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Industry roundup: 1 March

NatWest applies open banking to business payments

NatWest is using open banking technology to allow corporates to send payments directly to their end customers without needing their bank details. Available within its payments service Payit, the feature aims to replace the use of cheques and bank transfers when sending money to customers, allowing instant payments to be made when issuing refunds or customer service payments, as well as for specific uses such as compensation payments and emergency cash requirements.

Payit, which launched last year, originally tapped open banking to allow businesses to collect payments from customers online. 

“The need for businesses to send their customers money often occurs at the most crucial moments, and yet the typical methods can be slow, inefficient and expensive," said James Hodgson, head of Payit at NatWest. "We’re aiming to transform that experience with Payit, which now allows businesses to send payments that are credited to customer accounts in a matter of seconds, and all without the need for their bank details”


Ledgermatic to use Algorand blockchain to deliver digital asset treasury solutions 

Ledgermatic, which recently announced it is developing treasury tools to allow enterprise and financial institutions to operate with digital assets and associated payments and workflows, has chosen Algorand as its blockchain protocol partner. Ledgermatic has also received funding from Borderless Capital, a venture capital firm focused on supporting and developing the Algorand ecosystem.

Algorand will form the base protocol layer for Ledgermatic, providing their enterprise clients with on-chain and cross-chain asset movements from its permissioned network to Algorand’s public network. Algorand’s suite of Layer1 features, including native ASA assets and atomic-transfers, can enable advanced applications. In addition, Algorand is developing co-chain functionality, a mechanism that connects permissioned networks to the public MainNet network, which will be instrumental in meeting the complex requirements of enterprise use cases that are sensitive to privacy and transactional costs.

The increasing adoption of digital assets represents a permanent shift in the nature of finance. As business activity conducted in digital assets becomes mainstream, enterprise finance teams are under pressure to reshape business operations or risk getting left behind by competitors. Ledgermatic will enable enterprises and institutions to integrate digital assets and ledger-based services into their business operations and existing infrastructure, with the highest levels of security and compliance to regulatory standards.


Swedbank’s 2020 Green Bond Impact Report shows asset growth

Swedbank’s Green Asset Register increased by SEK4.386bn in 2020, and now contains assets worth more than SEK18bn. During the year, three new assets classes were added to the register, namely Sustainable management of living natural resources, Pollution Prevention and control, and Clean transportation. Furthermore, the register now also includes assets in the bank's Baltic home markets. Combined it is estimated that all assets contributed to more than 580 thousand tonnes of avoided CO2e emissions. This is mainly the result of energy savings from green and energy-efficient buildings, and the production of renewable energy from wind and solar.

Swedbank targets and supports financing in sectors that are adapting to a more sustainable society. Green bond issuances enables Swedbank to meet its customers’ growing demand and need for green loans. Promoting investments in green projects is crucial for the environment, society and long-term value creation.

The assets included in the Green Asset Register are estimated to generate 589,547 tonnes of avoided CO2e emissions, amounting to 32 tonnes per SEK1m invested. Proceeds from green bond issuances were used to finance and re-finance green buildings, solar and wind energy, clean public transport, sustainable forestry and waste management: all of which contribute to the UN Sustainable Development Goals in Agenda 2030.

The Green Bond Impact Report describes the environmental impact of invested eligible green assets on a portfolio level. The reported distribution and impact are based on the status of the Green Asset Register as of December 31, 2020.

Swedbank currently has SEK7bn of green bonds outstanding, compared to the Green Asset Register worth SEK18bn. Looking ahead, the bank says it is committed to remain an active issuer in the sustainability bond market.

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