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Industry roundup: 11 August 2020

Federal Reserve announces details of interbank settlement service to support US instant payments 

The Federal Reserve Board has announced details of the FedNow Service, a '24x7x365' interbank settlement service with clearing functionality to support instant payments in the US.

The Federal Reserve says it will take a phased approach to service implementation. The first release of the FedNow Service will provide core clearing and settlement features that will support market needs and help banks manage the transition to a 24x7x365 service. Based on ongoing stakeholder engagement, additional features and service enhancements will be introduced over time. The target launch date for the service remains 2023 or 2024, with a more specific time frame to be announced after additional work is completed.

The FedNow Service, alongside similar services provided by the private sector, is designed to modernise the US payment system and bring the benefits of instant payments broadly to communities across the country.

"The rapid expenditure of COVID emergency relief payments highlighted the critical importance of having a resilient instant payments infrastructure with nationwide reach, especially for households and small businesses with cash flow constraints," said Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard. "Since we initiated FedNow one year ago, we have been hitting our project milestones, and today I am pleased to announce the Federal Reserve Board has approved the core features and functionality based on extensive input from stakeholders."


CIH Bank automates corporate banking services with Finastra

Finastra has announced that CIH Bank, a Moroccan-based commercial bank, has gone live with Fusion Corporate Channels and Fusion Trade Innovation, to digitise its end-to-end corporate banking services. The solutions are automating the bank’s trade and supply chain finance services, providing its corporate customers with access to services online, rather than in-branch. 

The solutions are designed to reduce manual processes, helping the bank to become more efficient and agile, grow its customer base by providing a more seamless digital customer experience and ultimately, generate new revenue streams.

With Fusion Corporate Channels, CIH Bank is able to unify trade services under one portal. By integrating with its clients’ existing procurement, finance and enterprise resource planning systems, it can analyse transactional behaviour in order to derive greater value from its customers. As well as transactional services, the omnichannel solution opens the door for mobile banking, host to host connectivity, and personalised enquiries from a secured environment.

Fusion Trade Innovation, Finastra’s trade finance solution, supports the bank’s digital trade capabilities via built-in workflow features and also improves services by providing a smart user interface.


Billtrust upgrades its Business Payments Network 

Billtrust, a B2B order-to-cash solutions firm, has announced a new release Business Payments Network (BPN), BPN 3.0. Released to Billtrust customers this week, BPN 3.0 furthers its ability to digitise commercial transactions for participants by adding support for ACH and wire transactions. While traditional ACH and wire payments often settle without the remittance details suppliers need to apply and reconcile transactions, BPN is taking a new approach to ensuring every payment arrives with data. The company says that the upgrade gives network participants the flexibility to automatically transact through the modalities they prefer.

The firm accompanied the product upgrade with news that BPN has seen a 118% increase in payments volume in the first half of 2020 compared to H1 2019, surpassing expectations and indicating strong supplier adoption bolstered by new financial institution and fintech partnerships. 

Since the beginning of 2020, the number of accounts payable providers and issuers processing payments through BPN has doubled, expanding its reach to suppliers wishing to receive touchless electronic payments while programmatically enforcing their payment policies. Visa clients including Heartland Financial USA, Inc., M&T Bank and Regions Bank have begun participating in BPN in the first half of 2020. 

In addition, Commerce Bank, which consistently ranks among the top commercial card issuers, is announcing expanded participation in BPN. Having previously enabled commercial card customers to achieve greater levels of electronic spend as payers into the network, Commerce Bank now enables its merchants to accept automated payments as suppliers in BPN.

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