shader’s conversation on the Finovate Podcast earlier this month. Shader is the founder and CEO of PayNearMe, a payments experience management firm that enables businesses to boost customer engagement, improve efficiency and drive payment costs lower.
Headquartered in Silicon Valley, PayNearMe made its Finovate debut more than a decade ago at FinovateFall in New York.
In the years since, PayNearMe has grown into a leading payments innovator, processing billons of dollars a year in all payment types ranging from ACH, cards, and cash, to mobile-first options like Google Pay and Apple Pay.
In this podcast, Shader talked about what he’s learned as a successful fintech CEO and why every startup needs to be prepared to re-envision, if not re-invent, itself in order to succeed in the long-term.
“I know of almost no hugely successful startup – with the possible exception of maybe Facebook – that ended up doing what it set out to do,” he said. “Your first business ideaI think of as a prop and its the excuse that lets you interact with customers.”
For more from the Finovate podcast, check out last month’s May lineup featuring:
Jeff Horvath of DigiPli on regulatory risk and the changing compliance landscape. Is showing you’re trying good enough?
RockYou2021 made headlines last week for being the largest computer breach in history — but two leading security firms told Bank Automation News that it’s more hype than reality. The release was touted as the “largest password compilation of all time,” with a purported 8.4 billion entries. What was not mentioned in early news coverage […]