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Bancorp obtains approval to acquire MUFG Union Bank – Industry roundup: 17 October

U.S. Bancorp obtains US regulatory approval to acquire MUFG Union Bank

U.S. Bancorp, parent company of U.S. Bank, has reportedly obtained regulatory approvals from the US Federal Reserve, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) to complete the US $8 billion acquisition of MUFG Union Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group's core regional banking franchise. The transaction is expected to close by the end of 2022, subject to the agreement’s closing conditions between the banks as well as regulatory approval from Japan’s officials.

In addition to significant loans and deposits, U.S. Bank expects to gain approximately 190,000 small business customers and over one million consumer customers on the West Coast as a result of the acquisition. The merger will reportedly boost their deposit position to the fifth position in California. As part of the MUFG Union Bank acquisition, U.S. Bank announced a five-year, $100 billion community benefits plan in May 2022 to assist low- and moderate-income communities.

MUFG Union Bank customers can expect to receive information about the conversion of their accounts from U.S. Bancorp. In the meantime, reports say that customers will continue to be supported by their respective branches, websites and mobile apps up until conversion.

BankiFi unveils the release of a new Digital Banking 3.0 whitepaper on embedded banking

Embedded banking continues to show significant growth potential amidst increasing market uncertainty in the fintech sector, while venture capital firms continue to invest large sums of capital into these companies, as stated by reports.

At Sibos 2022, BankiFi officially launched a whitepaper called Embedded banking but not as you know it, which reportedly provides a comprehensive, simple background of digitisation in the banking industry, ranging from the 1990’s adoptions to modern-day solutions. Financial institutions have recently lagged behind tech-first platforms in terms of offering customers easy access to the digital banking services desired despite the industry's advances in digitisation, according to BankiFi's whitepaper.

The report argues that legacy banking institutions are especially well-suited to satisfying the financial services needs of small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs), as they already have all of the tools in place. Mark Hartley, Founder and CEO of BankiFi, commented on the new whitepaper's release: "The road to embedded banking has been long and winding, but now that it's here, there's no reason why banks should ignore it." The whitepaper provides details on technological advancements as well as emphasizing the most recent innovation in the field of digital banking.

The paper further explains how banking and SMBs are continuously evolving, creating a gap in terms of how digital banking services are distributed. Reports indicate that if properly managed, a plethora of SMB banking opportunities will reopen for legacy banks, including significant potential for customer acquisition.

BankiFi's technology platform is intended to provide banking institutions with an interconnected collection of services predicated on the processes that their customers use to run their businesses, such as accounting, invoicing and payments.

Central bank of Indonesia to host G20 forum to rally against the US dollar

The central bank of Indonesia has reportedly expressed concern about the use of the US dollar in export-import transactions, calling for a shift to local currencies in cross-border payments to reduce reliance on the greenback.

According to Nugroho Joko Prastowo, Head of Solo Representative Office, Bank Indonesia, the majority of Indonesia's international trade transactions are conducted in foreign currencies, primarily the US dollar. Officials from Indonesia stated that transactions in foreign currencies incur conversion costs, which are doubled when transacted in US dollars, implying that a system of bilateral payments in local currency could potentially solve the problem.

Four countries (China, Japan, Thailand and Malaysia) have reportedly agreed to use a Local Currency Settlement (LCS) framework with Indonesia to date. Although not yet fully implemented, Singapore and the Philippines are reportedly in process, and discussions are currently being held with Saudi Arabia about implementing LCS.

On 15-16 November, Indonesia is expected to host the G20 international forum in Bali, which will include representatives from nineteen nations and the European Union. Currently, Indonesia is set to hold the presidency of the group of major economies.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore grants Blockchain.com preliminary approval

Blockchain.com, a crypto wallet and digital asset trading provider, has received “in-principle” approval from the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) for the Major Payment Institution License offering Digital Payment Token services. With the provisional approval, Blockchain.com Singapore will continue to serve institutional and high net worth investors, project teams, and operators in the cryptocurrency environment.

Reports indicate that Singapore is considered Southeast Asia's most advanced economy, and Blockchain.com recognizes the country as an appealing city-state in which to invest in the development of institutional clients. Peter Smith, CEO and Co-Founder, Blockchain.com, applauds MAS for its transparent regulatory process that reportedly prioritizes oversight of the cryptocurrency industry while also fostering innovation. With this approval, Blockchain.com will expand its Singapore headquarters and institutional clientele.

As previously reported, Dubai is also looking to further foster crypto and blockchain innovation, as indicated through Blockchain.com’s memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Dubai Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA).

UK Finance report reinforces push for cross-sector fraud prevention

UK Finance has released its latest fraud report for the first half of 2022, reinforcing requests for cross-sector action to combat cyber criminals. The report indicated that criminals stole over £609.8 million in H1 2022 through authorised and unauthorised fraud, a 13% decrease from H1 2021. Unauthorised fraud losses totalled £360.8 million, with authorised push payment (APP) fraud losses totalling £249.1 million.

The report demonstrates how some fraud types have increased as criminals continue to improve their techniques, despite the fact that overall fraud losses have decreased since the pandemic's end. The banking and finance sector have taken major action to prevent criminals from seizing an additional £583.9 million in unauthorised fraud. Additionally, unauthorised payment card fraud victims are legally protected from financial loss. According to industry research, customers are reportedly reimbursed in excess of 98% of all cases that are confirmed.

UK Finance and its members use this report to draw more cross-sector action to combat the issue at its root because a large portion of fraud is started by fraudulent activity occurring through online and technological platforms.

Katy Worobec, Managing Director of Economic Crime, UK Finance, commented that the level of fraud in the UK must be recognized as a national security threat.

Worobec added that the industry is constantly focused on addressing the threat because malicious actors continue to devise new ways to exploit potential targets.

Crime networks, in contrast, circumvent the stringent security measures that have been implemented by banks and direct their attention to the customer, typically outside the boundaries of the banking system, reports added.

Colum Lyons, CEO and founder, ID-Pal, stated that anti-fraud technology is becoming more widely used across more industries as a result of solutions that make fraud prevention simple enough that companies of any size can benefit from them. Furthermore, attempts to identify criminals before they can pose a risk as well as keeping a reliable digital identification and verification process in place to prevent fraud at its source are essential measures.d

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