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Industry roundup: 27 July 2020

Citi launches supplier finance mobile app in Latin America

Citi has launched a mobile app in Latin America to facilitate suppliers enrolled in Citi Supplier Finance domestic programmes access to working capital. The digital tool provides suppliers 24/7 visibility of receivables available for discount, payment status and transactions history.

The Citi Supplier Finance mobile app initially launched this month for both iOS (12+) and Android (7+) smartphones in Brazil, El Salvador, Honduras, Paraguay, and Peru. Citi plans to offer this app in other countries in the region in the near future. Currently, Citi Supplier Finance programmes serve hundreds of corporate clients and more than 18,000 suppliers across Latin America.

Citi says it is driving the digitisation of transaction banking in Latin America and its digital solutions have helped clients to overcome financial challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This mobile app comes as an additional component of the digital offering, joining other solutions such as the electronic self-service tools to onboard suppliers. 


Cobalt secures investment from Standard Chartered

The foreign exchange (FX) post-trade infrastructure provider Cobalt has announced the expansion of its bank investors with Standard Chartered as its latest backer. Having signed as a client on Cobalt’s platform in February, Standard Chartered now joins Citi as an investor in Cobalt’s expanding network.

By creating a single version of a trade and checking credit in real-time, Cobalt says it is able to cut operational costs and reduce credit, settlement and operational risk. Credit is currently over-allocated in the market and represents significant systemic risk and the Cobalt solution allows for dynamic credit allocation across clients and counterparties to allow full compliance with the FX Global Code.

Bringing new technology into post-trade, Cobalt delivers a platform that enables full automation of the trade lifecycle, without the need for additional downstream reconciliation. Cobalt’s technology has multiple lenses and is able to service interbank, prime, buy-side and bank-to-client relationships. 


Ant Group launches technology brand for blockchain-based solutions

Ant Group, a provider of financial services technology, and the parent company of China’s largest mobile payments business Alipay, has officially launched AntChain, a technology brand for the company’s blockchain-based solutions that also aggregates other digital technologies including AI, Internet of Things (IoT) and secure computation.

Since 2015, Ant Group has been investing significantly in the research and development of blockchain technologies to strengthen transparency and build trust in industries that traditionally involve large numbers of participants and complex processes. Ant Group now has the largest productivity blockchain platform in China, with the ability to process and support one billion user accounts and one billion transactions every day. Currently, over 100 million digital assets are uploaded onto AntChain on average every day.

Ant Group has also unveiled AntChain Station, a workstation that reduces the deployment time of the company’s blockchain-based solutions by as much as 90%. This enables enterprise clients to set up AntChain within an hour, which is significantly lower than the previous average set-up time of 10 hours. AntChain Station, which is approximately the size of a laptop, is designed to accelerate the deployment of AntChain’s applications, with hardware encryption acceleration for privacy-preserving computation and enhanced security algorithms. With AntChain Station, enterprise clients can rapidly deploy and use blockchain technologies.


GEP launches AI-driven AP automation platform

GEP, a provider of procurement and supply chain solutions, has announced the launch of its accounts payable (AP) automation platform that is designed to address the market's need for a cloud-native solution that leverages artificial intelligence and machine learning to improve and speed up AP operations. GEP SMART AP Automation enables multinational companies to deliver a superior user experience, reduce fraud and compliance risk, drive efficiencies in invoice management, and lower the processing cost per invoice.

By making the AP functionality of GEP SMART - the end-to-end cloud procurement software platform - available as a stand-alone platform, GEP says it is providing a proven solution for companies with a pressing need to quickly and easily upgrade their AP operations, as the first stage in their digital transformation. GEP's AP Automation integrates with a variety of enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems, to accelerate companies' digital transformation.  

GEP's stand-alone AP Automation solution, built in the Microsoft Azure cloud, enables multinational corporates to:

  • Scale operations with artificial intelligence/machine learning that automates invoice processing and reconciliation, global tax and regulatory compliance, and bolsters fraud controls.
  • Reduce costs from the back office by lowering total cost of AP operations with faster invoice processing.
  • Drive user adoption and improve supplier management with easy-to-use interfaces, dashboards and customisable workflows.
  • Integrate quickly and seamlessly into preexisting ERP, financial and third-party platforms.
  • Continue their long-term digital transformation program by upgrading their AP automation solution cost effectively and lower the total cost of ownership.

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