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UK must learn lessons of Wirecard scandal, warn MPs

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A group of British MPs has warned that the government must avoid the mistakes German regulators made when dealing with failed fintech giant Wirecard.

The All Party Group on Challenger Banks and Building Societies’ new report, “Wirecard: When fintech goes rogue” dives into how the UK can avoid a similar scandal.

The German financial watchdog, BaFin, has faced massive blowback for its persistent defence of Wirecard as it faced mounting allegations of financial accounting irregularities.

Group chair Karen Bradley MP links the collapse to the long awaited Kalifa Review of UK Fintech. Specifically, she welcomes the government’s support for Kalifa’s proposed Fintech “scale-box” which is designed to ensure keener oversight of newly-authorised institutions.

Says Bradley: “The APPG is strongly of the view that firms need proportionate regulation which matches their size, complexity and market exposure.

“Regulators need to be fleet of foot enough to anticipate the issues that arise as firms scale and must have the specialist knowledge to understand how these new types of institutions work.”

Read the report

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Source: https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/37966/uk-must-learn-lessons-of-wirecard-scandal-warn-mps?utm_medium=rssfinextra&utm_source=finextrafeed

Payments

Bank of Ireland makes it easier for asylum seekers to open bank accounts

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Bank of Ireland has made it easier for international protection applicants to access everyday banking services by accepting alternative State-issued documentation as proof of identity and address when opening current accounts.

The Bank has also launched a new website hub offering practical guidance and support to asylum seekers and refugees on account opening.

Asylum seekers may not have the traditional documentation that most banks – including Bank of Ireland – require to set up a bank account. They may also have more limited knowledge of the local banking system and the options available to them.

The Bank has today launched a dedicated website hub for asylum seekers with summary information provided in 19 languages*. The hub explains the types of bank account available, the documentation that is required to open one, and how to apply. Additional translation support is available from a volunteer panel of Bank of Ireland staff comprising speakers of more than 30 languages, including members of the Bank’s Multicultural and Accessibility employee networks.

Bank of Ireland has also tailored its current account opening requirements to accept substitute State-issued documentation such as a Temporary Residence Certificate (TRC), ‘Stamp 4’ Irish Residency Permits and/or the Irish-government-issued Refugee Travel Document.

Francesca McDonagh, Bank of Ireland Group Chief Executive said: “Financial inclusion is by no means the only challenge facing asylum seekers but it’s a hugely significant one. Members of my family fled Egypt and sought asylum in the UK, so I’m particularly proud that Bank of Ireland has shown leadership on this issue. A bank account is so essential nowadays that most of us probably take it for granted. Without a bank account asylum seekers are denied a safe place to hold their money, not to mention access to a range of other services. This makes it harder for them to start building a new life here.”

“At Bank of Ireland, we are committed to improving the financial wellbeing of all our customers. At the heart of financial wellbeing is financial inclusion and that means access to basic banking products for all. The requirements for identification and verification are an important part of how banks help to combat money laundering and other illegal activity. However, we’re very aware that this can also present unnecessary barriers to opening accounts, and that is why we are making these important changes.”

Nick Henderson, Chief Executive of the Irish Refugee Council, said: “We strongly welcome Bank of Ireland’s significant progress on this issue. This new policy is a considerable step forward. A bank account is a basic necessity and essential for someone building their new life and independence in Ireland. We particularly welcome the clear recognition of the Temporary Residence Certificate as proof of identity. We hope that other banks and institutions follow Bank of Ireland’s lead and this becomes normal and basic practice.”

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Source: https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/87630/bank-of-ireland-makes-it-easier-for-asylum-seekers-to-open-bank-accounts?utm_medium=rssfinextra&utm_source=finextrafeed

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Banking app FinTron leverages LendingClub Bank services

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FinTron Invest (“FinTron”) – a new FinTech company, built by the mobile generation, for the mobile generation – announced today a new partnership with LendingClub Bank, National Association, Member FDIC, America’s leading digital marketplace bank.

This partnership allows FinTron to offer its customers low-cost mobile banking services, including FDIC-insured checking accounts that earn interest, free ATM withdrawals worldwide, and online check deposits – all through the FinTron app.

The FinTron app is a digital banking, investing, and learning platform that provides the mobile generation with the tools they need to build wealth and become smarter about their personal finances.

The FinTron app offers:

Extensive Financial Educational Platform

Daily digestible financial articles
Simulated stock trading game
Lessons and quizzes

Checking Account and FinTron Debit Card

Free ATM withdrawals worldwide
Interest-bearing checking account
Mobile check deposit
Automated savings features
FDIC-insured accounts up to $250,000

Individual Cash Brokerage Accounts Through FinTron Invest

600+ stocks & ETFs, featuring fractional share ownership
Automated investment features
Risk tolerance assessments
Expanded real-time and historical securities data at your fingertips
SIPC-insured accounts up to $500,000 (including up to $250,000 for cash claims)

LendingClub Bank is a leading digital bank that provides a national brand’s product depth and the technology of a FinTech Bank upholds a commitment to provide a full complement of products and services that not only meet the growing banking needs of its customers but are also simple and convenient.

“We wanted to create a streamlined banking and investing experience for the Mobile-First generation to help combat their fears around personal finance, and we are excited to partner with LendingClub Bank,” said FinTron’s 25-year-old CEO and Founder, Wilder Rumpf.

Rumpf continued, “LendingClub Bank’s extensive experience working with forward-thinking fintech companies, and its mission of streamlining mobile banking to its customers, attracted us to the Bank. LendingClub Bank is an essential component to our seamlessly integrated mobile banking experience, rounding out our all-in-one investing, banking, and budgeting platform. Our partnership with the LendingClub Bank team energizes us about what the future holds for our customers looking to build financial security.”

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Source: https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/87629/banking-app-fintron-leverages-lendingclub-bank-services?utm_medium=rssfinextra&utm_source=finextrafeed

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Payments

PayPal expands Google Cloud relationship

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PayPal is expanding its partnership with Google Cloud, which will provide the payments giant with both infrastructure and analytics capabilities to help it process transactional data at massive scale.

PayPal, which has a hybrid cloud strategy, is moving more of its core infrastructure and workloads to Google.

One key reason for this shift is the surge in digital commerce and user traffic triggered by the global pandemic, which led to a 24% spike in PayPal’s total active customer accounts, now totalling 392 million.

Google Cloud says it enabled PayPal to add capacity to its infrastructure in just hours, a process that would have otherwise taken months to complete.

In addition, with the bulk of its online transactional data residing in its SAP S/4HANA database, PayPal was able to use SAP’s Financial Products Subledger, delivered at massive scale on Google Cloud, to quickly process transactions at high volume, as well as to analyse purchasing trends at volume with low latency.

Wes Hummel, VP, site reliability and cloud engineering, PayPal, says: “We can only develop fast, build fast, and deploy fast if we have infrastructure that’s as nimble as we are. By leveraging the power of the cloud, our teams can focus on providing the best products, capabilities and services to our customers.”

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Source: https://www.finextra.com/newsarticle/38048/paypal-expands-google-cloud-relationship?utm_medium=rssfinextra&utm_source=finextrafeed

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Blockchain

Central Bank of Bahrain and JPMorgan to work on digital currency settlement pilot

The Central Bank of Bahrain expects that its digital currency collaboration with JPMorgan and Bank ABC could extend to a CBDC.

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The government of Bahrain, the third-richest Arab country, is working with American investment bank JPMorgan Chase on a digital currency settlement pilot.

The Central Bank of Bahrain officially announced Tuesday that the bank is now collaborating with JPMorgan and the Arab Banking Corporation BSC, or Bank ABC, in a pilot scheme to introduce an instant cross-border payment solution based on digital currency technology.

Aiming to cut settlement processing time, the new digital currency pilot will involve transferring funds from and to Bahrain in U.S. dollars for payments from buyers and suppliers. The central bank emphasized that it could move forward with the project to extend the collaboration to a central bank digital currency.

“Through this pilot with JPMorgan and Bank ABC, we aspire to address the inefficiencies and pain-points which exist today in the traditional cross-border payments arena,” CBB Governor Rasheed Al-Maraj said.

Ali Moosa, JPMorgan’s vice chair of wholesale payments, noted that the new collaboration involves the company’s digital currency-focused division known as Onyx. Piloted in 2017, the product was originally referred to as Interbank Information Network and was rebranded as Liink in October 2020.

“JPMorgan Onyx has been setup with the mandate to lead the buildout of next generation clearing and settlement infrastructures and we are delighted to partner with a leading central bank and regulator like the CBB to lead the buildout of a next generation payment and settlement infrastructure,” the executive noted.

JPMorgan has been aggressively promoting its blockchain technology expertise to collaborate with global jurisdictions on cross-border payments. In late April, JPMorgan partnered with Singapore’s largest bank, DBS, and state investment company Temasek to launch a new blockchain venture focused on global payments and interbank transactions. The bank previously provided its Liink technology to an Indian government-backed bank to reduce transaction costs and improve cross-border payments.

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Source: https://cointelegraph.com/news/central-bank-of-bahrain-and-jpmorgan-to-work-on-digital-currency-settlement-pilot

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