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Industry roundup: 25 September 2020

Nordea wins Surecomp Global Hackathon with bank guarantee request app

Surecomp has announced that Nordea Bank has been recognised as the 2020 Surecomp Global Hackathon winner, for creating a new workflow to initiate bank guarantee requests together with additional financing options.

The 5-strong team from Nordea developed an application that can automate the request of bank guarantees, eliminating the need for paper-based applications. Accelerating the processing of global trade transactions and therefore enabling faster delivery of bank guarantees and a more streamlined customer experience for the bank’s corporate customers, the app is designed to seamlessly integrate with Surecomp’s back-office trade finance processing solution IMEX, which the bank has been using since 2016.

The three-day virtual event which took place last week, saw dozens of teams gathered from across the globe. Among the competition finalists were also two of the world’s top ten banks and several leading fintechs, all focused on digitisation and streamlining trade finance operations for the benefit of the bank’s customers. The winning solution will now be fully developed in a real live environment for Nordea's customers.  

“As we continue our journey towards full trade finance digitisation, we hope this app will really improve the service level we and many other banks are able to deliver to our customers,” commented Patrik Zekkar, global head of Trade Finance & Working Capital Management at Nordea.  

“We know that the impact of COVID-19 has probably accelerated trade finance digitisation by at least five years, so by showcasing these apps, we are hoping to raise the profile of technical innovation, to demonstrate the level of knowledge and expertise and to drive adoption,” said Tsafrir Attar, VP of Digitization at Surecomp.


Santander UK pilots SWIFT gpi-based international payments tracker

Santander UK is piloting a real-time international payment tracker service for its customers using the SWIFT gpi service, together with SWIFT universal payment confirmations. The service will be fully available later this year. 

The itracking service is integrated into Santander’s corporate online banking service and uses the SWIFT gpi unique end-to-end tracker reference (UETR) to enable customers to track their outbound and inbound international payments in real-time anywhere in the world over the SWIFT gpi network.

Companies of all sizes sending international payments will be familiar with the traditional challenges where a supplier has contacted them to say that the payment has not yet been received or the value of the funds received is less than expected. The company would then need to contact their bank for further support to trace and check status of the payment. The international payment tracking service is designed to avoid all this, saving companies time and unnecessary hassle.

“Now more than ever, our customers need certainty that their payments have reached their supplier, so the movement of goods and commerce is not disrupted," said John Carroll, head of International and Transactional Banking at Santander UK. "With supply chains under enormous strain already and businesses grappling with the stresses of coronavirus, it is essential to ensure supplier payments are not delayed.”

The tracker lets customers to track the status, journey and timings of their international payments online and in real-time. It aims to reduce the need for customers to contact their bank for support to trace and confirm status and also to provide greater transparency of any fees deducted by correspondent and beneficiary banks. In addition, there is an option to track inbound international payments using the SWIFT gpi end to end tracking reference, which enables customers to see an incoming payment on route to their account.


Swedbank Robur presents its first ‘Paris Aligned’ funds

Swedbank Robur has now classified its first ‘Paris Aligned’ funds, the Robur Access Edge funds. The classification and method are based on the EU Sustainable Finance climate benchmark guidelines, aligning fund investments with the climate targets in the Paris agreement.  

Swedbank Robur’s Paris Aligned funds aim to create transparency for customers who want to save with sustainability and the climate in focus. The method is based on the EU Sustainable Finance climate benchmark guidelines, which put the portfolio companies’ emission targets in focus. For example, the funds’ carbon emission footprint needs to be at least 50% lower than the market in general. Companies that the fund invests in need to reduce their emissions by an average of 7% annually - the pace of phasing-out of fossil fuels set out in the Paris Agreement. The ’Paris Aligned’ funds also invest in companies working actively to reduce climate risks.

Swedbank Robur’s primary climate targets are that the company’s entire managed portfolio, which today exceeds SEK1000bn, will be in line already in 2025 with the Paris Agreement’s target to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees, and zero emissions for the entire portfolio by 2040. Robur plans to report key figures regularly for the ‘Paris Aligned’ funds.

The following funds have so far been classified as aligned with the Paris Agreement:

  • Swedbank Robur Access Edge Global.
  • Swedbank Robur Access Edge Emerging Markets.
  • Swedbank Robur Access Edge Sweden.
  • Swedbank Robur Access Edge Japan.
  • Swedbank Robur Access Edge USA.


FIS partners with The Clearing House on real-time payments 

FIS is partnering with The Clearing House to bring real-time payment processing and settlement to small-to-mid-sized banks and credit unions and their customers in the US. The technology firm's real-time payments managed service aims to provide a turnkey service for financial institutions to quickly and cost-effectively connect to the RTP network, the real-time payment system in the US provided by The Clearing House. The RTP network enables instantaneous settlement of payments and availability of funds for participating banks and their customers.

Offered to small-to-mid-sized banks and credit unions using FIS core banking systems, the managed service seamlessly connects financial institutions to the RTP network, enabling them to initiate and receive real-time payment transactions. Because the solution is hosted by FIS, the firm says that financial institutions can use the network without the need to add staff or make significant upfront capital investments.

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