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UK’s Federation of Small Businesses Says Next Budget Must be “Most Pro-Business Ever” to Combat Negative Effects of First Recession in 11 Years

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The next or upcoming UK Budget will have to be the “most pro-business ever” so that it can counter the negative impact of the recession, according to the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB), a member-led, non-profit and non-party organization that represents SMBs.

The United Kingdom is now in a recession due to the COVID-19 outbreak, which has slowed down the economies of almost every country across the globe. This is notably the first time that the UK has experienced a recession in 11 years. The nation’s economy contracted by 20.4% between Q1 and Q2 2020.

Mike Cherry, the national chairman of the UK’s small business lobby group, noted that any planned policy changes must focus on creating more jobs. Proposed policies should also aim to support growth while boosting overall productivity, Cherry recommended.

Cherry said that the UK needs the “most pro-business, pro-self-employed” Budget ever. It should focus on reducing the costs of “innovating and bringing great goods and services to market and eschews tax rises,” Cherry noted.

He added that there have been some “welcome measures to aid business survival and job retention.” However, he suggested that the UK government should now introduce policies or measures to support local businesses and also try to create more job opportunities.

Cherry recommends reducing employer national insurance contributions, more investments focused on infrastructure development, and taking most smaller companies out of the business rates system.

He also thinks it would help if businesses did not have to return their bounce back loans until they’ve become profitable. He revealed that over a million companies have received bounce back loans so that they can maintain operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cherry believes firms will feel more comfortable if they get a guarantee that they won’t have to start paying back loans until they’re making profits. He thinks that if they are not burdened right now with paying back loans, then they will be more focused on expanding their operations, instead of trying to hoard cash during these uncertain times.

Emergency COVID-19 funding or financial relief for companies in the UK will reportedly go back to the Treasury at the end of this month if it’s not claimed.

About four months after £12 billion in Coronavirus related funding was approved to help UK businesses, £1.5 billion still remains unclaimed.

The FSB recently cautioned that the capital was just sitting in councils’ bank accounts. The UK government confirmed that it’s currently working cooperatively with councils in order to reach out to qualified businesses.

Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2020/08/165249-uks-federation-of-small-businesses-says-next-budget-must-be-most-pro-business-ever-to-combat-negative-effects-of-first-recession-in-11-years/

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Spanish Financial Giant BBVA’s US Division Recognized as one of the Best Corporate Digital Banks in North America

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The US division of the BBVA (NYSE:BBVA), a Spanish multinational financial services company based in Madrid and Bilbao, Spain with nearly €700 billion in assets, was recently recognized as one of the world’s best corporate and institutional digital banks in North America by Global Finance.

As confirmed by the bank’s management, the BBVA was named the winner in the subcategories of “Best Mobile Adaptive Site” and “Best Mobile Banking App.” A blog posted by the BBVA states that the bank has “been honored by Global Finance twice prior, named as the Top Treasury and Cash Management Provider in the Southwest for 2019 and 2020.”

Gabriel Palafox, BBVA’s USA Director of Multichannel Development, said that they’ve seen throughout the COVID-19 crisis that their customers depend on their all-digital platforms to manage their finances. Palafox added that useful features like the BBVA Real Time Positive Pay and Real Time ARP offer their customers the option to manage ACH and check transactions “in real time, so they can prevent fraud before it occurs.”

As explained by the BBVA team, winning banking institutions were chosen by Global Finance based “on strength of strategy for attracting and servicing digital customers, success in getting clients to use digital offerings and the growth of digital customers.” Banks were also assessed based on the range of products they offer, “evidence of tangible benefits gained from digital initiatives”, and their overall web/mobile site design and user experience.

Gabriel Paladfox, Director of Multichannel Development at BBVA Compass, stated:

“Receiving this recognition from Global Finance tells us that we’re on the right path, that the work we’ve put into these resources as part of our digital transformation effort are making a difference…. data and technology are the main points of one of the key pillars in our new 5-year strategic plan. We will continue to build on our overall strength in digital solutions to give our customers the flexibility and mobility they need in an increasingly digital business environment.”

TJ Shavers, VP, Application Manager at BBVA Compass, remarked:

“We compete with some very strong financial institutions around the world, and I’m so proud that the hard work of the entire team and our commitment to providing our customers with the best digital experience has been recognized like this.”

As covered recently, the BBVA continues to work on quantum computing data projects. It’s also collaborating with German Fintech Rubean to trial a contactless payments solution.

Javier Rodriguez Soler, the Country Manager / CEO at the BBVA USA, confirmed that in early August 2020, the BBVA USA revealed it would work with Google (NASDAQ:GOOG) on a digital bank account.

The new all-digital accounts will be offered through Google Pay and are expected to be available in 2021.

Soler, a Columbia Business School MBA graduate, claims:

“Collaborations with companies like Google represent the future of banking. Consumers end up the true winners when finance and big tech work together for their benefit.”

The BBVA team had pointed out that it seems that tech and finance are beginning to realize what the bank has “seen coming for years: By collaborating rather than competing, everybody wins.” Soler had argued that there are “multiple winners in a tech and bank link up, from consumers to banks and tech.”

He explained:

“[Consumers benefit from] the increased convenience that comes with a single digital platform that allows customers to access their chosen providers with a consistent user experience.”

Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2020/09/166972-spanish-financial-giant-bbvas-us-division-recognized-as-one-of-the-best-corporate-digital-banks-in-north-america/

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India-Based Insurtech ACKO Secures $60 Million Through Latest Funding Round Led By Munich Re Ventures

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ACKO, a India-based insurtech startup, announced this week it secured $60 million through its latest funding round, which was led by Munich Re Ventures.

Founded in 2016, ACKO claims it is India’s first and fastest-growing InsurTech company which makes buying and using insurance effortlessly.

In a short span since its inception, Acko has partnered with major tech companies like Amazon, OYO and Ola, and is renowned for its innovative insurance products.”

Speaking about the investment round, Varun Dua, Founder and CEO, ACKO, reportedly stated:

“Munich Re has been a strategic partner to ACKO since inception, and we are really excited to bring them on board as our investor. As one of the largest reinsurance companies globally, their investment shows confidence in our data and technology-driven business model.”

ACKO is also backed by Amazon, Accel, Catamaran Ventures, SAIF Partners, Swiss Re Transamerica Ventures, along with seasoned investors, including Ashish Dhawan, Kris Gopalakrishnan, Hemendra Kothari, Atul Nishar, Rajeev Gupta, Venk Krishnan, and Subba Rao. Last year, ACKO raised $36 million during its previous investment round, led by Ascent Capital.

The investment round’s funding will be used to continue the development of ACKO’s platform.

Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2020/09/166969-india-based-insurtech-acko-secures-60-million-through-latest-funding-round-led-by-munich-re-ventures/

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Google Temporarily Removes Paytm Mobile App from Play Store Due to Supposedly Being in Violation For Gambling

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Mobile wallet service provider Paytm announced on Friday its Android mobile app was temporarily removed from the Google Play Store. The company reassured its uses that their account balances are 100% safe and its services are fully functional.

Paytm reported that it recently launched “Paytm Cricket League” on its consumer app for users to engage their interest in the sport while getting cashback.

The game allows users to get player stickers after each transaction, collect them and receive Paytm Cashback.”

Unfortunately, Paytm received communication from Google that the internet giant suspended the Paytm app because it believed the game was a violation of its Play Store policies in regards to gambling. This meant that the Paytm Android App was unlisted from the Google Play Store and temporarily unavailable to users for new downloads or updates.

“While it is clear that all activities on Paytm are completely lawful, we have temporarily removed the cashback component in an effort to meet the Play Store policy requirements. We continue to work with Google to restore the app. We assure all our users that their balances and linked accounts are 100% safe. Our services are fully functional on all existing apps and you can continue enjoying Paytm like before.”

Luckily, Paytm updated users a few hours later that its mobile app functions were restored.

Founded in 2010, Paytm claims to be India’s largest payments company that offers multi-source and multi-destination payment solutions. The platform offers comprehensive payment solutions to more than eight million merchants and allows consumers to make payments from any bank account to any bank account at 0% fee.

Source: https://www.crowdfundinsider.com/2020/09/166968-google-temporarily-removes-paytm-mobile-app-from-play-store-due-to-supposedly-being-in-violation-for-gambling/

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