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Industry roundup: 7 July

People's United Bank partners with treasury management system vendors 

People's United Bank, a subsidiary of People's United Financial, has expanded its treasury management payment offering, partnering with FIS and MineralTree to bring to market two accounts payable (AP) automation solutions that will replace traditionally paper-based processes with digital capabilities for commercial banking clients. These additions are part of People's United's strategy to augment the client experience through the continued expansion of personalised technology across business lines.

Through FIS's Integrated Payables solution, clients can access a cloud-based payments platform that accepts payment files from an existing enterprise resource planning (ERP) system and executes AP payments through designated bank accounts, including virtual card, ACH, wire or cheque. 

MineralTree's Invoice-to-Pay solution will integrate with clients' existing ERP while delivering the ability to digitise invoices and coordinate all approvals electronically from invoice capture and approval, to payment authorisation and execution, all with enhanced record keeping and audit trails.


COVID-19 cash confusion among business savers

Business owners are being urged to be “proactive and do research” when it comes to looking for best rates on savings accounts amid the pandemic. The call comes as Redwood Bank research has found that only 35% of small business owners say they know the rate of interest they are currently receiving on their business savings accounts. The survey, carried out by the Hertfordshire challenger bank, has shown the current economic environment has left many business owners unsure of the best approach to take when it comes to looking after their money.

In the past few weeks, 8% of business owners surveyed have moved their cash savings to try to secure a better rate of interest. This comes as interest rates on savings accounts have been falling since the Bank of England cut its base rate to 0.1% in March this year. In addition, just over one in 10 (11%) of business owners say they plan to move all their savings in the future, and 13% intend to move some of them.

Overall, only 37% of those interviewed say they have not moved their savings and have no plans to do so. When asked why, 63% said it was because all rates on savings accounts were so low it was not worth doing. Furthermore, 10% admitted that if they moved their savings accounts from their current provider it would affect the terms and conditions of their current account. Some 6% said they did not know how to find a better savings account.


European Commission invests €1bn in clean technology projects  

The European Commission has launched the first call for proposals under the Innovation Fund, one of the world's largest programmes for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies, financed by revenues from the auction of emission allowances from the EU's Emissions Trading System. The Innovation Fund will finance breakthrough technologies for renewable energy, energy-intensive industries, energy storage, and carbon capture, use and storage. It will provide a boost to the green recovery by creating local future-proof jobs, paving the way to climate neutrality and reinforcing European technological leadership on a global scale.

For the period 2020-2030, the Innovation Fund will allocate around €10bn from the auctioning of allowances under the EU Emissions Trading System, in addition to undisbursed revenues from the Innovation Fund's predecessor, the NER 300 programme.

The first call will provide grant funding of €1bn to large-scale projects for clean technologies to help them overcome the risks linked to commercialisation and large-scale demonstration. This support will help new technologies to reach the market. For promising projects which are not yet ready for market, a separate budget of €8m is set aside for project development assistance.

The call is open for projects in eligible sectors from all EU Member States, Iceland and Norway. The funds can be used in cooperation with other public funding initiatives, such as State aid or other EU funding programmes. Projects will be evaluated according to their potential to avoid greenhouse gas emission, innovation potential, financial and technical maturity, and potential for scaling up and cost efficiency. The deadline for submission of applications is 29 October 2020. Projects can apply via the EU Funding and Tenders portal where more details on the overall procedure are available.

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