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Using AI and machine learning tools to maximize the value of data – Industry roundup: 6 January

Santander and Global Payments collaborate to offer commercial cards for US-based clients

Santander Bank has partnered with Global Payments Inc., a global provider of payment technology and software solutions, to develop a new commercial card product for its US-based commercial banking clients. Santander’s Commercial Banking group aims to offer its clients access to cutting-edge B2B products and services that promote digital growth, enabling them to provide first-rate customer experiences via Global Payments' Issuer Solutions division, TSYS, commencing in early 2023 with more details to follow. The new partnership is expected to be a core component of Santander’s ongoing transformation effort to offer digital tools that help streamline financial services.

The bank has launched a number of new digital banking solutions recently to address the changing demands in the digital landscape, the most recent of which is the commercial banking card. Santander currently provides a platform, Treasury Fusion, that reportedly connects banking data directly to enterprise resource planning software systems used by businesses, and eLockBox, an electronic lockbox that helps businesses manage their electronic receivables by consolidating incoming digital payments. Additionally, Santander has partnered with Revenue Management Solutions, a company that handles healthcare remittances in order to provide a complete receivables lockbox service for clients in the healthcare industry.

ACI Worldwide mulls potential sale as its shares rise

ACI Worldwide Inc., a US-based provider of payments software, is reportedly in discussions with private equity firms about a possible sale despite the unstable state of the leveraged financing markets. Reports indicate that the firm is currently collaborating with financial advisors in order to evaluate interest in a potential acquisition.

ACI's stock saw its biggest gain since March 2020, rising approximately 14% after dropping 35% in the previous year. The stock reportedly increased 13% to close at US $26.11 in New York trading, resulting in a market value of more than US $2.9 billion.

The company, a small participant in an M&A active sector, has reportedly been seen as a strategic takeover target. Reports indicate that ACI offers banks, merchants and other clients a variety of payment services, as well as a platform for managing in-person transactions and fraud-detection services.

Jack Henry and Constant join forces to develop Zero Processing Loan Servicing solutions

Constant, a self-service loan management software fintech firm, has unveiled its Zero Processing Skip-a-Pay service as well as loan servicing solutions, which are reportedly automatically processed in the core platform and are now available via Jack Henry’s digital banking platform, a US-based technology and payment processing provider for the financial services sector.

In efforts to enable borrowers to perform transactions without resorting to more costly live channels, Constant has reportedly developed a self-service technique to resolve settlements effectively with access via Jack Henry's Banno Digital Platform.

Furthermore, Constant has integrated its technology into the digital experiences provided by the community and local financial institutions by utilizing the Banno Digital Toolkit, the same set of APIs on which the Banno Digital Platform is based, said reports. Additionally, Jack Henry's API, design and authenticated frameworks have empowered Constant to seamlessly integrate into the digital banking platform.

With the help of this integration, Jack Henry's growing network of more than 850 fintech companies, which reportedly serve approximately 8,000 financial institutions, can offer pertinent financial products and services to their banking clients. Only 9% of customer service interactions, according to Gartner, are fully resolved through self-service, commented Catherine York Powers, CEO, Constant. By placing a higher priority on resolution, borrowers can expect to complete transactions seamlessly, increasing trust in using the self-service channel rather than contacting a live representative, added Powers.

GoCardless establishes itself as the first global payments company to become "PayTo Ready"

Australia's traditional Direct Debit network is expected to be replaced in three to five years by global direct bank payment solutions provider, GoCardless' PayTo instant account-to-account payment system, which is officially live in the marketplace, said reports.

PayTo, which is currently available in over twenty-nine million bank accounts from forty different banks, has reportedly been hailed as a technology innovator in the payments sector, with faster and more secure transactions. Through PayTo’s platform, businesses and merchants will reportedly have the ability to send immediate, authenticated payments from their clients' bank accounts, while clients have complete control and transparency over payment processing, with the ability to authorize payments from within their banking app or digital account. In addition, any agreement becomes visible to the customer in their banking app once the transaction has been authorized, potentially lowering merchant costs, fraud, hidden fees and declined payments significantly.

While some Australian financial services have reportedly become PayTo capable, GoCardless claims to be the first company of its size and stature to launch the payments infrastructure, providing the new payment network together with their Direct Debit solution. Additionally, GoCardless aims to offer a variety of features such as refunds and global payments, which are expected to coexist alongside the conventional direct debit. Currently, businesses reportedly have the ability to join GoCardless and instantly add PayTo to their payments technology infrastructure.

Luke Fossett, General Manager of Australia and New Zealand, GoCardless, urged businesses in Australia to familiarize themselves with PayTo and to integrate it into their payment infrastructure as quickly as possible, as PayTo is expected to replace the conventional Direct Debit system in the upcoming years.

According to Australia’s recent State of Pay report, 51% of businesses would like to minimize credit card payments processing. Additionally, reports indicate that there will likely be significant industry advancement towards PayTo integration in the months following the New Payments Platform transition, which is set for April 2023, encouraging businesses to modify their strategy and payment systems.

Ernst & Young introduces BRiTE hub in Bristol to promote fintech innovation for the South West

Ernst & Young (EY) has reportedly established the South West Innovation Hub as part of its regional fintech investment and has revealed plans for a Business Research Innovation Technology and Engineering (BRiTE) centre in Bristol, UK. The centre plans to place emphasis on financial services design, data analytics, and engineering, with the goal of developing new fintech capabilities for businesses.

The centre aims to integrate with the South West England fintech community, which reportedly includes the University of Bristol and Fintech West, ensuring that the hub's solutions are delivered both nationally and locally. Anita Kimber, partner and fintech strategy leader, EY, commented that the new hub will offer innovative advancements and expertise to the region, with an emphasis on "user-centered design that helps tackle real-life business problems."

Reports indicate that the region currently consists of highly skilled local talent, drawing more skilled workers to the area and enabling the South West region to become progressively associated with the UK's thriving fintech industry.

The BRiTE hub is the most recent in a series of investments made by EY in the fintech sector due to high market demands, coming less than a month after EY's first fintech lab opened in London. The lab is expected to offer a versatile workplace aimed at scientific research and experiment as well as a rapid test-and-learn prototype environment. Plans for a similar initiative are expected for Edinburgh in 2023.

Taiwan’s Next Bank begins operations on Temenos

Next Commercial Bank (Next Bank), a new Taiwan-based digital bank supported by Chunghwa Telecom, Taiwan's largest telecom operator, has formally launched onto Temenos' core banking platform.

Next Bank, reportedly one of the first digital banks in Taiwan to receive a virtual banking license from the region's Financial Supervisory Commission, is aiming to create a bank that simplifies financial management through cutting-edge technology, design and user-friendly experiences. In addition, Next Bank can reportedly scale effectively and launch products quickly through Temenos' open platform. Currently, the digital bank will offer loans, cards, deposits and a points program, all available via a mobile app. Next Bank states that clients can choose their bank account number and establish an account in a few minutes.

The bank intends to roll out foreign exchange services in the near term, including wealth management tools and remittance services for migrant workers. Additionally, Next Bank plans to rapidly grow to nearly 300,000 customers within nine months of its launch.

Businesses increase their use of AI and machine learning tools to maximize the value of their data, per Verdantix study

Verdantix, a London-based independent research firm, conducted a study based on over 300 senior executives managing operational excellence initiatives in their companies with revenues of US $250 million (27% of those reportedly had revenues of over US $20 billion) across the Americas, Europe and other global regions. The report, Global Corporate Survey 2022: Operational Excellence Budgets, Priorities, and Tech Preferences, states that 83% of businesses intend to increase their spending on operational efficiency projects in 2023, with nearly half (42%) expecting to increase spending by 10% or more.

In addition, industrial companies are reportedly increasing their use of artificial intelligence and machine learning to maximize the value of their data. The report noted that the industrial sector's digitization of plant operations is rapidly accelerating due to a global skills shortage (86%), an aging labour force (85%) and an increase in worker retirements.

Broader economic and financial factors reportedly affect spending, with 89% of respondents stating that cost-cutting has a significant or very significant impact on digitization, according to the report. Additionally, mobile apps, enterprise asset management, and asset performance management software all reportedly help to improve machine efficiency and downtime.

New technologies, such as AI, machine learning and specifically wearable technology devices, help industrial firms improve data management through activities such as uploading real-time location data, detecting toxic gases or high temperatures and sensing abnormal behaviour, according to 87% of the respondents.

Obtaining green electricity is one of the top ESG priorities in the operational excellence sector, cited by 50% of respondents, ahead of replacing outdated equipment and reducing emissions and energy use.

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