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Validation features for small volume ACH users – Industry roundup: 8 June

Vietnam Blockchain Association and Binance formally align into a strategic partnership

The Vietnam Blockchain Association and Binance, a global blockchain development technology company, have officially partnered to promote the development of blockchain technology in Vietnam. They also hope to establish relationships with other major technology companies around the globe.

Reports indicate that Vietnam is not only an exciting market for the application of blockchain technology but also known for promoting new technologies. According to Ngo Duc Thang, Director of the Government Cipher Committee, blockchain is one of the digital technology fields that will be prioritized for research, development and application. Digital transactions over blockchain can be facilitated in many areas such as banking services, industrial production, energy, agriculture, healthcare, retail and consumption. Blockchain is especially applicable to the public sector, he added.

The Vietnam government is said to continue to support, encourage and promote new businesses to proactively accelerate the digital transformation process, where blockchain technology will be the primary driver. Blockchain is expected to create 40 million jobs by 2030, with 10% to 20% of the world's economic infrastructure running on blockchain technology systems, Ngo Duc Thang said.

According to Changpeng Zhao, Founder and CEO of Binance, how countries adopt to blockchaintechnology today will have a significant impact on the future of the local economy and the world as a whole. He also adds that concise regulatory parameters are critical for blockchain to be effective in cryptocurrencies, DeFi and NFT, but also in everyday life.

Mr. Phan Duc Trung, Vice President, Vietnam Blockchain Association, expects the alliance will create a highly skilled workforce in technology and provide policy advice to state government agencies, adding value to Vietnam's business community. Trung further commented that this is one of the right steps for the Vietnamese government to aim towards a digital government and digital economy, delivering sustainable growth values to help Vietnam prosper.

Ant Group unveils new digital bank, ANEXT, in Singapore

Ant Group, a financial technology giant based in China, has launched a digital wholesale bank, ANEXT, in Singapore, becoming the second digital wholesale bank online in the last few days. ANEXT was approved by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) to begin operations on 2 June. This move is said to be one of Ant's largest overseas expansions since the US $37 billion initial public offering (IPO) was derailed by Chinese regulatory agencies in late 2020.

Ant initially acquired one of Singapore's first wholesale digital banking licenses in late 2020, enabling it to serve large clients such as financial institutions and businesses. Ant, which currently owns about 33% of the major e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, said ANEXT will focus on providing simple and secure financial services for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), especially those with cross-border operations for growth and global expansion.

Sopnendu Mohanty, Chief Fintech Officer, MAS, commented that this is another milestone in Singapore's digital banking journey, a strategic effort to keep the banking sector progressive, globally competitive and dynamic. Additionally, Mohanty commented that “financial services have to evolve alongside business models that are changing to become digital-first or adopting a hybrid model.”

ANEXT, led by Toh Su Mei, Chief Executive Officer, is expected to work with MAS and Proxtera, a local entity founded by Singapore's Infocomm Media Development Authority, to develop an open framework for financial institutions. The ANEXT business account is expected to be available to small businesses during third quarter 2022.

US-Based Global Technology Partner (GTP) acquired by MFS Africa

MFS Africa, reportedly the largest digital payment network in Africa, has announced a rare acquisition transaction to purchase Global Technology Partners (GTP), a US-based card processor. GTP has over 80 banks using its platform, including UBA, Ecobank, BIA, Stanbic, Coris, NSIA and Zenith Bank, covering 24 countries. Additionally, GTP is said to be fully connected to the Visa, Mastercard, GIM, GIMAC and Verve networks.

With this acquisition, MFS Africa plans to expand its offering to Africa's gig economy and business travel markets, as well as help accelerate card connectivity in a secure manner to mobile money users looking to participate in global digital commerce rather than traditional bank accounts. The bank states that it will also expand its banking and fintech base across the continent while delivering tokenization to the world of mobile money by connecting with traditional card scheme ecosystems such as Visa and Mastercard.

Robert Merrick, Founder and Chairman of Global Technology Partners, commented that "GTP’s established position as Africa's number one prepaid card processor is based on its unique and flexible platform that actively enables the prosperity of prepaid cards.”

Reports indicate that MFS Africa plans to invest further in GTP's current card program with banks, bringing added innovations and features such as a seamless interoperability with mobile money, offered by MFS Africa HUB.

The company expects to use the GTP stack to accelerate the card programs for mobile network operators (MNOs) and fintechs across Africa. MFS Africa also plans to leverage GTP's presence in the United States to expand its commercial activities in North America.

New Nacha partnerships to enhance validation features for small volume ACH users

Nacha has announced a partnership between its own network, Phixius, and fintech Aliaswire to allow financial institutions, fintechs and businesses that originate small volumes of ACH transactions to comply with Nacha's WEB Debit Account Validation Rule.

According to the report, “Phixius by Nacha is a trusted peer-to-peer network for the efficient and safe exchange and verification of payment-related information.” Additionally, it is said the partnership will enable a real-time option for low volume ACH users to verify ACH payment routing and account numbers in a secure and speedy manner via Phixius.

Nacha's WEB Debit Account Verification Rule became effective earlier in 2022. This rule requires that the first use of an account number or a change in the account number be validated as part of a commercially reasonable system for detecting fraudulent transactions.

George Throckmorton, Managing Director of Strategic Initiatives & Network Development overseeing Phixius, Nacha, commented that “many smaller organizations came to Nacha looking for options to comply with the WEB Debit Account Validation Rule and validate account information.” The partnership of Phixius with Aliaswire is said to ensure that all financial institutions, fintechs and businesses offering ACH direct debit for consumers have access to a reliable way to validate their consumers’ account information in accordance with Nacha rules.

Reports show that Phixius has grown significantly since its launch in 2021. Currently, Phixius has given over 1,700 financial institutions and over 7,000 companies the capability to verify account information. It expects to enable over one million validations this year, while also improving the overall quality of the ACH network.

Allica Bank to boost UK’s underserved SMEs via Mambu platform

Allica Bank, a UK-based fintech challenger bank for SMEs, has announced its successful launch on a cloud banking platform, Mambu. The platform is said to help Allica offer customized lending products tailored towards the needs of SMEs and enhancing the customer experience. The SME sector in the UK reportedly accounts for 30% of the country’s GDP, but it has been left behind by traditional banks and overlooked by new monoline fintechs. According to reports, Allica is expected to develop and provide products and services to address this challenge head-on.

Allica acquired Allied Irish Bank's (GB) £600 million SME loan portfolio in November 2021, which brought with it complex loans. Subsequently, Allica reported that it needed a technology solution to help customers obtain loans in a shorter amount of time, leading to Mambu's Composable Technology Foundation.

Richard Morgans, General Manager, Mambu UK and Ireland, commented that “SME demand for digital-age lending represents a huge missed opportunity for banks and lenders. Financial institutions need to do more to tackle challenging application for loans.” Reports indicate that Allica has been able to accelerate the delivery of complex loan portfolios at an impressive rate with the combined expertise.

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