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Industry roundup: 29 September 2020

HighRadius and Commerce Bank to offer suite of integrated receivables and treasury management products

HighRadius, a fintech enterprise software-as-a-service (SaaS) company, has announced an expanded strategic relationship with Commerce Bank that is designed to further the financial institution’s digital transformation offering to their clients.

The organisations say that corporates are looking for banks to help them modernise their accounts receivable and treasury operations, which is what the partnership aims to assist with. The companies began working together two years ago and expanded their partnership in 2019 with electronic invoice presentment and payment (EIPP) and virtual card processing (VCP) tools. The expanded agreement includes the full suite of HighRadius’ integrated receivables and treasury management products made available to Commerce Bank’s clients.

“Our AI-driven suite of products will streamline the receivables processes to be more effective and efficient for Commerce Bank clients,” said Sayid Shabeer, chief product officer for HighRadius. “In this digital-first economy, AI is a critical component of their digital transformation.”

“The world is changing more quickly than ever and our opportunity lies in evolving alongside it," said Todd Adler, senior vice president and director of Treasury Management Services at Commerce Bank. "To this end, we bring together best-in-class products with exceptional teams dedicated to understanding and accepting our customers’ unique challenges.” 


FQX uses Sygnum Bank’s DCHF stablecoin for instant settlement of electronic promissory note

Sygnum Bank and FQX, a Swiss fintech, have announced the settlement of an electronic promissory note (eNote), leveraging Sygnum Bank’s Digital CHF (DCHF) stablecoin. Instant settlement in these transactions enables the direct flow of liquidity from investors to businesses, which should reduce counterparty and fraud risk, as well as lowering costs.

Promissory notes are a widely-used traditional legal instrument enabling companies and individuals to obtain finance based on an unconditional promise to pay, providing much needed flexibility and resilience in areas like trade and corporate finance. By moving these time-consuming and multi-party processes onto the blockchain in the form of an eNote, FQX says that transactions can be settled instantly, with the liquidity flowing directly to the businesses seeking finance.

“Transferable electronic promissory notes make liquidity available where it is needed for businesses, while also offering attractive investment opportunities for financial institutions,” said Frank Wendt, chief executive officer of FQX. “Each eNote issued via FQX is assigned an ISIN number, making it easily transferable to other investors.”

Due to distributed ledger technology’s (DLT) smart contract capabilities and fast development times, innovative financial instruments are emerging in the marketplace. FQX argues that a digital, smart form of money that enables instant settlements is needed for these instruments to maximise their efficiency and scalability. The fintech says it believes Sygnum’s DCHF - a programmable, bank-issued stablecoin - is the ideal medium to deliver these benefits.

Each eNote is recorded and stored on the Swiss Trust Chain, a banking-grade DLT-system maintained by Swisscom and the Swiss Post. The electronic signatures used to securely issue and transfer the eNotes on the FQX platform are provided by Swisscom Trust Services.


PNC survey shows SMEs displaying meaningful transformation, resilience during pandemic

The latest PNC semi-annual survey of small and mid-size business owners and executives, which concluded on 8 September, has found that eight in 10 (79%) reported that they have made adaptations to their business in response to COVID-19, including safety changes (69%) in the form of new policies and procedures (62%) or physical modifications (57%), while others have adopted work from home policies (33%).

According to the survey, half (51%) of businesses report increased use of technology since the outbreak began. A third (33%) have increased technology to improve workforce productivity. Nearly three in 10 (29%) have added or increased the use of electronic or touchless payment systems, electronic/website-enabled sales (23%) or electronic banking/cash flow management services (21%); nearly 19% increased use of fraud/identity protection tools. The drop in business activity over recent months forced many to take drastic measures through workforce reductions; nearly four in 10 businesses have cut workers since the start of the pandemic, although for 87% of those, the decrease is considered temporary or a furlough. In fact, a majority (58%) of the businesses who had temporary layoffs or furloughs have already begun re-hiring.

PNC Chief Economist Gus Faucher said the worst may be over and economic activity is on the rebound, but the "new normal" doesn't mean a return to robust job and business growth that existed early in 2020:

"After job losses of more than 22 million between February and April, by far the steepest employment downturn in history, the labor market has started to recover. The economy has added back nearly one-half of those lost jobs, but job growth will slow going forward. Unemployment will remain elevated for years to come as business owners continue to deal with the impacts of the pandemic."

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