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Industry roundup: 17 May

Central Bank of Bahrain, Bank ABC and J.P. Morgan announce digital currency settlement collaboration

The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) has announced that it is collaborating with J.P. Morgan and Bank ABC on a pilot scheme to introduce an instantaneous cross-border payment solution leveraging state of the art technology and digital currency.

Bank ABC along with J.P. Morgan will pilot the transferring of funds from and to the Kingdom of Bahrain in US dollars for payments from buyers to suppliers. This should lead to suppliers being paid faster and buyers originating payments in shorter time periods without the need for holding funds in advance. CBB will act as a close partner in the pilot between Bank ABC and J.P. Morgan and going forward would look to extend the collaboration to central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).

"Through this pilot with J.P. Morgan and Bank ABC, we aspire to address the inefficiencies and pain-points which exist today in the traditional cross-border payments arena," commented H.E. Rasheed Al-Maraj, governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain.

"J.P. Morgan 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 and an innovation-focused partner like Bank ABC to lead the buildout of a next generation payment and settlement infrastructure," said Ali Moosa, vice chairman of Wholesale Payments at J.P Morgan.


Achilles partners with Orpheus on supply chain cyber risk management 

Achilles Information, a supply chain risk and performance management company, has announced that it is to partner with Orpheus, a UK government accredited cyber threat intelligence firm.

In partnership with Orpheus, Achilles will provide cyber risk ratings on suppliers and share these ratings with buyer and supplier members of Achilles networks. Suppliers can reduce their cyber risk by subscribing to Orpheus’ monthly cyber risk rating reports and actioning the highlighted attack surface issues on their network, and Achilles customers will receive preferential rates on subscriptions. Buyers will also have the option to get a tailored supply chain cyber risk assessment report on their chosen supply chain, giving them insights into the specific threats and risks they could be exposed to.

Cyber risk is increasing significantly, with adversaries looking to exploit poor third party cyber security as a means of attacking more protected targets.  In addition, as organisations continue to have employees working remotely, the number of points of weakness through which a cyber-attack could be launched, increases.

"Recent examples of sophisticated cyber-attacks demonstrate that the cyber security of even the biggest buyer is only as strong as their weakest supplier in their supply chain," said Katie Tamblin, chief product officer at Achilles. "We know that this is a complex, constantly changing landscape that our customers need real-time, accurate and robust advice on, and so we’ve partnered with Orpheus, the only provider of cyber risk ratings with UK government accreditation."

"Cyber risk ratings are becoming an integral way for companies to manage the risk associated with third-parties," added Oliver Church, CEO of Orpheus. "Our partnership with Achilles provides their customers with increased oversight of the cyber risk they face from their supply chain. Our cyber risk ratings focus on the vulnerability and the threat level companies face, backed up with award-winning machine learning."


PNC receives regulatory approval for acquisition of BBVA USA

The PNC Financial Services Group has announced receipt of regulatory approval from the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to complete the previously announced acquisition of BBVA USA Bancshares, including its US banking subsidiary, BBVA USA. The regulatory approval process also included approvals from the Banking Departments of the States of Alabama and Texas. No further regulatory approvals are required to complete the acquisition and merger of PNC Bank and BBVA USA.

The acquisition is anticipated to close 1 June 2021, pending satisfaction of customary closing conditions. Upon closing, PNC will be the fifth largest US commercial bank with over US$560bn in assets and a presence in 29 of the 30 largest markets in the US.

After closing, PNC says it will provide BBVA USA customers comprehensive information relating to the anticipated conversion of their accounts in October 2021. Until conversion, customers will continue be served through their respective BBVA USA and PNC branches, website and mobile apps.

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