Digit to focus on automation as it evolves its future plans

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/digit-to-focus-on-automation-as-it-evolves-its-future-plans/

Digit, a personal finance app that helps users save automatically, raised $27.5 million in Series C funding on Monday.

Digit

The new financing will help Digit grow its user base; hire new talent in San Francisco; and grow its core product, a spokesperson for the company said. To date, Digit has raised over $63.8 million in funding. General Catalyst led the fundraising round, with participation from the Financial Venture Studio and Citi Ventures.

Founded in 2015, Digit was one of the first financial apps that let users to save money through an algorithm. In the two years since Digit launched its subscription service, it’s grown its customer base more than 300 percent, according to the company. As other startups and banks launch similar services, the pressure is on for Digit to stay relevant to its user base. For Digit, this means fine tuning its automation capabilities.

“We’re continuing to double down on automation and are constantly exploring new ways to make our customers’ financial lives easier,” a Digit spokesperson said. The company is looking at how its customers save, spend and borrow over the long term.

Digit is also attempting to set itself apart from other free app-based savings platforms through a commitment not to sell customer data to third-party companies. “We feel that a subscription model will allow us to be sustainable, without selling customer data or introducing products that could be damaging for consumers’ financial health,” the company spokesperson said.

Despite Digit’s growth, some analysts question the need for a service like Digit given banks’ moves to incorporate savings features into mobile banking apps. Bob Meara, senior analyst at Celent, recently cast doubt on Digit’s ability to survive as a standalone platform. 

According to Meara, there are “apps for saving, apps for spend tracking [and] apps for peer-to-peer payments” alongside credit cards and online banking apps that compete with Digit. He argues the reason the “mono-function” app exists is because banks are squandering their opportunity to offer the similar services to Digit.

“It is no big feat for a fintech to offer this capability. It’s another thing entirely for a bank to do so – when most banks earn significant revenue from overdraft fees,” Maera wrote. 

While Digit faces competitive pressure, the company’s founder Ethan Bloch recently told Bank Innovation Digit is focused on how to save clients save money and get on track with their finances. Within the past year, Digit has begun to focus on new use cases including overdraft fee avoidance and paying off credit card debt. 

See also: Digit’s Bloch on the future of personal finance

“The reason people stay with Digit and pay for Digit is because it has a life-changing financial impact for them. The average Digit customer saves more than $2,000 per year,” Bloch said. “We’re able to have that level of impact because we can be maniacally focused on that single need of how do we help someone save more.” 

Bloch emphasized that since Digit is a subscription-based service, the company doesn’t have to worry about making money through interchange fees or borrowing. Through an interchange fee-based traditional model, the company would make money whenever a customer spends money, which, according to Bloch, runs counter to Digit’s mission of assisting users with savings and paying off debt.

Tiffani Montez, senior analyst at Aite Group, said the market can support a company like Digit because of strong consumer interest in digital personal-finance platforms. In a consumer survey conducted by Aite Group at the end of 2017, more than 70 percent of respondents said they were interested in using a virtual finance wellness coach. According to Montez, four out of 10 consumers are willing to pay a fee to use a subscription-based personal finance service. The survey did not address whether consumers would prefer to receive these services from a bank or a third-party platform.

Montez noted that apps like Digit are building on a trend of holistic consumer financial wellness, which could open up opportunities for Digit to partner with other companies.

“Banks and credit unions aren’t the only ones trying to solve this problem; you’ve got fintech companies and employers who are offering employees financial wellness benefits,” she said. “There might perhaps be financial institutions that choose to work with partners that offer [automatic savings] capabilities. Everyone is trying to figure out how to take a little slice out of this opportunity.”

Bank Innovation Build, on Nov. 6-7 in Atlanta, helps attendees understand how to “do” innovation better. It is designed to offer best practices, to guide the innovation professional to better results. Register here.

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/payments/digit-to-focus-on-automation-as-it-evolves-its-future-plans/

How Better.com is designing the real estate buying process for a younger audience

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/operations/sales-mark/how-better-com-is-designing-the-real-estate-buying-process-for-a-younger-audience/

As customers turn to mobile and digital platforms for their banking and investing needs, the real estate buying process has lagged behind. A study  of real estate businesses last year found that 42% of them use spreadsheets and/or paper to support critical operations. Until recently, the underwriting process has been a cumbersome ordeal for gig-economy workers, freelancers and startup employees.

Better.com, a digital mortgage company launched in 2016, has automated the end-to-end process for buyers and is creating pathways for freelancers and startup workers to buy property thanks to tech platforms that help underwriters easily comb through support documents. Better.com looks at two use cases that affect younger workers: freelance workers and startup workers whose collateral is sometime tied up in stock options.

“The way the current system is, [these customers] don’t qualify for traditional mortgages,” said Tanya Hayre, Better.com’s head of public relations. “They are Uber drivers, or they started working at a startup and they are paid in shares that don’t vest for four years.”

See also: Better.com raises $160m to expand partnerships, launch insurance products

Better.com is riding a wave of innovation in the industry as incumbents rush to meet the needs of a new type of customer. To put this into context, Fannie Mae and Freddie rolled new technology earlier this year that automates underwriting for self-employed applicants. Better.com, through its suite of in-house digital tools, is looking at ways to underwrite customers that fall outside of the typical W2-based, salaried worker.

“People think of underwriting as clear cut and dry thing,” Lucy Randall, Better.com’s purchase sales director, told Bank Innovation. “What we’re really trying to get a sense for is the extremes [in terms of risk]  — we’ll look at stock agreements, we’ll look at historical [data] on how the stock has been valued and the overall health of the business, and take all of those things into account.”

Self-employed workers typically require a minimum of two years of employment history — an industry standard– but Better.com also will look at cash flow analysis, Randall explained. Indeed, the company is working with its partners to push the boundaries of new cases for which it can account. “We’ll look at cash flow and the health of the business, but it’s all really about a trend rather than specific numbers.”

On user experience, Better.com is employing a human-digital approach. While younger customers want an easy, intuitive digital experience, they also want to talk to people about big financial decisions. As a result, it’s important to pair them up with agents who understand their vantage points as young, digital-native customers who also may be struggling with other financial challenges.

“Millennial customers can call in and speak to another millennial who also is struggling with student debt,” said Hayre. “It’s like calling a knowledgeable friend.”

Bank Innovation Build, on Nov. 6-7 in Atlanta, helps attendees understand how to “do” innovation better. It is designed to offer best practices, to guide the innovation professional to better results. Register here.

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/operations/sales-mark/how-better-com-is-designing-the-real-estate-buying-process-for-a-younger-audience/

Bulgaria's Fibank to launch contactless payments with Garmin, Mastercard

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/bulgarias-fibank-to-launch-contactless-payments-with-garmin-mastercard/

Bulgaria's Fibank to launch contactless payments with Garmin, Mastercard

Bulgaria’s First Investment Bank announced an agreement with Mastercard and Garmin to enable contactless payments using mobile phones and smartwatches. 

The service will allow Fibank customers to make payments using their Mastercard accounts at contactless point-of-sale terminals and contactless ATM machines. 

“Central and Eastern Europe is a global leader in the development of contactless payments and their huge success has created a demand for even more functionalities,” Vanya Manova, Mastercard manager for Bulgaria, Northern Macedonia, Albania and Kosovo, said in a company release. “Bulgaria is among the countries where modern technologies are quickly finding a home and a favorable environment for development.”

Fibank and Mastercard introduced the Paypass contactless payment technology in Bulgaria in 2010 and by 2016 launched a digital card. 

Cover image courtesy of Fibank.


Topics: Contactless / NFC, Mobile Apps, Mobile/Digital Wallet, Mobile Payments, Region: EMEA

Companies: MasterCard, Garmin


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MaxMyInterest Unveils High Yield Account Max Checking

https://finovate.com/maxmyinterest-unveils-high-yield-account-max-checking/

Cash management solution provider MaxMyInterest introduced a new high-yield checking account called Max Checking last week. The latest offering from the New York City-based fintech will help individuals and advisors make more out of their cash holdings. Max Checking offers a 1.00% APY, FDIC-insured account that seamlessly connects the client’s brokerage, checking, and savings accounts to ensure that all of their cash has access to the best rates available.

Max Checking has no fees or minimums, enables free access to ATMs around the world, gives customers the ability to earn rebates on Max membership fees and, via a separate banking app, provides full mobile banking services including mobile check deposit, billpay, and P2P transfers.

In a blog post titled “Why We Launched Max Checking,” MaxMyInterest founder and CEO Gary Zimmerman noted that the reason for introducing the new solution was not to encourage consumers to change banks or checking accounts. Conceding that most people are content with their current banks, Zimmerman wrote that his goal was simply to give checking account users the same access to better cash rates that MaxMyInterest savings account users enjoy.

“Max Checking was designed to deliver on the promise of helping everyone in America earn higher returns on their cash,” he explained, before highlighting new capabilities that were the direct response to client requests. This new functionality ranges from the ability to access a wider number of supported banks to broader management over the technology’s automatic fund-sweeping process.

“Max was originally (created) for households who saw no distinction between checking and savings,” Zimmerman said. “Over the years, we’ve come to know many people who are saving for a specific purpose, and who prefer to allocate a discrete amount of cash to savings to earn more, without touching their checking account. With the launch of Max Checking, you can now earn more on savings without Max sweeping funds in/out of your existing checking account, so you’ll have even more control over your funds.”

The new offering is made possible courtesy of a partnership with Radius Bank, a firm Max has worked with since 2018. “Following our success with Radius Max Savings, we were excited to continue our work together to offer Max members a premium checking account,” Radius Bank President and CEO Mike Butler said. “This extension will allow depositors and their financial advisors to have a unified digital banking experience for both their savings, and now checking, needs in just a few clicks.”

MaxMyInterest demonstrated its automated cash management solution at FinovateFall 2014. The company’s technology offers both individuals and financial advisors the ability to optimize the return on their cash by automatically directing funds to FDIC-insured accounts that offer the highest yields. MaxMyInterest customers currently earn up to 2.28% APY on their savings accounts, significantly higher than the national savings average of 0.10%.

Founded in 2013, MaxMyInterest is operated by Six Trees Capital. More than 750 wealth management firms across the U.S. use the company’s technology to help their clients meet their cash needs.

https://finovate.com/maxmyinterest-unveils-high-yield-account-max-checking/

Belgium bank KBC integrates Paypal into its mobile app through open banking

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/belgium-bank-kbc-integrates-paypal-into-its-mobile-app-through-open-banking/

Belgium bank KBC integrates Paypal into its mobile app through open banking

KBC Group, a Belgium-based digital bank, said it has integrated Paypal into its mobile banking app to allow customers to check balances and perform other transactions. 

The integration is part of a wider open banking effort by KBC Group, which allows customers to access their third-party banking needs directly through the KBC mobile app. 

“Consulting and using all financial data in one app is a clear question from our customer and the integration of Paypal shows that we look beyond the traditional accounts,” Karin van Hoecke, director of the digital transformation division Belgium at KBC, said in a company release. “Customers can now not only follow the purchases they bought with the familiar KBC or Bancontact payment button, they can now also follow up on their Paypal account.”

KBC said it was the first bank in Belgium to allow multi-banking through its mobile app starting in March 2018, when it allowed customers to check the balances of their other accounts. KBC customers can access information from accounts with Argenta, Belfius, BNP Paribas Fortis and ING. 

Cover image courtesy of KBC.


 


Topics: Mobile Apps, Mobile Banking, Mobile Payments, Region: EMEA

Companies: PayPal


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Mambu Helps Swedish Challenger Bank Personal Finance Co Go Live

https://finovate.com/mambu-helps-swedish-challenger-bank-personal-finance-co-go-live/

Swedish neobank Personal Finance Co (PFC) has gone live on Mambu’s software-as-a-service (SaaS) banking engine 10 months after launch, reports Alex Hamilton of Fintech Futures (Finovate’s sister publication.)

PFC offers a personal finance app with an accompanying debit card. Customer are encouraged to reach their financial goals through “automation and data-driven insights.”

The bank plans to launch personalized savings and credit products in the near future and aims to accrue 100,000 users by the end of the year. It operates under a payments institution license, rather than a full banking license.

PFC is backed by Nordea, the largest bank in the Nordics region of Europe, itself going through a core banking transformation with Temenos. It invested €5 million in PFC in July.

Eli Daniel Keren, founder and CEO of PFC, said the neobank selected Mambu as the two firms shared common traits in flexibility and scalability.

He added: “In just nine months we were able to deploy a feature-rich mobile-first neobank and can now focus on international expansion and innovations to enhance the customer experience and deliver more value.”

Eelco-Jan Boonstra, managing director of Mambu EMEA, noted that the partnership will open up unique opportunities for both firms.

“Progressive digital banks have found a new way of doing business and tend to attract young, information-hungry customers that are comfortable with technology. When it comes to user experience, this target audience has high expectations, and also continuously changing needs,” said Boonstra.

“Powered by Mambu, PFC is able to meet these needs, at the same time accelerating the development of new products and features, quickly becoming a one-stop-shop for personal finance.”

Founded in 2011, Mambu made its Finovate debut at FinovateAsia 2013 in Singapore. The company is also an alum of our developers conference, leading a discussion and presentation titled Smart Consumer Lending: Platform and Scoring Architecture at FinDEVrNewYork 2016.

With more than $45 million in funding (€42 million) from investors including Bessemer Venture Partners, Acton Capital Partners, and CommerzVentures, Mambu is headquartered in Berlin, Germany. In recent months, company has forged partnerships with companies like Swiss online lender bob Finance, U.K.-based neobank B-North, and software development provider ABC TECH Group.

https://finovate.com/mambu-helps-swedish-challenger-bank-personal-finance-co-go-live/

Revolut taps Visa for global fintech expansion

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/revolut-taps-visa-for-global-fintech-expansion/

Revolut taps Visa for global fintech expansion

Revolut, a London.-based fintech and one of the largest in Europe, announced an agreement with Visa Inc. to expand its mobile banking and P2P service in 24 new markets that will extend its reach to 56 markets worldwide, according to a company release.

Revolut provides a variety of services, including P2P, currency exchange and personal finance budgeting, using a dedicated Visa card. The initial expansion phase will include Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, Russia, Singapore and the U.S. 

“We are excited to build upon our existing collaboration with Visa, the world’s leader in digital payments, which will bring to life our shared vision for seamless, innovative payment experiences,” Nikolay Storonsky, founder and CEO of Revolut, said in the release. 

Visa and Revolut have been working together for four years and Revolut began issuing Visa debit cards in 2017. 

Following the rollout of the initial countries, the Visa rollout will expand to Argentina, Chile, Columbia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Taiwan, Thailand, Ukraine and Vietnam. 

Cover image courtesy of Visa.


Topics: Mobile Banking, Region: EMEA

Companies: Visa


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Six Things To Look For In An Online Trading Platform

https://thefintechtimes.com/online-trading-platform/

Choosing the right trading platform is, by no means, an easy feat. You may be a skilled trader, but the wrong trading platform can make all your efforts go down the drain. An efficient trading platform makes forex trading easier by ensuring reliability and dependability. 

The process of choosing an online trading platform demands a careful decision-making process that allows you to evaluate different platform options and decide on one that suits you best. Before you do that, though, you should know what you exactly need from a trading platform. Once you’ve sorted that out, you’ll know what to look for.

Of course, there are certain factors that every good trading platform should have. Here are six things to look for in an online trading platform:

Accessibility

Every forex trader has his or her own set of trading needs. Similarly, everyone trades differently. To cater to varying needs, an online trading platform needs to be accessible from anywhere, regardless of where you’re working from.

The best trading platforms allow you to perform all kinds of transactions and has the ability to fit into your lifestyle, despite how hectic it is. Thus, always look for a trading platform that is not only accessible but is also convenient for you to use. In this day and age, it’s also essential to work on a trading platform that you can use from your mobile phone.

One trading platform you should definitely look into is Forex.com. This Forex.com broker review highlights the platform’s mobile trading options. With an app available on the Apple App Store and Google Play Store, traders can execute trades, personalize charts, create watchlists, access their accounts from anywhere, and get real-time alerts.

Availability of Information

Due to the risk involved, forex trading requires you to analyze huge chunks of information before you eventually make a decision. The ideal trading platform should provide you with all the information needed in one place. 

Many online trading platforms provide fundamental and technical information, both, to help you make better decisions. Such information usually involves financial data, such as dividend yields, earnings per share, price-earnings ratio, and statements, such as the income statement and balance sheet. 

You should also ensure the platform you choose gives you real-time updates on various things that are going on. This usually included political and economic news that could affect forex prices. This aspect makes trading easier for you since you won’t have to go somewhere else for relevant information.

Security

Since forex trading involves sensitive information, a trading platform must offer top-notch security. You need to ensure your personal data isn’t at risk by choosing a platform that is as secure as it can be. For this, you should know the kind of data encryption the platform uses, which will give you an idea of how your data will be transmitted over the internet.

Top-notch trading platforms employ the use of firewalls at server and application levels, both. They also use separate synced servers where data is stored, to ensure it is recoverable if any data gets lost.

Value for Money

Every forex trade involves multiple transaction fees and commissions that affect the result. Sometimes, brokers don’t tell you about these service charges and banking fees explicitly, since these charges affect your overall transaction costs and, hence, have an impact on your ending profit or loss.

Due to this, the online trading platform you choose should be equipped with a live calculator that provides transparency on the charges that are involved with every trade. This calculator will give you a clear idea of the additional costs you’re likely to incur and, hence, give you the real value of your trade.

Connectivity

Forex trading occurs at an international scale with multiple currencies involved. You may sometimes choose to trade with major currencies involving the most popular currency pairs, while other times you may want to work with other, less-commonly traded currencies.

Due to this, an online trading platform should have an excellent connection with multiple international stock markets, such as the London Stock Exchange, the New York Stock Exchange, Deutsche Boerse, and NASDAQ.

Trading Tools

Perhaps the main factor that differentiates an excellent trading platform from a mediocre one is the variety of trading tools it offers. One such trading tool is a stop-loss, which basically stops a trade when the price of a currency falls below a specified level. There are many advantages to a stop-loss, most importantly, that it prevents you from losing too much of your investment.

Another tool you should focus on is a Good Till Date that shows your preferred validity date, which ensures you don’t need to enter your details every time. Trading platforms also provide traders with SMS notifications and alerts that keep you updated on minor and significant fluctuations in your traded currency pairs. There are even alerts available that inform you of other pairs that may fit into your category. These trading tools are quite beneficial to forex traders since they make trading easier.

Conclusion

An online trading platform plays a huge role in how successful you will eventually be as a forex trader. It requires considerable research and is definitely a step that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Once you know what you’re looking for, though, choosing a platform will come easy.

What other things should you look for in a trading platform? Let us know!

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How Mobile Wallets Can Become Your Company’s Payroll Solution

https://thefintechtimes.com/mobile-wallets-payroll/

Forward-looking companies don’t pay salaries in cash anymore. In a world that’s fast-moving to a cashless society, using mobile wallets is the way forward. This technology is popular for two reasons: adaptability and functionality. And both these features can contribute to the long-term success of mobile wallets as the one, true solution to company payroll issues. 

Importance of mobile wallets for payroll

The benefit of having a flexible technology as a payroll solution is that employers can customize the features depending on the facilities that they want to provide. For example, many companies don’t use mobile wallets only as a payroll solution. They also include several other features like investment options, loyalty programs, financial guidance, and savings schemes, all using a single wallet. The Velmie mobile wallet is a prime example as it offers a myriad of functionalities geared toward payroll and investment opportunities for employees.

The financial success of employees using mobile wallets

Mobile wallets are not just helping companies streamline their payroll process; they are also providing employees with a wide range of financial tools to guide them toward a better savings journey. Moreover, mobile wallets seem more practical when it comes to modern-day payroll solution

Most employees, no matter what their age is, rely a lot on their mobile phones. Whether it is at work or at home, they can’t seem to live without their smartphones these days. Companies can take advantage of this digital lifestyle.

A branded mobile wallet used by a company can reinvent employee experience altogether. Employers can use the wallet to pay their employees and also go on to build an office community where they can engage digitally. For example, consider WhatsApp. This application was long known for its quick messaging service. However, with the introduction of a new payment feature, you can pay your friends and relatives directly through this app. So, it’s not just limited to a messaging app now. It takes care of payments too. 

Companies are now using the same concept while using mobile wallets. It’s their personal application that provides multiple functions like paying salaries, communication, and file sharing. In fact, this technology aims to foster the connectivity among employees and employers so that everyone feels that they belong to the workplace. It is a way of personalizing the experience that matters the most. Most importantly, using mobile wallets save a lot of transaction fees and reduce the risks of getting mugged.

Cashless is the future

When you use mobile wallets as a payroll solution, you are also encouraging employees to go cashless. Most stores and shopping centers these days accept direct payments from mobile wallets. You don’t have to worry about bringing your credit or debit card or even your regular wallet. As long as you have money in your salary account, you can keep using it wherever you go.

Mobile wallet as a payroll solution is a step forward into the future of going cashless. It’s fast, it’s convenient, and it comes with tons of benefits both for employers and employees.

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Evernym raises $8M for decentralized identity solution

https://www.mobilepaymentstoday.com/news/evernym-raises-8m-for-decentralized-identity-solution/

Evernym has raised $8 million in a funding round for its self-sovereign decentralized identity platform to allow organizations and governments to issue, accept and verify digital credentials, according to a press release.

Investors including Barclays Ventures and Medici Ventures led the series of funding on the platform, which allows organizations to issue these credentials that act as digital passports.  

“Evernym is migrating enterprises from the traditional siloed approach of identity to true Self-Sovereign Identity,” Jonathan Johnson, CEO and president of Medici Ventures, said in the release. “Medici Ventures is proud to add Evernym to our global keiretsu of companies as we are impressed by the traction Evernym’s team has achieved in the identity space already and believe their vision aligns closely with our core values.”


Topics: Blockchain, Security, Venture Capital


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Artificial Intelligence Driving the Next Generation of Jobs in the UK

https://thefintechtimes.com/ai-jobs-uk/

The uptake of artificial intelligence by industry will drastically change the UK job market in the coming years – with 133 million new jobs expected to be created globally.

In the UK alone, up to a third of jobs will be automated or likely to change as a result of the emergence of AI – impacting 10.5 million workers.

The findings come from a new report – Harnessing the Power of AI: The Demand for Future Skills – from global recruiter Robert Walters and market analysis experts Vacancy Soft.

Ollie Sexton, Principal at Robert Walters comments:

“As businesses become ever more reliant on AI, there is an increasing amount of pressure on the processes of data capture and integration. As a result, we have seen an unprecedented number of roles being created with data skill-set at their core.

Our job force cannot afford to not get to grips with data and digitalisation. Since 2015 the volume of data created worldwide has more than doubled – increasing (on average) by 28% year-on-year.

“we have seen an unprecedented number of roles being created with data skill-set at their core.”

Now is the perfect time to start honing UK talent for the next generation of AI-influenced jobs. If you look at the statistics in this report we can see that demand is already rife, what we are at risk of is a shortage of talent and skills.”

Demand for Data Professionals

IT professionals dedicated to data management appear to be the fastest growing area within large or global entities, with volumes increasing ten-fold in three years – an increase in vacancies of 160% since 2015.

More generally speaking, data roles across the board have increased by 80% since 2015 – with key areas of growth including data scientists and engineers.

What has been the most interesting to see is the emergence of data scientist as a mainstream profession – with job vacancies increasing by a staggering 110% year-on-year. The same trend can be seen with data engineers, averaging 86% year-on-year job growth.

Professional Services Hiring Rapidly

The rise of cybercrime has resulted in professional services – particularly within banking and financial services – hiring aggressively for information security professionals since 2016, however since then volumes have held steady.

Within professional services, vacancies for data analysts (+19.5%), data manager (+64.2%), data scientist (+28.8), and data engineer (+62%) have all increased year-on-year.

Top Industries Investing in AI

  1. Agriculture
  2. Business Support
  3. Customer Experience
  4. Energy
  5. Healthcare
  6. Intellectual Property
  7. IT Service Management
  8. Manufacturing
  9. Technical Support
  10. Retail
  11. Software Development

data roles across the board have increased by 80% since 2015

Tom Chambers, Manager – Advanced Analytics and Engineering at Robert Walters comments:

“The uptake of AI across multiple industries is bringing about rapid change, but with that opportunity.

Particularly, we are seeing retail, professional services and technology industries’ strive to develop digital products and services that are digitally engaging, secure and instantaneous for the customer – leading to huge waves of recruitment of professionals who are skilled in implementing, monitoring and gaining the desired output from facial recognition, check-out free retail and computer vision, among other automation technologies.

Similarly, experimental AI is making huge breakthroughs in the healthcare industry, with the power to replace the need for human, expert diagnoses.

What we are seeing is from those businesses that are prepared to invest heavily in AI and data analytics, is they are already outperforming their competitors – and so demand for talent in this area shows no signs of wavering.”

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TSB and Vocalink Join Forces to Protect People Against Falling Victim to Payment Fraud

https://thefintechtimes.com/tsb-and-vocalink/

TSB has announced it will become one of the first banks to deliver Confirmation of Payee for its customers, partnering with Vocalink, a Mastercard company. The new ‘Verify Account Name’ service will help prevent TSB customers sending money to the wrong bank account or falling victim to payment fraud.

Currently, when making payments, the account name is not checked when sending an electronic payment – and fraudsters have become increasingly sophisticated in using this to trick people into sending money to the wrong account.

The service will protect TSB’s customers who are targeted by Authorised Push Payment (APP) fraud. According to UK Finance data, there were 84,624 cases of APP fraud in the UK in 2018 with £354.3m lost to victims as a result.

Applying Vocalink’s data science capabilities, which are trained on over 20 billion transactions amounting to trillions of pounds in value, to the network level view, the solution will match the name of the account holder to the sort code and account number with a higher degree of accuracy than a simple direct name match.

there were 84,624 cases of APP fraud in the UK in 2018 with £354.3m lost to victims as a result.

The pioneering technology builds on the success of Vocalink’s anti-money laundering solution which enables suspicious payments to be tracked as they move between bank and building society accounts.

Suresh Viswanathan, TSB’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “We’re leveraging our modern platform to deliver the best solutions for our customers. With over 230,000 payments made every day, we are providing the latest cutting-edge technology to help prevent TSB customers from sending money to the wrong account and to safeguard them from fraudsters.” 

Gregor Dobbie, CEO at Vocalink, a Mastercard company, said: “By adopting our Verify Account Name solution, TSB is creating hurdles for fraudsters and in doing so, leading the way in the fight against fraud and protecting its customers. TSB’s customers can now be confident that there is an additional layer of proven security in place to protect them from losing money to fraudsters, or accidentally sending money that they then can’t get back.

TSB leverages its modern platform to be one of the first banks to deliver Confirmation of Payee.

Our service is highly accurate and delivers benefits to financial institutions beyond customer protection, as we know that identification and prevention are more cost effective than dealing with errors or fraud once they’ve occurred. It also builds on the success of our anti-money laundering solution, live in the UK, which enables suspicious payments to be tracked as they move between bank and building society accounts regardless of whether the payment amount is split between multiple accounts, or those accounts belong to the same or different financial institutions.

Trace Financial Crime accurately pinpoints individual accounts involved in suspected illegal activities, providing new intelligence to financial institutions’ fraud teams. By working together, leveraging expertise from across the Mastercard business and adopting the latest crime-fighting solutions, we will not only identify and prevent instances of fraud, but also show fraudsters that the industry is ahead of the game.”

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Why Multi-Factor Authentication is Still Crucial For Your Business

https://thefintechtimes.com/multi-factor-authentication-2/

By Matt Davey, COO at 1Password

With all the talk about passwordless logins, fintech companies might be wondering whether it’s worth enforcing multi-factor authentication on customer accounts. After all, if passwords might soon be a thing of the past, why upgrade current security when the next wave of innovation might be just around the corner? 

Matt Davey

Ultimately, no security solution is perfect; passwordless might be the buzzword right now, but like any form of authentication, it has its shortcomings. For now, passwords are here to stay, so it’s more crucial than ever to enable and support multi-factor authentication for your customers.

Passwords alone aren’t secure enough

When it comes to financial data, some of the most important information in a person’s life, it takes more than just a password for adequate protection—even a strong, unique one.

Let’s face it: Most people have bad password habits. Whether it’s reusing passwords or using weak passwords, these practices leave glaring vulnerabilities in people’s personal security. But it’s understandable. As attacks become more advanced, it’s become essential to use strong, unique passwords for every account — but who can remember strong, unique passwords for hundreds of sites? While everybody should be using a password manager, many people aren’t. 

Passwordless isn’t there yet

Password weaknesses are why some companies are considering making the move to passwordless logins. The way passwordless authentication works is that, rather than entering a password, you enter an email address (or another login factor — phone number, etc.) and are sent a link which allows you to log in without any sort of password. Simple, right?

even if passwordless logins were fully deployed and usable, they still would have weaknesses.

In practice, it’s more complicated. There are still security issues here. What happens if a hacker gains access to your email, or you’re victim to a SIM-swap attack, like Twitter’s Jack Dorsey? The attacker could then log into every site you use passwordless authentication for. And unfortunately, you’ll still need passwords to sign in to your email. Passwordless sounds convenient, but it’s just not feasible right now.

Multi-factor authentication is more important than ever

So, even if passwordless logins were fully deployed and usable, they still would have weaknesses. That’s why you should continue to pursue multi-factor authentication. 

If you’re unfamiliar with multi-factor authentication, here’s how it works: a person logs into a site with a password. They are then prompted to use a different factor to authenticate themselves before they can actually log in. That factor can be any number of things — a code generated by an app like Google Authenticator, a text message to a mobile device, or a time-based one-time password generated by a password manager.

The key here is that there are multiple levels of security and authentication before anyone can access their financial accounts. Multi-factor authentication also provides extra protection in the case of a password-reveal breach. It’s important to remember that it doesn’t need to be your system that’s hacked to put your customers’ data at risk. If people reuse passwords, which many do, then one password leak can affect the rest of their accounts. 

Regardless of what the future holds in terms of security and authentication, multi-factor authentication is worth investing in. Because right now, used in conjunction with good password practices, it’s the best defense against data breaches.

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Bitcoin could be America’s greatest weapon

https://dailyfintech.com/2019/09/30/bitcoin-could-be-americas-greatest-weapon/

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Ilias Louis Hatzis is the Founder & CEO at Mercato Blockchain Corporation AG and Weekly Columnist at Daily Fintech.

Some governments feel that Libra poses a threat to cross-border payments, monetary policy and even financial sovereignty. China certainly feels that way. Facebook’s plan to launch its own cryptocurrency has pushed the Chinese central bank to step up its efforts to release the digital yuan, as soon as November 11, to coincide with the Singles’ Day online shopping festival. Why isn’t the United States jumping into the race, to challenge all those that are trying to undermine the dollar’s reserve-currency status? Maybe it feels it can deter attempts to supplant the dollar’s role in the global financial system by other sovereign currencies. Maybe by committing to this course of action the United States becomes the center of an open digital financial system. Maybe it understands full well that no matter what it does, people will choose a currency that governments can’t control.

The US dollar is the world’s reserve currency, but only a fraction of the world’s population has access to it. Outside the United States, the only way that most people can get or use dollars, is by physically getting a hold of dollar bills.

In inflation plagued nations like Venezuela, Turkey, Iran, and Zimbabwe, people don’t have a way to store the value of their money and their life savings are disappearing into thin air. Some have resorted to buying Bitcoin, but that has its own set of problems, primarily the volatile nature of cryptocurrencies. With the advent of digital currencies, for the first time, anyone with an internet connection will able to to dump their worthless domestic currencies for a digital dollars or yuans.

It’s coming and it’s like gravity, pulling everything in the same direction. Every global currency will be digital. China is tokenizing its currency and you can expect that every country in the world will follow them, including the United States. It’s no longer about digital and non-digital currencies.

When the Chinese release the digital yuan, you can expect the United States to release the digital dollar. A tokenized version of the yuan will be accessible to more people in the world and this will potentially drive its usage levels. No question about it, the US would have to digitize the dollar to keep the status quo and maintain the dollar’s status as the global reserve currency.

In the past, the dollar has faced plenty competitors. In some ways the euro was created to chip away at the dollar and China has been pushing the yuan and now the digital yuan to de-dollarize the planet.

Since 1989, the dollar hasn’t lost any of its share in central banks’ foreign currency reserves, in currency trading, or in the cross-border liabilities of banks. There are at least 66 countries that either peg their currency to the dollar or use the dollar as their own legal tender. The dollar is tied to commodities. For example, back in the 1970s, the United States made a deal with the Saudis for oil in exchange for US dollar power, by pricing oil in US dollars. The dollar is too dominant to be replaced by another currency or a digital currency. The dollar is tied to everything.

The real threat to America comes less from cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Libra or El Petro and more from not embracing and accelerating technological developments in the financial sector, to maintain its role as the gatekeeper for digital innovation. The question is how can the United States be relevant in a world of decentralization.

The United States should not fight the forces that challenge the dollar’s reserve-currency status. Instead, it must incubate technologies that will enable future digital currencies to power transactions and act as a future global reserve.

The US dollar is still the most popular peg currency among traditional and alternative stablecoins. Even in “basket” type of situations, with multiple global currencies, the dollar holds more weight against other sovereign currencies and assets, keeping the United States in the driver’s seat.

If history can teach us anything, fostering and supporting innovation can only unleash economic development. Three decades ago, the United States supported the development of the Internet and it changed everything, leading to phenomenal economic growth and huge startup and job creation. Today the companies valued at billions, companies that have disrupted every industry, came from that decision: Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Netflix, Uber, Expedia, Salesforce, Twitter, Linkedin and the list goes on. The world is on the brink of a digital financial revolution, that has the potential to be just as significant as the Internet.

A few days ago on CNBC, Anthony Pompliano said that people: “Ultimately I believe that people are going to opt for something that is not manipulatable, is not ceasable, is not censorable, that’s not debasable. I think people are going to continue slow at first, but over time more and more people will choose a currency that a government does not control.”

The country that is first to introduce a digital currency, that is easily stored and used abroad, than its physical counterpart, will have a first-mover advantage. China will most likely be first. But, Bitcoin could be America’s greatest weapon. Bitcoin is America’s next Internet, an open, transparent microcosm of how a new decentralized, and automated financial system could work. The United States could retain its leadership in the global financial system, by investing in research, experimentation and development of open and transparent cryptocurrency technologies like Bitcoin. If it does, it will thrive in the new, emerging financial world.

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UK: Doom and Gloom or Fintech Boom?

https://thefintechtimes.com/fintech-boom/

By Jon Dawson, Senior Manager, haysmacintyre

Many of the entrepreneurs I work with face the common problem of deciding which jurisdictions are most favourable when it comes to setting up or expanding globally. With all the uncertainty around BREXIT, some might argue that now isn’t the time to setup a business in the UK or expand from overseas into the UK market.

There were just 64 IPOs in the year to July 2019 (116 in the previous 12 months) and the largest fintech to IPO in this period (Funding Circle) has seen a 75% decrease in its share price since their IPO. Most of what we read about in the UK media is doom and gloom and economists are suggesting that we could be on the brink of another recession.

Despite this, I’m going to explore some of the reasons why many are still choosing the UK to locate their fintech business, and why I think the UK is a great place to setup shop. If we continue to see so many internationally recognised fintechs coming out of the UK, we’ll remain the global leader for this dynamic sector and continue to create the buzz that is felt within the fintech community. 

Tax:

When I introduce myself as an accountant I’m often asked almost immediately a question about how to pay less tax. It’s at the forefront of people’s minds in everyday life as at work and as a fintech business, the UK can be seen as a particularly favourable place to setup with the Government’s R&D tax scheme having been established to reward and encourage innovation and advancements in technology. Under the scheme, businesses can reduce their tax bill or reclaim cash proportionate to the amount they spend on R&D. In addition, if and when the business becomes taxable, the tax rate in the UK of 19% is low compared to many other countries. 

“If we continue to see so many internationally recognised fintechs coming out of the UK, we’ll remain the global leader for this dynamic sector”

R&D tax credits are often viewed by scaling businesses as a form of finance in as much as they provide a cash injection, often annually, which can help to alleviate the need to raise the next round of investment for a short time. 

Finance:

Given that the number of IPOs in the first six months of 2019 was so low, one might be fooled into thinking that finance is difficult to obtain. Within the fintech space, the opposite is the case and the first six months of 2019 saw a record $2.9bn invested into fintech businesses, up from $2.0bn in the first half of 2018. Much of this money went to mature businesses, raising later stage VC or PE rounds but there is still a large amount being invested into Seed, Angel and Series A rounds. The (S)EIS tax scheme provides a great incentive for investors to continue to put money into early stage UK businesses.

If you’re looking for finance in the UK, being (S)EIS eligible is important to some investors and if your business is qualifying, it’s worth applying for advanced assurance from HMRC to keep your investment options open. 

Non-financial support:

There seem to be more accelerators, incubators and ecosystems in the fintech space than in any other sector within the UK. In fact, on every day of the week there will be a selection of fintech focussed events which you could attend. Of course, one of the challenges is choosing the most valuable start-up hub to join but there’s certainly no shortage out there for fintechs wanting to benefit from surrounding themselves with a support network. 

“There seem to be more accelerators, incubators and ecosystems in the fintech space than in any other sector within the UK.”

As well as direct support from these networks, London, Cambridge and other cities have the infrastructure to support scaling fintechs. This includes access to professional advisors who understand the industry and flexible working environments make the UK’s top fintech cities an attractive prospect.

Regulation:

Regulation often has negative connotations, but within the fintech community it’s widely accepted that regulation provides a layer of support that financial institutions and the public need in order to feel comfortable operating within this space. The regulators are often praised with being a key facilitator in the UK’s position as a leading jurisdiction for fintech businesses to setup shop. The FCA’s regulatory sandbox, the largest and arguably the most successful sandbox in the UK, has provided the ability for fintech businesses to test their products in a controlled environment, with the FCA continually learning from each cohort and using this to guide advancements in regulation.  

This has led to huge growth in the regtech space, a sub-sector of fintech which is often now seen as a sector in its own right, providing more effective and efficient solutions to growing regulation. Increased regulation is a factor in driving fintechs to the UK which in turn creates more demand for efficient ways to cope with regulation and so a chicken and egg scenario ensues.

Talent and entrepreneurial drive:

Knowyourmoney published a survey suggesting that 47.6% of UK adults would consider starting their own business and although less than 10% do, the UK is a world leading entrepreneurial nation. Although there is a significant amount of talent in the UK to support the entrepreneurs, the fintech industry is highly dependent on overseas skills. Perhaps because of the UK’s leading status amongst the global fintech players, businesses have been able to successfully engage with the required technical skillset, often outsourcing tasks to developers in Europe or other areas of the world. 

“London has always been home to Europe’s most dominant financial institutions.”

The Government have been vocal with their support for the tech industry and know that their policies need to drive talent coming through both the education system and from overseas. 

Access to leading financial institutions:

London has always been home to Europe’s most dominant financial institutions. Access to these is integral for most fintech businesses to succeed and is often considered to be the original catalyst for London developing such a strong fintech community. As the sector matures, we’re seeing more senior employees from banks and other financial services, leaving to join fintech companies, bringing both experience and a natural cohesion between the leading financial institutions and the disruptive technology. 

You’re just as likely to see an electric scooter than a tie in the City these days – perhaps a coincidence or perhaps a suitable metaphor for the disruption and drive for more innovation we’re seeing in the world of finance.

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Supreme Court Ruling Does Nothing to Boost Confidence in UK Assets

https://thefintechtimes.com/supreme-court-ruling/

By Nigel Green, CEO of deVere Group

The UK Supreme Court’s ruling that Boris Johnson’s suspension of parliament was unlawful will not boost optimism in the pound and UK financial assets.

This is a massive blow to UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his approach to Brexit. It would suggest that the possibility of a hard Brexit – and all its associated perceived threats – has further reduced.  

However, the ruling will not, in fact, deliver a major boost of optimism to the pound and UK financial assets because the Brexit timetable remains in place. The Brexit-fuelled political uncertainty deepens, and this will temper any significant upside. Sterling and UK financial assets remain flat.

MPs are on their way back to the House of Commons and they have already rejected a no-deal exit. Therefore, Boris Johnson needs to get on with securing a deal with the EU that will get through parliament.

The Brexit-fuelled political uncertainty deepens, and this will temper any significant upside.

He needs to play strongly the hand with the EU that it’s in their economic best interests to reopen negotiations. After all, the last thing they need is a no-deal and be unable to trade effectively as they do now with the UK, especially as the wider EU and global economies are slowing.

As the saga and uncertainty continues, it can be expected that both UK domestic and international investors in UK assets are increasingly likely to move assets away from the UK to grow and safeguard their wealth.

Earlier this month, a deVere Group survey found that there’s been a 35% increase in investors seeking to reduce their exposure to UK assets (barring UK property) since Mr Johnson became PM in July.

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Enterprise Blockchain: The Revolution The Financial Services Market Never Knew It Needed

https://thefintechtimes.com/enterprise-blockchain/

By Richard Gendal-Brown, Chief Technology Officer at R3

There’s a dirty secret at the heart of the enterprise software industry: we never finished what we started. We modernised and transformed the operations of the world’s largest firms. But outside industry-level achievements such as SWIFT and CLS, the markets in which today’s firms operate look the same today as they did fifty years ago. Optimising entire markets is the new opportunity and enterprise blockchain is the key to delivering on this. 

Richard Gendal-Brown

The problems that technology firms solved for individual banks and other financial services firms 10 to 20 years ago are problems that can be solved for entire markets today. The emergence of ‘middleware’ back in the late 90s and early 2000s offers a perfect example of this.

Middleware grew in popularity as institutions came to the realisation that they had a growing issue: they’d built or installed dozens or even hundreds of applications on which they ran their businesses, yet none of these systems talked to each other properly.

Enterprise IT systems within businesses were completely out of sync, requiring armies of people to re-key information left, right and centre. The resulting mess came at a colossal expense to banks and other financial services institutions across the globe.

The solution to this problem began modestly, with the introduction of software that literally sat in the middle of applications and connected them to each other. If a relevant action happened in one application, it would be forwarded to the other one. These early products were essentially “email for machines” and spawned the birth of a new industry: ‘enterprise middleware’.

Over time, these products evolved so that firms were able to identify all the routine processes that took place across their business and automate them as much as possible, ensuring data flowed where it should, when it should.

Optimising entire markets is the new opportunity and enterprise blockchain is the key to delivering on this. 

While the term ‘middleware’ is sometimes used disparagingly today, the arc of progress from systems that could barely talk to each other to systems that were orchestrated to achieve an optimised business outcome is astounding as we look back on the accumulated achievements that were delivered. Ultimately, however, this evolution was happening only at the level of the individual firm.

Few companies back then even thought about optimising the markets in which they operated. How could they have? Little of the software was designed to do anything other than join together systems deployed in the same IT estate.

Fast forward to today, however, and financial services firms are at the end of their middleware-focused optimisation journeys and are embarking on the next, as they migrate operations to the cloud. But the question of inefficiencies between firms remains open. Take the most trivial example in payments: 

“I just wired you the funds, did you get them?”

“No, I can’t see them. Which account did you send them to? Which reference did you use? Can you ask your bank to chase?”

The problems that technology firms solved for individual banks and other financial services firms 10 to 20 years ago are problems that can be solved for entire markets today.

How can we be almost a fifth of the way through the 21st century and still accept lost payments as a daily occurrence? How is it possible that if one party agrees with another that it owes it money, such a mess can be created when they try to pay each other?

The intra-firm problems that led to the emergence of middleware two decades ago are precisely the ones that are still making inter-firm business so inefficient.

The journey individual firms went on, from messaging to integration, orchestration and process optimisation, is now a journey that entire financial markets can go on. The problems that couldn’t be solved back then without changing the structure of the market through the introduction of a new central player are now ones we are fully capable of solving 

But what has changed? The simplistic answer is “enterprise blockchain.” While accurate on the surface, this answer is lazy because not all enterprise blockchains have been designed for the same purpose, and the enabling technology and environment is not all new – for example the maturation of crypto techniques, consensus algorithms and emergence of industry consortia.

But the explosion of interest in blockchain technology was a catalyst that made the financial services industry – and the technology firms serving it – realise that maybe it could move to common data processing and not just data sharing at the level of markets and, in so doing, utterly transform them for the better.

By identifying and ruthlessly eliminating all the places where disagreements, ambiguity and doubt can enter the process, it allows the rest of the process to be executed like a train on rail tracks.

Moving from a world where everybody builds and runs their own distinct applications, which are endlessly out of sync, to one where everybody is using a shared market-level application, dramatically drives down deviations and errors. 

And this can be achieved by applying the key insights from the blockchain revolution to ensure the facts that both parties to a transaction care about – such as who can update which records, when and in what ways – are documented in deterministically executed code in a way that eliminates critical sources of error or opportunities for inconsistency. 

By identifying and ruthlessly eliminating all the places where disagreements, ambiguity and doubt can enter the process, it allows the rest of the process to be executed like a train on rail tracks. And just like trains, if two of them start in the same place and follow the same track, they’ll end up in the same place at the end. While this may seem trivial, it can radically transform processes that financial institutions rely on, from payments to trade finance, syndicated lending, identity management and much more. 

Enterprise blockchain platforms achieve some of their magic because they make seemingly trivial improvements to inter-firm business processes and, in so doing, dramatically drive up levels of automation and consensus. These platforms will sit at the heart of the financial markets of tomorrow, providing the ultimate cross-industry middleware.

If the first fifty years of financial technology were focused on optimising the operations of individual firms, the future will undoubtedly be about optimising entire markets. This is the ultimate promise of enterprise blockchain technology for financial services and beyond.

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Chase commits $25m to inclusion-focused startups

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/operations/cap-fund/chase-commits-25m-to-inclusion-focused-startups/

JPMorgan Chase this week announced a $25 million commitment to tech tools that help underserved consumers. The contribution will go towards the nonprofit Financial Health Network’s Financial Solutions Lab, a development program that supports fintech startups that help consumers save money, reduce debt and meet long-term financial goals. 

According to the Financial Health Network, the Financial Solutions Lab identifies, tests and brings to scale innovations that help customers improve their credit, build assets and save more money. Through the new commitment, the Financial Solutions Lab will invest in both early-stage and existing fintech companies. The lab has yet to announce which startups it will be funding this coming year.

Over the past five years, the Financial Solutions Lab has supported such well-known personal finance and banking platforms as Dave, which now boasts 3.5 million customers; Nova Credit, which offers its credit-scoring technology to institutions; and personal finance app Digit, which claims to have helped its customers save more than $1 billion since its establishment in 2015. According to the bank, tools developed by Financial Solutions Lab alumni have reached more than 4.5 million people.

See also: Digit’s Bloch on the future of personal finance

Ryan Falvey, a former managing director at the Financial Solutions Lab and current managing partner at San Francisco-based venture firm the Financial Venture Studio, explained that philanthropic intervention is needed for startups focused on financial inclusion. “There’s a role for an organization like the Financial Health Network to identify problems,” he said. “[It] encourages more founders to see the opportunities to innovate.”

Falvey named Digit, Dave, Nova Credit, Everlance and several other known digital services as examples of success stories from the program. In addition, some of the program’s alumni recently were acquired by larger companies, including WiseBanyan and Grove.

“We put together a program that sought to identify some of the places where we can help consumers save, access more affordable forms of credit and improve payment functionality,” Falvey noted. “A lot of things that would help a low to moderate income consumer do a better job of managing their financial lives.” 

As the bank bolsters its commitment to the development program, it also launched a financial inclusion-focused branch in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City this week. The new branch will include events, workshops, local art and a customized lab for skills training and digital innovation. According to the bank, it will be replicated in six other cities in the U.S., including Chicago and Los Angeles.    

From the bank’s perspective, supporting access to financial health is more than just a bank account, as Colleen Briggs, the JPMorgan Chase head of community development and financial health, once said. “It takes much more than a bank account to stay [financially] healthy. They need action-oriented, ongoing support,” she noted. “The banking system and the fintech system can work together to unlock the financial system [for the underserved].”

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/operations/cap-fund/chase-commits-25m-to-inclusion-focused-startups/

How RBC Capital Markets revamped its data management efforts

https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/corp-bank/how-rbc-capital-markets-revamped-its-data-management-efforts/

RBC Capital Markets has looked externally to help it consolidate data in one place, analyze it and better equip employees. Starting in 2013, RBC Capital Markets began collecting all the data it could that was relevant to its clients, including e-commerce data, trades and portfolios. Problems arose, however, when the bank realized it had no …Read More

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https://bankinnovation.net/allposts/biz-lines/corp-bank/how-rbc-capital-markets-revamped-its-data-management-efforts/

Kreditech Looks to India for Expansion; Mexico’s Klar Scores $57.5 Million in Funding

https://finovate.com/kreditech-looks-to-india-for-expansion-mexicos-klar-scores-57-5-million-in-funding/

Join us in October as our annual Asia-Pacific fintech conference returns to Singapore! FinovateAsia is one of the best ways for fintech startups and innovative industry veterans from the region and around the world to showcase their latest technologies before an audience of C-level decision-makers, venture capitalists, all-star analysts, and more.

For information on how to participate in FinovateAsia as a demoing company, partner, or sponsor, send us an e-mail and we’ll tell you everything you need to know.

Asia-Pacific

  • Singapore’s United Overseas Bank (UOB) partners with proptech innovator SoReal to launch SME property valuation solution.
  • Bank of China and IBM announces plans to collaborate on digital transformation, customer experience enhancement, and other innovations in financial services.
  • North Korea announces plans to develop its own cryptocurrency.

Sub-Saharan Africa

  • United Bank of Africa (UBA) inks deal with U.S.-based fintech Ovamba Solutions.
  • FairMoney picks up nearly $11 million in funding to help build a new digital bank in Nigeria.
  • Angolan e-commerce platform Roque Online wins Seedstars Luanda pitch contest.

Central and Eastern Europe

  • Bulgaria’s third largest bank by assets, Fibank, teams up with Mastercard and Garmin to launch new pay watch.
  • Commerzbank announces plans to sell Polish subsidiary mBank.
  • Warsaw, Poland’s The First News profiles Neontri (formerly Braintri).
  • National Bank of Romania unveils new fintech innovation hub.

Middle East and Northern Africa

  • The first digital business bank in the UAE, E20, goes live after 18 months in development.
  • Fintech Abu Dhabi announces strategic partnership with UAE Banks Federation.
  • Turkey’s Takasbank introduces blockchain-based, gold-trading platform.

Central and Southern Asia

  • Courtesy of a partnership with Amazon and Financial Software and Systems, United Bank of India launches voice-powered banking.
  • Sri Lanka’s Sampath Bank introduces new virtual teller machines in the country’s capital city of Colombo.
  • German online lender Kreditech looks to expand operations in India in the wake of $22 million equity fundraising.

Latin America and the Caribbean

  • Mexican alternative credit and debit services provider Klar raises $57.5 million in funding.
  • Mastercard brings its Tap on Phone payment acceptance solution to Costa Rica.
  • Brazilian fintech Creditas looks to lure away British technology talent disenchanted by Brexit.

Top image designed by Freepik

https://finovate.com/kreditech-looks-to-india-for-expansion-mexicos-klar-scores-57-5-million-in-funding/