Commercial lender Bank of India has selected Uniken and its REL-ID tech to secure its internet and mobile banking channels.
The two firms have worked together for almost a decade, and this latest selection is an extension of their systems partnership.
Uniken CEO Bimal Gandhi says the bank selected his firm’s solution due to its ability to offer combined services as a single package.
For Rajesh Kumar Ram, general manager and CIO at Bank of India, data security has become “extremely critical” for his bank and others.
“Bank of India has been successful in keeping a zero data-breach record and keeping up with their customers’ trust.”
Payment systems in India are projected to experience near-100% growth, according to figures released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
RBI has also released guidelines as security and risk mitigation measures for digital payments. Uniken says that its REL-ID system ensures compliance with RBI and other statutory guidelines around protecting digital banking assets with security solutions.
Founded in 1906, Bank of India has been government-owned since 1969. It claims to operate more than 5,000 branches across the country and 56 locations outside of India. In 2019 it reported total assets of more than $88 billion.
MAS completes multi-currency blockchain testing
The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has completed its fifth and final testing phase for a multi-currency blockchain payments network.
Codenamed Project Ubin, the blockchain network is jointly developed with JP Morgan and investment firm Temasek.
MAS announced the fifth phase of the project on 11 November 2019, following the successful development of a blockchain-based prototype for multi-currency payments.
Phase five of the test saw payments successfully settled in different currencies on the same network.
It validated the use of smart contracts on the payments network prototype for settlement, conditional payments and escrow for trade.
MAS believes that the prototype could enable faster and cheaper transactions than “conventional cross-border payments channels”.
The regulator adds that its current system can serve as a test network for collaboration with other central banks for developing “next generation cross-border payments infrastructure”.
To that end MAS has made technical specifications public to “further industry development”.
“As with all innovation adoption, there is a time for experimentation, and a time for commercialisation,” says Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer at MAS.
“Project Ubin has worked with the financial industry and blockchain community on a journey of experimentation, prototyping and learning.
“Following the successful experimentation over five phases, we look forward to greater adoption and live deployment of blockchain technology.”
AMTD Announces A Flurry of Partnerships and the Name of Its Digibank
AMTD Group announced today several industry partnerships that it has established in efforts to better serve SMEs in Asia.
It has entered into two separate partnerships, one of which is with GlobalLinker that is aimed at helping Asian SMEs in their digitalisation and global expansion while, the other is with Funding Societies and CIMB to explore collaboration opportunities in offering digital finance solutions to SMEs in Singapore and South East Asia.
The partnership with GlobalLinker will see ATMD becoming the preferred financial services partner on the former’s SME focused platform. In their statement, AMTD said that it will deploy the entirety of the ecosystem to serve SMEs on the platform which includes its Hong Kong-based virtual bank Airstar and also its potential digital wholesale bank consortium in Singapore.
The AMTD-led consortium includes Funding Societies, SP Group, and Xiaomi that is subject to approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore. They revealed that their Singapore-based digibank will be named Singa Bank.
Meanwhile, the partnership between ATMD, CIMB and Funding Societies will include areas like payroll, mortgage loans, unsecured loans, remittance, and brokerage. It also aims to utilise CIMB’s wide range of banking and capital market services to complement AMTD’s digital solutions to provide SMEs with a one-stop, cross-regional, cross-product financial solution.
These partnerships seem to provide hints as to the shape that AMTD’s digital bank in Singapore will have a particular focus towards serving the SME segment.
US buy now, pay later fintech Sezzle in $60m raise on ASX
Sezzle, a US-founded buy now, pay later fintech, is raising AUD 86.3 million ($60 million).
The total comprises of an institutional placement which raised AUD 79.1 million.
Under this placement, 14.1 million CHESS Depositary Interests (CDI) were issued, representing 8.4% of Sezzle’s existing capital.
CDIs allow non-Australian companies like Sezzle to list on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
The other AUD 7.2 million is a non-underwritten share purchase plan which is now in the process of completion.
Sezzle’s move to Australia
The start-up launched its lending platform in 2017 in the US. It then expanded its offering to Canada.
In July 2019, the US fintech launched an oversubscribed initial public offering (IPO) on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX).
Australia already has a handful of buy now, pay later competitors which are surging in growth.
This month alone, Afterpay launched a AUD 1 billion capital raising and founder sell-down, Brisbane-based Fu opened its Series A funding round, and Laybuy launched its second pre-IPO raising.
“We appreciate the continued support of our existing institutional investors, particularly those that have remained as CDI holders and supporters since our ASX IPO, around one year ago,” says Sezzle’s CEO, Charlie Youakim.
The new capital will help strengthen Sezzle’s balance sheet, as well as fuel international growth, customer numbers, marketing and new products.
Share prices rocket
Following the publication of its second quarter update, Sezzle’s share price rocketed to a record high last week. It hit AUD 8.25 before reaching a trading halt.
During the quarter, the fintech’s underlying merchant sales totalled to $188 million. This represented a 58% quarter-on-quarter increase, and a 349% year-on-year increase.
The strong quarter results were down to increased activity amongst both consumers and merchants, as well as to repeat usage.
“Our strong [first half] performance, improving consumer profile, and confidence in reaching an annualised run rate for UMS [underwriting management system] of $1 billion by the end of 2020 allows us to be uniquely positioned to further expand through a number of near-term growth initiatives,” says Youakim.
“Importantly, this capital raising will give us the ability to invest in these initiatives as well as fortify our balance sheet.”
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