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Industry roundup: 4 August

BNY Mellon, Citi and Visa among Volante Technologies US$35m funding 

Volante Technologies, a provider of payments and financial messaging solutions in the cloud, has announced that it has raised US$35m in growth equity financing led by Wavecrest Growth Partners with strategic participation from BNY Mellon, Citi Ventures, PostePay and Visa.

The capital raise represents the company’s first outside investment after nearly two decades of strong organic growth and profitability. Volante says it will direct the capital towards accelerating its cloud expansion globally and its reach into new geographies, market segments, and industry verticals.

BNY Mellon and Volante have been collaborating since 2017 on creating and deploying real-time payment capabilities. “We are excited to expand our strategic relationship by investing in Volante,” said Saket Sharma, chief information and digital officer for BNY Mellon Treasury services. “This reinforces our commitment to helping our clients leverage best-in-class products and services in their own digital transformations.” 

Citi's Treasury and Trade Solutions business has been working with Volante for several years and Volante currently serves as the translation layer across Citi's core payments infrastructure. "Volante's solutions are already an integral part of Citi's payment processing architecture, underpinning the outstanding payments and transaction banking platforms for which Citi is known worldwide," explained Nick Nadgauda, global head of Treasury and Trade Solutions Technology at Citi. “Our investment signals our confidence in Volante's technology and we look forward to enhancing our relationship for future engagements.” 

PostePay, an Italian Electronic Money Institution (EMI) and part of the Poste Italiane Group, is partnering with Volante to enable instant payments for SCT-INST as well as to provide a new transactional gateway to traditional interbank networks via their open banking platform.  

 

iwoca calls for partnerships with big banks to ease backlog of CBILS applications

Fintech business lender iwoca says it will be reaching out to the CEOs of the UK’s largest banks urging them to work with it to ensure small businesses are accessing finance as quickly as possible through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

The call for greater collaboration comes as iwoca announces a new fundraising round of £100m which will be used to scale its CBILS offering and fund new customers through the scheme for the first time.

The pandemic has seen banks receive huge demand from businesses for financial support. More than 7,000 CBILS facilities per month have been approved since May, similar to the volume of loan approvals for SMEs before Covid-19. However, iwoca claims that the additional operational pressures for banks in approving over 1 million Bounce Back Loans and providing consumer credit support means that thousands of small businesses are facing delays in their CBILS applications.

iwoca analysis of HM Treasury data reveals that the gap between the number of CBILS applications and approvals has grown every week since the launch of Bounce Back Loans, rising from 40,560 in mid May to 58,707. Demand for CBILS has remained consistent over this period, with an average of 3,481 new weekly applications - one every three minutes. In the last week of available data, 3,729 new applications were submitted. 

With CBILS due to close in September, demand is likely to rise over the coming weeks, especially as other government support measures such as the Job Retention Scheme wind down. Indeed, iwoca estimates that a large number of the 790,000 firms with more than £250,000 in annual revenues could yet apply for CBILS, putting a great amount of pressure on large lenders dealing with unprecedented demand for finance from small businesses who are going through the application process.

In order to address this unmet demand, iwoca is calling on the UK’s largest banks to refer those businesses who they do not have the ability to serve to the fintech. Tangibly, this means:

  • Businesses who have been waiting for more than two weeks to receive feedback on their application.
  • Businesses who have either withdrawn or have incomplete applications that haven’t been followed up by the banks’ staff.
  • Smaller firms requiring a Relationship Manager to complete their application but don’t have access to them as they’re served through the banks’ call centres.

 

European Digital Payments Industry Alliance welcomes SIA as a member 

The European Digital Payments Industry Alliance (EDPIA) has announced that SIA, a European hi-tech company in payment services and infrastructures headquartered in Milan and controlled by CDP Equity, has been welcomed to the Alliance, joining founding members Ingenico Group, Nets, Nexi and Wordline in advocating the growth of digital payments in Europe. 

"It is a very important first development of our joint major initiative launched in May 2020, demonstrating the attractiveness of our Alliance and of its ambition to unite all the independent European payment players to strongly and constructively contribute to the ongoing policy and regulatory debates and to actively promote the digital payments on our Continent,” said Gilles Grapinet, president of EDPIA.

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