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Industry roundup: 2 December

Virgin Money taps fintech for business current account digital proposition

Fintech Redspire and Virgin Money have announced a strategic partnership, which will support the development of the bank’s digital proposition for the new Virgin Money Business current account.

The collaboration supports the development of new digital solutions using Microsoft Cloud Business Applications capabilities. It forms part of Virgin Money’s commitment to the recent £35m award from the Banking Competition Remedies (BCR) Capability and Innovation Fund.

Virgin Money has created a ‘Working Capital Health’ proposition that it says changes its existing business current account offering into a financial wellness tracker for SMEs. The offer combines dynamic views across an SME’s working capital cycle, with a set of working capital solutions; all backed up by proactive relationship management and an ecosystem of capability partners.

Redspire is the second of the bank’s partners to be announced, and they will also work alongside its key strategic technology partner, Microsoft. The launch of Virgin Money Business will mark the arrival of the Virgin brand into the business current account market for the first time.


Cobase adds liquidity forecasting and FX exposure management modules

Cobase has announced the launch of new modules for Liquidity Forecasting and FX Exposure Management. Over the past year these new features have been developed and tested in co-creation with customers. These modules are designed to enable corporate treasuries to optimise cash positions or automatically hedge their FX risk on a continuous basis.

Budgets and expected future cashflows (accounts payable and receivable or other types of movements) can be entered into the Cobase system or uploaded directly from an ERP system. The system will then calculate and forecast cash flow. Combined with actual bank account balances, the Cobase system can also calculate and forecast account balances, all in a single currency or with multiple currencies.

If the company has cash flows in foreign currencies, the FX module helps to manage FX risk and liquidity. Open FX risks are calculated and measured against the company’s own hedging policy. If the risk is not compliant with policy the module automatically calculates the required hedges to become compliant again and prepares the RFQ’s accordingly. The RFQ’s can then be sent to the FX provider (bank or otherwise) for actual trading.

The modules are designed to give superior insight to the company’s liquidity position across time and currencies. They should simplify the FX risk management workflow from analysis to execution, support the full FX trade life cycle and reduce operational risk by removing the need to re-key financial data and automate risk calculations.


Non-bank financial institutions to have access to Singapore payments infrastructures

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has announced that eligible non-bank financial institutions (NFIs) will have direct access to the banking system’s retail payments infrastructure from February 2021. NFIs that are licensed as major payment institutions under the Payment Services Act will be allowed to connect directly to Fast and Secure Transfers (FAST) and PayNow. 

Direct connection to FAST and PayNow will enable users of NFI e-wallets to make real-time funds transfers between bank accounts and e-wallets as well as across different e-wallets. Currently, most e-wallets require the use of debit or credit cards to top-up funds, and funds transfers between e-wallets are not possible.

Businesses that partner any of the 23 FAST or 9 PayNow banks, or e-wallets that have traditionally been closed-loop ecosystems will soon be able to receive real-time payments from other users of e-wallets or mobile banking applications that will be joining FAST or PayNow. This will enable businesses to access a larger market of consumers than before for receiving e-payments instantly and seamlessly.

NFIs will be able to connect directly through a new application programming interface (API) payment gateway developed by the Direct FAST Working Group (DFWG), with guidance from the Singapore Clearing House Association (SCHA) and The Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), which govern FAST and PayNow respectively. The API payment gateway is better geared to the technology architecture of banks and NFIs, and can also be used by other banks and NFIs in future.

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