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US banks reveal US $1.2 billion in ransomware payments in 2021 – Industry roundup: 4 November

JPMorgan Chase inducts DeepSee.ai into its Hall of Innovation for improving efficiencies

JPMorgan Chase Hall of Innovation has officially inducted DeepSee.ai, the pioneer and industry-leading provider of Knowledge Process Automation (KPA). The Hall of Innovation award is reportedly given by the bank to select emerging technology companies for their innovation, business value and disruptive nature.

Tom Damico, Global Head of Equities Operations, JPMorgan Chase, stated that DeepSee.ai has assisted the bank in automating the manual post-trade checks supporting complex derivatives trading into AI-powered business outcomes. With shorter deal review timelines and lower operational risk, the post-trade processing and reconciliations have shown greater efficiencies, stated Damico. Steve Shillingford, CEO, DeepSee.ai, commented that they are honoured to receive the award, as the company is reportedly “solving some of the most complicated business problems for the world’s most regulated firms by transforming complex data that is difficult to obtain, even harder to interpret, into meaningful intelligence and advantage for business executives.”

KPA uses machine learning to manage and improve all types of complex data, from structured to unstructured and semi-structured, and then automates the results into real-time action, exploration and risk reduction for the firm. Furthermore, the company’s DeepGraph technology, which includes all pertinent data, is reportedly maintained for visibility, authenticity of data, accuracy and validity, in order to ensure it is meeting the requirements of their clients. In addition, KPA leverages recent advancements in semantic modelling, knowledge graphs and natural language processing.

PingPong debuts its cutting-edge payment solutions in Singapore, bolstering regional Southeast Asia

PingPong, a global payment solutions provider established in 2015, is expected to debut its most recent one-stop payment services and all-inclusive cross-border solutions for online retailers, financial institutions, technology platforms and businesses at the Singapore Fintech Festival 2022 this week. Additionally, the company intends to begin operations in Singapore, pending regulatory approval of a payment license.

The company specializes in providing end-to-end payment solutions for global cross-border businesses, enabling global e-commerce sellers to efficiently manage multiple currencies in a single, secure platform across the US, Europe and Asia. More than one million merchants reportedly use the company’s technologies for cross-border, value-added tax and supplier payments currently. Additionally, it was reported that the company's total payment volume had surpassed US $90 billion in September 2022.

Southeast Asia's digital economy is expected to increase by 20% by year-end 2022, approaching $200 billion in gross merchandise value (GMV), and PingPong has stated that it plans to capitalize on the growth of its cross-border e-commerce in the region.

Cyrus Tong, Regional Chief Compliance Officer, PingPong, commented that the company assists customers in navigating the complexity of cross-border compliance and regulatory requirements, which are some of the main concerns clients have when establishing their e-commerce businesses abroad. Furthermore, the company reportedly offers a full suite of solutions that enable global payments at lower costs as well as better connectivity. It also plans to accept on-site and off-site payments in sixteen major currencies, enabling merchants and suppliers to manage global transactions and track payments in real time.

The Fintech Festival is expected to highlight the company’s one-stop payment and treasury solution, which will reportedly connect hundreds of thousands of merchants with platforms for the digital economy and e-commerce worth $1 trillion GMV by supporting 266 local payment methods in more than 50 currencies. Furthermore, it is expected to give financial institutions and platform companies the ability to leverage the quickly expanding e-commerce market.

The Saudi Central Bank unveils an open banking conceptual model

The Saudi Central Bank (SAMA) has released its open banking framework, including a detailed set of legislation, regulatory guidelines and technical standards based on global best practices, enabling banks and fintechs to provide open banking services in the country. Additionally, the Open Banking Program is reportedly one of the initiatives of the Fintech Strategy as well as one of the key elements of the Financial Sector Development Program under Saudi Vision 2030.

The guidelines outlined that the first version of the open banking services will concentrate on the Account Information Service (AIS), while the second will concentrate on the Payment Initiation Service (PIS). SAMA plans to monitor the progress of banks and fintechs to ensure their readiness to launch the open banking services in the first quarter of 2023.

The Fintech Strategy, which was approved by the Council of Ministers in May 2022, is reportedly aiming to establish the nation as a global fintech hub. Furthermore, SAMA has reportedly allowed several fintechs to provide open banking services through the SAMA Regulatory Sandbox. Reports indicate that this move occurred concurrently with the Open Banking Program, with the goal of testing some new business models and identifying regulatory and technical challenges that were taken into account when developing the open banking framework.

Zest AI raises US $50 million in growth capital to boost AI-automated underwriting

Zest AI, a US-based financial technology services company, has reportedly raised more than US $50 million in a new growth round of funding. The company positions itself as a pioneer in automating underwriting with more precise and inclusive lending insights using artificial intelligence. Insight Partners, an established global software investor, and CMFG Ventures, a new investor, co-led the investment round. Citibank, First National Bank of Omaha, Truist, Golden 1 Credit Union, Suncoast Credit Union, and Hawaii USA Federal Credit Union, among others, have partnered with Zest AI to modernize their lending business, according to the release.

The new funding is expected to help Zest AI rapidly expand its AI-automated credit underwriting access for all lenders. Additionally, Zest AI expects to provide a more accurate and consistent underwriting decisions platform by broadening access to this technology, smoothing the competitive landscape for all borrowers while cultivating a more diversified economy.

Reports indicate that Zest AI nearly tripled its customer base in 2021 and expects to nearly double it in 2022. Over 250 AI-underwriting models have reportedly been developed by the company to date. Zest’s technology employs artificial intelligence in order to detect, predict and eliminate inherent biases, resulting in more consistent and equitable lending decisions. Clients can expect to approve more borrowers without the additional risk, resulting in a 25% increase in approvals as well as complete automation.

Rapyd’s new multi-currency Treasury Solution aids treasurers in expanding their global reach

Rapyd, a global payments fintech provider, has launched a multi-currency Treasury Solution, which is said to be the "first of its kind" in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region. The solution is reportedly defined as a set of cash management tools or features aiming to reduce the cost and effort associated with global payments operations.

Companies involved in cross-border trade can expect to strengthen their financial connections through Rapyd's Treasury Solution, as it enables CFOs, treasurers and controllers to manage liquidity, balance currencies and minimize currency risk while improving their treasury hub in Singapore. In addition, global businesses will reportedly be able to manage funds without the complexity, inconvenience and extra costs associated with managing various banking relationships, payment providers, and funds flows across countries and currencies with the multi-currency solution.

Businesses of any size are expected to benefit from the Treasury Solution offered by Rapyd, and companies can reportedly realize 70-90% in cost reductions compared with traditional methods. The multi-currency Treasury Solution reportedly enables businesses to do the following:

  • Collect funds in over 100 countries
  • Receive local payments into Rapyd Virtual Accounts in 40+ countries and over 25 currencies
  • Receive instant bank transfer funds via local real-time payments systems such as FAST, PayNow, PromptPay and eWallets
  • Concentrate funds from multiple accounts around the world into a central multi-currency account in Singapore, reportedly supervised by the MAS's stringent standards
  • Disburse funds to suppliers, employees and partners in over 190 nations using real-time payments, local ACH, SWIFT and other local options
  • Resolve/transfer the remaining funds to the local lead bank as quickly as possible, allowing businesses to maximize credit and interest benefits while maintaining core banking relationships.

US banks reveal US $1.2 billion in ransomware payments in 2021, stated the US Treasury

The Treasury Department's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) reported that there were 1,489 ransomware incidents last year that cost nearly US $1.2 billion, a substantial increase from the $416 million in damages recorded in 2020, according to the Treasury.

Under the Bank Secrecy Act, US banks reported more than $1 billion in suspicious payments between bank clients and potential cybercriminals. Himamauli Das, Acting Director, FinCEN, emphasizes the importance of Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) filings, which uncover trends and patterns in support of whole-of-government efforts to prevent and combat ransomware attacks. By upholding BSA compliance obligations, financial institutions can significantly contribute to shielding the US from threats brought on by ransomware, said reports.

According to the report, more than half of the cyberattacks were perpetrated by alleged Russian cyberhackers. Das added that the current report is an indication that ransomware continues to pose a serious threat to our national and economic security. Additionally, three-quarters of the ransomware-related incidents for the second half of the year were connected to Russia, based on the report, which covers ransomware activities for the entire year of 2021.

The release of FinCEN's report coincides with the International Counter Ransomware Summit, which brought together world leaders from 36 nations, the European Union and the tech sector. The focus of the 2022 second annual summit, which excluded Moscow, aimed at preventing ransomware organized crime groups from taking refuge in specific countries, including Russia.

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