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Industry roundup: 25 August

U.S. Bank and Mastercard launch expense card for the fleet industry

U.S. Bank has announced that it has partnered with Mastercard to offer the U.S. Bank Voyager Mastercard, which can be used for fleet-related expenses anywhere Voyager or Mastercard are accepted.

U.S. Bank currently offers the U.S. Bank Voyager Fleet Card, which can be used to pay for fuel, maintenance and other expenses at more than 320,000 locations across the US using the proprietary Voyager Network. By partnering with Mastercard, the new card enables clients to pay for fleet-related expenses at existing Voyager merchant locations and any merchant who accepts Mastercard. Drivers can use one card to pay for a variety of other fleet-related purchases in addition to fuel and maintenance.

The payment solution allows fleets to tailor spend controls for individual drivers and vehicles while retaining full visibility and oversight across the expanded purchase categories with enhanced travel benefits. From standard purchases to unexpected situations such as inclement weather or emergency repairs, fleets have increased flexibility to manage all fleet-related expenses with ease.

The card also provides Mastercard services including MasterRental Insurance, Purchase Assurance, Extended Warranty and travel assistance through MasterAssist Services, giving managers and drivers added benefits and peace of mind that they’re covered on the road and beyond.


Australia sees first sustainability-linked loan with Reconciliation Action Plan target

NSW Land Registry Services (LRS) and Commonwealth Bank (CBA) have signed the first sustainability-linked loan in Australia to include the development of a Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) as a sustainability performance target. The five-year, A$300m loan charts a clear path for NSW LRS to advance ambitious goals for emissions reduction, employee diversity at senior management levels, and advancing Indigenous engagement. In a first for Australia, one of the sustainability performance targets for the loan is the development and implementation of a RAP. 

CBA acted as mandated lead arranger, lender and joint sustainability coordinator on the transaction, which is part of a broader A$1.9bn refinancing for NSW LRS. Part of CBA’s role was to help NSW LRS develop a sustainability framework that aligns its strategic and operating objectives with its environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments.

Adam Bennett, CEO of NSW Land Registry Services (NSW LRS), said developing the sustainability framework for this transaction gave the company an opportunity to reflect on the environmental and social touchpoints of its operations: "As a trusted custodian of land title information for Australia’s most populous state, we saw an opportunity to support our nation’s reconciliation with practical actions. The development, implementation and evolution of a RAP will help us evolve our business while tying our sustainability and community goals to our financing costs reflects the strength of our commitment," Bennett said. 

Reconciliation Australia’s Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP) programme contributes to advancing reconciliation by supporting organisations to develop respectful relationships and create meaningful opportunities with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples through commitments to ongoing, measurable actions. There are four types of RAP - Reflect, Innovate, Stretch and Elevate – with each phase further propelling an organisation’s strategy and progress toward reconciliation.


Anna Money and Currencycloud look to enhance the SME international banking experience

Anna Money, a business account and tax app, has announced it is working with Currencycloud to enhance its international banking solution for small businesses. 

A common issue with online banking is that customers often have to leave one app and go to another to facilitate an international payment. The Currencycloud solution means Anna Money is able to offer customers international banking connected to their account without extra layers getting in the way. The multi-currency account also offers customers the ability to pay and receive in GBP, USD and EUR with the Currencycloud Spark integration. The solutions offered through the partnership are available to Anna Money customers immediately.

"Anna’s customers wanted the ability to receive and send international currencies and have an IBAN number," said Alexander Kokovin, product owner at Anna Money. "Adding these capabilities is all part of our desire to support the growth of entrepreneurs and small businesses to enable global trade."


UKEF backs £430m green transition loan for Wood

The UK's first government-backed green transition loan has been awarded to engineering and consultancy firm Wood, to seize new clean growth export opportunities. With less than three months before the UN climate change conference, COP26 in Glasgow, the UK continues to align its free trade agenda behind green exports to speed up the country’s transition away from fossil fuels to low-carbon energy sources, which is expected to deliver up to £170bn of export sales in goods and services for the UK by 2030.

This £430m commercial loan will be supported by an 80% UKEF Transition Export Development Guarantee (Transition EDG) and will give Wood the financial resources to enhance its clean growth plans by:

  • Accelerating the speed at which Wood can organically grow its business by investing in future low carbon growth areas linked to the energy transition in the UK and abroad.
  • Providing critical working capital for deployment in clean growth projects around the world.
  • Providing additional funds for Wood’s research and development in clean growth sectors.

Under the agreement, Wood will commit to increasing its clean growth portfolio and significantly reducing its greenhouse gas emissions over the five-year tenure of the facility.

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