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Industry roundup: 22 June

Deutsche Bank and Fiserv announce joint venture for payment acceptance in Germany

Deutsche Bank and Fiserv have announced a jointventure to create a provider of payment acceptance and banking solutions. The joint venture will serve small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the German market and will be based in Frankfurt am Main, pending regulatory approval.

The joint venture expects to serve several thousand clients from the start. Deutsche Bank, together with their Postbank and Fyrst brands, has around 800,000 SMEs who will benefit from the new solutions going forward. The joint venture will also offer services to non-Deutsche Bank-clients and is expected to employ a low triple-digit workforce.

"By combining Fiserv payment solutions with our banking products, we will be able to deliver accounts, payment solutions and banking services to our SMEs," said Stefan Hoops, head of Corporate Bank at Deutsche Bank. "Today, no other provider of such services in Germany can offer this in depth combination of acceptance solutions with banking services being a true 'one-stop-shop' for our clients. This will translate into a better client experience, lower costs and reduced complexity for clients."

 

Mastercard provides digital cash flow solutions through strategic partnerships

Mastercard has announced new support for small and medium sized business in partnership with fintech platform upSWOT and travel booking app FinalPrice.  Together the companies will provide businesses with solutions around cash flow.

Transparency around cash flow will be more valuable than ever to an SME’s business. Mastercard’s collaboration with upSWOT provides software that analyses key data and behaviours. It allows SMEs to be proactive in managing and mitigating cash flow related challenges with forecasting capabilities and by offering real-time relevant recommendations. In addition, banks can use this tool to gain further insight into clients’ finances in order to provide a personalised approach. 

Travel booking app FinalPrice offers cash back on travel expenses. The brand became the first online travel agency to come out with a subscription-based 'travel as a service'. It provides low prices on travel by aggregating offers from numerous suppliers in hotels, airlines, and car rental companies. There are no hidden fees, and through the Mastercard partnership SMEs across Europe are able to return to business travel and gain access to the best prices with exclusive cash back up to 35%.

"2020 brought a whole host of new pressures and challenges for small businesses," said Marcus O’Toole, VP Head Small Business Segment Solutions Europe at Mastercard. "Almost overnight the pandemic brought about radical change in the way consumers worked, shopped, socialised and interacted. Within a matter of weeks we accelerated five years into the future around digital adoption. Our deep understanding of serving this segment and recognition of its challenges, particularly around cashflow management, allows us to enable customers to address the full spectrum of SME needs. We focus on delivering digital solutions, such as those offered in partnership with upSWOT and FinalPrice that simplify the process for small businesses so they are not merely surviving, but thriving."

 

SEBA Bank and others complete CBDC experiment with Banque de France

SEBA Bank, together with its partners Banque Internationale à Luxembourg and LuxCSD, have announced that they have successfully completed their CBDC experiment with Banque de France.

The alliance, led by SEBA Bank, performed the delivery versus payment of a listed security with TARGET2-Securities as delivery platform in test environment and CBDC tokens issued by the Banque de France. The confidentiality of transactions was achieved through a protocol that makes use of zero-knowledge proofs in order to encrypt and obscure the values of the CBDC transactions over a public blockchain.

As a result, the participants successfully demonstrated the ability of distributed ledger technologies to communicate with the Eurosystem’s settlement platform TARGET2-Securities for the settlement of listed securities. The success of this experiment will be an important element of contribution to the Eurosystem’s global reflection on the benefits of CBDC and blockchain technologies to improve payment and settlement of transactions.

"We are delighted to have led the successful completion of this experiment with the Banque de France and to have leveraged SEBA Bank’s institutional grade digital assets platform infrastructure to support Banque de France in this important development and contribution towards the possibility of a Digital European currency," commented Matthew Alexander, head of Digital Corporate Finance at SEBA Bank.

 

Swiss government renews GRI partnership to spread sustainability reporting globally

GRI has announced the continuation of its partnership with the Swiss Confederation’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), through a new €3.8m (US$4.6m) programme to increase high-quality sustainability disclosure and accountability by organisations in Africa, Hispanic America and South East Asia.  

The key aims of the four-year Sustainability Reporting for Responsible Business (SRRB) programme are to enhance the capacity of companies for reporting; create and improve the environment for transparency and disclosure; and increase the application of corporate sustainability data by stakeholders. Its remit in the three regions will include the delivery of:

  • Training, workshops and resources for businesses, associations, investors and other stakeholders.
  • Improved access to sustainability professional development by providing scholarships for the GRI Professional Certification Program.
  • Engagement and events with policy officials and government agencies on how to integrate ESG disclosure in the public sector, including procurement practices.
  • Collaboration with markets and national regulators in support of robust sustainable finance regulations.
  • Capacity building with journalists for story telling on sustainable development issues and the role of corporate reporting.
  • Support for higher education institutions to incorporate content on ESG disclosure in business management and finance courses.

"For Switzerland, mainstreaming social and environmental considerations into private sector operations is an important factor to achieve sustainable development," said Ambassador Raymund Furrer, head of Economic Development Cooperation at SECO. "The importance of sustainability reporting is increasing, as a growing number of countries are introducing rules affecting due diligence regarding corporate activities abroad. For companies in both developed and emerging markets, this presents certain challenges, but more importantly an opportunity to become part of global value chains and attract investors. We are thus very pleased to continue our successful partnership with GRI to assist companies in our partner countries to reap the benefits of solid sustainability reporting."

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