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New data reveals the North West has greatest business confidence in the UK – Industry roundup: 30 January

New data reveals the North West has greatest business confidence in the UK

Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking's most recent Business Barometer, which polls 1200 businesses monthly, stated that business confidence in the North West has reportedly increased eight points during January to 48%, the most in the UK. Additionally, businesses in the North West expressed more optimism about their own financial forecasts each month, which reportedly increased two points to 52%. The Business Barometer offers early warnings of regional and national economic trends in the UK.

Diversifying into nearby markets (48%), investing in training and development (34%) and modernizing their product and service offerings (33%) are expected to become North West businesses' main objective areas for growth over the coming six months. Additionally, 34% of companies in the area anticipate growing their workforces over the upcoming year, up 1% from last month.

The net balance of businesses that are optimistic about the economy reportedly doubled from the measurement in December to 16%, while business confidence rose by five points to 22%. Additionally, 30% of UK businesses are reportedly seeking ways to grow by investing in employee training and development, with 17% of businesses planning to add new positions over the upcoming twelve months.

The manufacturing and service sectors both saw an improvement in confidence for the second consecutive month, with manufacturing increasing to 28% and services increasing to 25%. However, construction-related businesses dropped two points to 27%, while retail confidence dropped for the second consecutive month to 7%, the slowest pace level since February 2021, said reports.

Brankas joins forces with Element to integrate advanced fraud detection into its open finance solutions

Brankas, a global provider of open finance technology based in Southeast Asia, has partnered with Element Inc., a privacy-led AI specialist in digital identity services, to enhance its security platform in order to identify potential fraudulent transactions.

Online fraud has reportedly become a major enterprise risk for companies operating in Southeast Asia. Brankas’ comprehensive open finance API platform aims to transform the development of MSMEs in the Asia-Pacific region, grant financial access to the underserved, and safeguard customer information, confidentiality and financing.

Element plans to serve as the identity verification layer for Brankas' open finance products such as Brankas Direct or Statement. Direct is currently available in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines. Additionally, businesses will reportedly be able to replace manual bank transfers as a checkout option, enable direct e-wallet, and accelerate loan repayments to multiple banks through a single transaction, enabling companies to improve day-to-day transactions, reduce reconciliation processes, and focus on customer-centric activities. Furthermore, a user can reportedly authenticate themselves when paying with Brankas Direct by using Element's detection product, protecting transactions through the extra security layer.

Brankas is reportedly seeking ways to leverage Element's robust eKYC capabilities to further enhance its composable cloud-native core banking system, the Brankas Open Core. This would enable customers using the Brankas core banking solution to open new bank accounts or Loan Management Solutions through a streamlined onboarding process.

Wise, a UK-based fintech, reaches over 60 global partnerships, exceeding 10 million clients, entering 4 new markets

Wise, a London-based multinational financial technology company that develops methods for transferring money internationally, has reportedly launched fifteen new partnerships in 2022, beginning 2023 with sixty partners worldwide. These collaborations are reportedly initiated through the Wise Platform, enabling businesses and banks to integrate Wise's capabilities into their current platforms. Reports indicate that nearly ten million new clients received access to Wise through its platform in 2022.

The Wise platform reportedly debuted in four new markets last year: Israel, through a partnership with Max, a credit card company; Turkey, through Wise’s partnership with Birlesik Odeme and Fibabanka; United Arab Emirates, through Wio, a neobank; and Hong Kong, through ZA Bank, a virtual bank. Additionally, the Wise platform expanded its presence in North America and Asia, focusing especially on the business services and investment sectors. In addition, Wise introduced International Receive, which reportedly makes it simpler for banks to effectively and dependably receive global payments via the SWIFT network.

Worldline introduces a digital payments platform for SMBs in India

Worldline, a global payments provider, has launched a Buland Bharat digital payments suite developed for small-medium sized businesses (SMBs) across India. The Buland Bharat digital payments platform is aimed at supporting the government of India's Digital India initiative to expand the availability of a safe and streamlined digital payment system for SMBs across the nation.

The Buland Bharat digital payments suite claims to facilitate every aspect of the merchant's digital payment acceptance needs, whether they are in-person, online or omnichannel payments. The payment platform reportedly includes: POS terminals, SoftPOS, Voice Alert Box and QR codes for accepting in-store payments; Next Gen Payment Gateway, subscription payments, payment links and integration kits for popular plugins for online payment acceptance (Shopify, Magento, WooCommerce); omnichannel payment acceptance to interact with customers across multiple touchpoints (in-store and online) through Worldline’s single convergence platform; and supply chain finance solution for cash flow management. Sheik Mohideen, Senior Vice President, SMB and Partnership, Worldline India, commented that the new suite will reportedly help India’s SMBs accept digital payments via a single, cost-effective platform, SoftPOS.

Trustly finalized the acquisition of Ecospend, aiming to become the UK’s top open banking payments platform

Trustly, a global platform for digital account-to-account (A2A) payments, has acquired Ecospend, a UK-based provider of open banking services. The companies aim to become the top open banking payments provider in the UK, with connectivity to more than 80 banks, a customer base of about 50 million, and a payments volume of over £7.5 billion in the UK.

With complete bank connectivity throughout the UK as well as UK Payment Initiation Services and Data Services, such as cost-effective identity verification options, Ecospend is a strategic match for Trustly's global reach and collection abilities. The combined company will reportedly offer a robust product suite in the UK, accelerating its market expansion. James Hickman, Chief Commercial Officer, Ecospend, commented that the UK is reportedly the largest market for digital payments in Europe, with businesses and consumers desiring secure and fast open banking capabilities.

Worldline and ING extend their partnership to offer solutions across more nations

Worldline, a global payments provider, has announced the continuation of its collaboration with ING Bank D.V., a Dutch international bank, through a multi-year contract. The partnership will reportedly enable Worldline to issue and process debit and credit card transactions for ING across a number of nations. In addition, Worldline plans to handle the outsourcing of ING's issuing processing operations, enabling ING to concentrate on its core competencies while leveraging Worldline’s technology and expertise to help the bank’s growth.

By contracting out issuing services, banks and other financial institutions can reportedly concentrate more on other aspects of their businesses that offer value for their clients while reducing operational costs and maximizing resources. With Worldline’s technology, ING aims to lower operating expenses while offering advanced capabilities, such as a wider variety of issuance solutions that reportedly abide by all local and international regulations.

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