Bank Mergers Are On Track to Hit Their Highest Level Since the Financial Crisis

It took less than three months for a deal to be reached between Columbia Banking System and the smaller Bank of Commerce Holdings. Banks are on pace this year to merge at a level not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. It is a sharp turnaround from last year, when the economy spiraled and many regional and community banks put merger plans on the shelf. Now, bank executives are feeling more certain about what the future holds, but some are finding it hard to make it on their own. Though the economy has in many ways recovered from 2020, loan demand is still low and profits from lending are slim.

Banks have announced more than $54 billion in deals through late September, according to Dealogic. That puts industry mergers and acquisitions on pace for their biggest year since 2008, when some big banks had to sell themselves to stave off collapse. At this time last year, banks had announced just $17 billion in mergers.

Banks typically spend weeks or months turning a potential target’s loan book upside down, searching for risky loans or other red flags, before agreeing to acquire it. But the Covid-19 pandemic muddied that process. For months, lenders struggled to assess the creditworthiness of their own customers, much less those of their competitors.

“Neither potential sellers nor buyers really wanted to do a transaction last year because of the uncertainty that could be on folks’ balance sheets,” said Kevin Riley, chief executive of First Interstate BancSystem Inc. FIBK -0.17% in Billings, Mont.

But the expected wave of loan defaults never materialized, and by the end of last year, serious merger conversations resumed, according to executives and regulatory filings. This month, First Interstate FIBK -0.17% agreed to buy regional lender Great Western Bancorp Inc. in a deal that will boost its assets to more than $32 billion.

“[Banks] are no longer fearful of the bottom falling out,” said Nathan Stovall, an analyst at S&P Global Market Intelligence. “They are no longer looking at a deal like trying to catch a falling knife.”2019 was also a big year for bank mergers, but more of the major regionals are in play this year. So while there are fewer deals this year than at this point in 2019, the overall value is higher than it was two years ago.

Minneapolis-based U.S. Bancorp last week said it plans to buy MUFG Union Bank’s core retail-banking operations, boosting its presence on the West Coast. Another major regional, Citizens Financial Group Inc., said in July that it plans to buy Investors Bancorp Inc. Investors Bank had shelved merger talks with another bank when the pandemic hit in 2020, according to regulatory filings.

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates to near zero when the pandemic hit, and low rates have made it more difficult for banks to profit from their bread-and-butter business of lending. The average net interest margin, a measure of lending profitability, reached a record low of 2.5% in the second quarter, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Smaller banks have also struggled to compete with the high-end digital offerings and technology of the megabanks.

Sacramento, Calif.-based Bank of Commerce Holdings began courting potential merger partners in the spring of 2021. The board and management of the $1.9-billion-assets bank had for years considered different options to overcome ever-narrowing industry margins, including being acquired by a larger bank, CEO Randy Eslick said. It took less than three months to iron out a deal with $18 billion Columbia Banking System Inc. of Tacoma, Wash.

The deal was announced in June, and the combined bank will have the resources to invest in technology and other areas—trust departments, wealth management, specialty lending—that the smaller Bank of Commerce wouldn’t have been able to fund on its own.

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“Those types of things bring technology to the table that we could not afford to,” Mr. Eslick said. “At the end of the day, we have more arrows in our quiver.”

The pressure to scale up has only grown more intense in recent years, said Scott Wylie, CEO of the $2 billion First Western Financial Inc. in Denver. In July, First Western said it would buy the parent company of a smaller bank, the nearby Rocky Mountain Bank.

“For a $300- or $500- or $700-million bank, it used to be you could have a nice little business that could go for a long time,” Mr. Wylie said. “These days, that’s really hard.” Conway, Ark.-based Home BancShares Inc. said this month it would buy Happy Bancshares for more than $900 million. Within weeks, CEO John Allison got pitched another deal.

“Someone said to me, ‘Johnny, the body hasn’t even gotten cold yet…and they’re bringing all these other deals,’” Mr. Allison said.

By: Orla McCaffrey at orla.mccaffrey@wsj.com

Source: Bank Mergers Are On Track to Hit Their Highest Level Since the Financial Crisis – WSJ

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4 Missteps For Banks To Avoid When Migrating Payment Services To The Cloud

Banks and financial services providers can realize the efficiency and cost savings of cloud-based payments by taking proactive steps to guard against these common mistakes, notes Rustin Carpenter, a Global Payments Solution Leader for Cognizant’s Banking & Financial Services Industry Services Group.

The cloud’s lure of simplification is a powerful incentive for payment providers, as its role enabling modernization and permanently switching off legacy applications. Where banks struggle, however, is in shaping a strategy to get their payment services to the cloud. By understanding the common missteps, banks can create a plan for payment migration that maximizes benefits while minimizing risks.

The pandemic was a digital tipping point for banks, forcing them to implement in just a few months capabilities that otherwise would have taken several years. Research published in 2019 found that financial services firms lagged in adoption of public cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS), with just 18% broadly implementing IaaS for production applications, compared to 25% of businesses overall.

Now many banking leaders we talk with are taking a serious look at cloud-based payment services, motivated by the age and complexity of their core payment applications as well as their business’s growing confidence in the security of cloud platforms such as Google Cloud, Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services (AWS). As banks contemplate migrating payment services to the cloud, here are some common mistakes to avoid that will ensure a smoother journey:

1. Assuming the cloud is cheaper.

Cloud-based services are indeed less expensive to run — once applications and services have been migrated. To manage a successful payments migration, be aware of the costs along the journey. The cloud can be a heavy lift. While banks and financial services providers often consider themselves proficient at consolidation and rationalization, the extensiveness required for cloud migration frequently far exceeds the effort of previous initiatives. For example, we helped a bank reduce its infrastructure footprint by 25% and lower its total cost of ownership by migrating its applications to the cloud.

That outcome, however, required careful analysis of the bank’s application source code and development of a migration strategy and cloud deployment architecture, as well as assessing and migrating more than 800 applications over three years. Cloud-based services are more streamlined and less expensive to operate, but accurately budgeting for the upfront time and resources of a cloud payment migration is challenging due to the many unknowns. Careful attention to planning is critical for a realistic cost assessment.

2. Underestimating the amount of prework.

The cloud promises to reduce complexity but getting to that point takes a thoughtful migration plan that’s complete and doesn’t skimp on details. What steps will be taken to ensure there’s no disruption to clients? Which applications make sense to retain and manage in-house, and which can be leveraged as payments as a service? For instance, fund disbursements for a retail consumer bank that administers 529 plans are typically a low-volume service for which cloud automation is a great fit, replacing paper checks with significantly less costly cloud-based payments.

But when it comes to payments as a service, managing risk and ensuring value also come into play. Wire transfers might appear to be good candidates for migration to cloud payments, but if most of the bank’s transfers are for high net worth individuals with equally high customer lifetime value, then the transfers may require levels of personalized service best handled with an on-premise platform rather than in the cloud. A well thought out strategy that addresses all impacts and value opportunities helps bank leaders avoid the unintended consequences that keep them awake at night.

3. Failure to prioritize.

A payments migration needs to be phased in a way that provides strategic competitive advantage. Setting priorities is key. For example, a bank may choose to align its payments migration with a specific strategy, such as a planned de-emphasis on branch offices. Another approach is to migrate the costliest payment applications first. Some banks may reserve cloud adoption for when they’re ready to add new payments capabilities.

Each bank’s path to cloud payments is nuanced, yet there’s often a feeling among banking leaders that moving to the cloud is an all-or-nothing proposition. That is, payments are either entirely cloud-based or all on premise. A more realistic goal is to craft a migration roadmap for a hybrid environment that accommodates both types of infrastructure for the near future, and to then prioritize and phase the payments migration in a way that makes strategic sense.

4. Testing in a dissimilar environment.

Replicating legacy operating environments for testing is expensive, so it’s not uncommon for banks to settle on environments that are similar but not identical — though the variation often leads to production environment errors that can derail cloud migration efforts. Performance falls short of expectations, typically due to the tangle of payment applications resulting from years of mergers and acquisitions.

For example, post-merger banking platforms often utilize more than one legacy payment hub, and there’s little chance that a bank’s current IT staff fully understands or can predict the unintended consequences for the hubs when making changes to the platform. Don’t fret over creating the perfect testing environment. Rather, build an environment that’s as close as possible.

By avoiding these common missteps, payment providers can reap the benefits of a simplified, modern infrastructure and application environment and minimize the risks.

To learn more, please visit the digital payments section of our website or contact us.

Rustin “Rusty” Carpenter leads payments solutions within Cognizant’s Banking & Financial Services’ Commercial Industry Solutions Group (ISG). In this role, he works with group leaders and client-facing teams to elevate Cognizant’s client relevance, industry expertise and challenge-solving capabilities. Over his career, he has developed deep and broad expertise in payments and the emerging alternative and digital/mobile payments arenas. He is a frequent speaker on these topics at conferences worldwide and serves as a board advisor to fin-techs in all areas of payments and fraud prevention/mitigation.

Carpenter most recently was Head of Sales & Service, NA for ABCorp. Previously, he ran the Instant Issuance business for North America at Entrust Datacard; served as COO for Certegy Check Services, N.A.; was General Manager, NA for American Express Corporate Services; and completed multiple assignments at Andersen Worldwide and Dun & Bradstreet. Rustin has a Bachelor of Arts degree from Denison University and an MBA in finance from Rutgers Graduate School of Management. He can be reached at Rustin.Carpenter@cognizant.com

Source: 4 Missteps For Banks To Avoid When Migrating Payment Services To The Cloud

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“Launch of IBM Smarter Computing”. Archived from the original on 20 April 2013. Retrieved 1 March 2011.

 

JP Morgan Chase Launches Its Own Health Business Unit Three Months After Haven Implodes

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JPMorgan Chase is staking out its own healthcare venture, after its joint project with Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon failed earlier this year. On Thursday, the financial firm announced the launch of Morgan Health, a business unit focused on improving employer-sponsored healthcare, to be led by Dan Mendelson, founder and former CEO of the Washington, D.C.-based healthcare consultancy Avalere Health.

The move comes a little over three months since the joint venture Haven Health, which also aimed to lower employee healthcare costs and boost quality services, said it would be winding down.

Morgan Health will invest up to $250 million in “promising healthcare solutions” and will also enter into strategic partnerships, the company said. The new division, which will be headquartered in Washington, D.C., will also focus on health equity issues.

“JPMorgan Chase has been focused on improving healthcare for its employees for many years,” Morgan Health CEO Mendelson said in a statement. “We are going to take what we’ve learned and accelerate healthcare innovation in the employer-sponsored healthcare market, partnering with and investing in companies that share our goals, and measuring key health outcomes to show what works.”

Mendelson has a background in both health policy and finance. He was an operating partner at healthtech PE firm Welsh Carson for the past two years and served as the associate director for health in the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton White House prior to founding Avalere. With 165,000 employees in the United States, JPMorgan Chase provides health insurance to around 285,000 people, including dependents.

Haven was announced with much fanfare in 2018, with billionaire Warren Buffet calling rising employee healthcare costs “a hungry tapeworm on the American economy.” Around half of Americans receive healthcare benefits through their employers, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. The federal government estimates total national healthcare spending reached $3.8 trillion, or $11,582 per person, in 2019. And health spending continues to outpace inflation, growing 4.6% in 2019.

The implosion of Haven three years later demonstrated how even well-capitalized corporate juggernauts could be thwarted by the complexity of the U.S. healthcare system. “We were fighting a tapeworm in the American economy, and the tapeworm won,” Buffet said at Berkshire’s annual shareholder meeting earlier this month, according to Yahoo Finance.

“Haven was supposed to show how creativity, ingenuity and private sector, entrepreneurship could beat the healthcare sector. And it failed,” David Blumenthal, a physician and president of the healthcare think-tank The Commonwealth Fund, told Forbes in an interview earlier this year.

He said the speculation as to one of the big challenges Haven faced was that each company wanted to make its own choices for its employees, which has been the downfall of many similar coalitions. Amazon has also been making its own big push into the healthcare sector recently with a virtual primary care service called Amazon Care, the launch of its wearable Amazon Halo and its purchase of online pharmacy PillPack for $750 million.

The radical change needed to control healthcare costs requires buy-in on many levels, including some that employees might not be happy about, says Blumenthal. It could mean narrower networks of physicians to choose from or requiring travel for certain surgeries so they take place at top-ranked facilities, as opposed to the comfort of a local community hospital.

But the biggest impediments are structural—the lack of purchasing power for employers and consolidation among health systems, he said. “In the end, controlling costs in almost every other Western country is a responsibility that government assumes,” Blumenthal said. “It’s for precisely this reason that the alternatives are not effective.”

Despite what may be an uphill battle ahead, JPMorgan leadership is giving it another go. “Covid has shed light on both the greatness of our healthcare system and its challenges,” Peter Scher, vice chairman of the company who will be overseeing Morgan Health, said in a statement. “The firm has been investing in developing solutions to address social and economic challenges over the past 10 years. We plan to take what we’ve learned there and apply it to healthcare.”

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

I am a staff writer at Forbes covering healthcare, with a focus on digital health and new technologies. I was previously a healthcare reporter for POLITICO covering the European Union from Brussels and the New Jersey Statehouse from Trenton. I have also written for the Los Angeles Times and Business Insider. I was a 2019-2020 Knight-Bagehot Fellow in business and economics reporting at Columbia University. Email me at kjennings@forbes.com or find me on Twitter @katiedjennings.

Source: JP Morgan Chase Launches Its Own Health Business Unit Three Months After Haven Implodes

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References

 

“The History of JPMorgan Chase & Co.: 200 Years of Leadership in Banking, company-published booklet, 2008, p. 5. Predecessor to J.P. Morgan & Co. was Drexel, Morgan & Co., est. 1871. Retrieved July 15, 2010. Other predecessors include Dabney, Morgan & Co. and J.S. Morgan & Co” (PDF).

Barclays Sees £900m Growth Opportunity In Payments

Barclays has identified payments as a key growth opportunity worth £900 million over three years thank to areas such as merchant acquiring and the BNPL market.

On an analyst conference call about the bank’s first quarter results, CEO Jes Staley revealed that payment now account for eight per cent of Barclays’ total income – £1.7 billion last year.

Staley says this number can grow by around £900 million over the next three years, with double digit growth in three areas: unified payments, “next-gen” commerce, and wholesale payment fees.

In November last year the bank moved into the buy now, pay later sector through a partnership with Amazon in Germany, offering customers a rolling credit line for future purchases from the e-commerce giant. The initiative is now being extended to the UK.

“This will grow our presence in e-commerce in two of the largest markets in Europe,” says Staley. “Our partnership with Amazon reflects our growing focus on payments.”
Barclays is the only major bank-owned acquirer in the UK and has managed to slash on-boarding times in the last couple of years from 14 days to two days through digitisation.

However, Staley says “we still have a long way to go,” adding that: “Perhaps the most important investment Barclays will make in the next five years is to connect our small business banking and our merchant acquiring business, particularly as it relates to e-commerce.”

Meanwhile, the bank is working on an initiative called Barclays Cubed to better connect merchants and customers.

Staley offers up a scenario: “A merchant is able to connect with a consumer digitally by offering a discount via their Barclays mobile banking app. That consumer can then make a purchase on the merchant’s website and, if they choose to, we can instantly approve them to pay for their shopping using instalments.

“Finally, the digital receipt and the loyalty points are automatically added to their Barclays wallet.”

Source: Barclays sees £900m growth opportunity in payments

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Related Links:

Jul.29 — Jes Staley, chief executive officer of Barclays Plc, discusses recent volatility in financial markets, investment banking market share, and efforts to improve diversity. He speaks on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open” after the London-based bank’s securities division reported a 60% gain in foreign-exchange, rates and credit trading revenue as the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic whipsawed markets.

America’s Best And Worst Banks 2021

For America’s biggest banks, the past twelve months have been one of the biggest tests of their resilience in history. The Coronavirus pandemic all but shuttered the U.S. economy for months, spurring enormous shifts in business and consumer habits. Lenders big and small, from America’s four megabanks to small regional firms, have passed their test with flying colors.

Despite some of the sharpest drops in gross domestic product and employment ever witnessed, banks were able to serve their customers and remain profitable. In 2020, there were just four bank failures in the U.S., despite the extraordinary economic circumstances. Only about 5% of banks nationwide were unprofitable, according to data from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, and about 53% of banks reported annual increases in profits in 2020. 

The pristine shape is thanks to effective emergency measures implemented by Washington that thawed corporate and mortgage credit markets, offered stimulus and small business aid to Main Street, and allowed for widespread forbearance. These factors helped firms play their role as the financial cog that lubricates the American economy.

Corporations used low rates to issue and refinance debt at record rates in 2020, creating a cash cushion. Homeowners did the same, taking advantage of near-record-low interest rates to purchase homes or cut their interest costs. Technology also played a big role as the banking industry undergoes a digital transformation. Consumers could handle their finances on mobile apps during quarantine, instead of at temporarily closed bank branches, and digital change is helping to bolster profitability.

Not only did the stellar performance help the economy through the pandemic, it has positioned the United States for an enormous economic boom as Americans are inoculated from Covid-19 and the economy reopens in full. Millennials are entering the housing market in droves, industries like software and technology are growing rapidly, and businesses will soon be on the offensive in areas like travel, entertainment and retail.

Click here to see the full list of America’s Best Banks.

There are more than 5,000 banks and savings institutions in the U.S., but assets are increasingly concentrated at the top. The 100 largest have $16.4 trillion in assets, representing over 80% of total U.S. bank assets. Asset quality and profitability vary wildly among those institutions. With that in mind, Forbes examined the financial data to gauge America’s Best and Worst Banks.

Born out of the financial crisis of the late 2000s, this is the twelfth year Forbes enlisted S&P Global Market Intelligence for data regarding the growth, credit quality and profitability of the 100 largest publicly-traded banks and thrifts by assets. The ten metrics used in the rankings are based on regulatory filings through September 30. The data is courtesy of S&P, but the rankings are done solely by Forbes.

Metrics include return on average tangible common equity, return on average assets, net interest margin, efficiency ratio and net charge-offs as a percentage of total loans. Forbes also factored in nonperforming assets as a percentage of assets, CET1 ratio, risk-based capital ratio and reserves as a percentage of nonperforming assets. The final component is operating revenue growth. We excluded banks where the top-level parent is based outside the U.S.

CVB Financial, the parent company of Citizens Business Bank, was the top-rated bank in America for a second consecutive year, The Ontario, California-based small business lender was in the top-20 across every metric Forbes tracked, and it shone brightest in its efficiency ratio (39.%), operating revenue growth (41.5%) and posted a negative net charge off ratio. The median bank on Forbes’ list, by contrast, had a 57% efficiency ratio, posted operating growth of just 5.4%, and experienced a charge off rate of 0.17% of average loans. CVB, founded in 1974 and with over $13 billion in assets and over 50 branches across the state of California, has been profitable for 174 consecutive quarters, though a long streak of rising profitability was temporarily broken.

Smaller banks, and those focused on commercial lending, continued to dominate the top levels of the Forbes Best Banks list. Just one bank inside the top-20 had more than $100 billion in assets.

Houston-based Prosperity Bancshares ranked at #2, rising six spots from our 2020 list, thanks to its surging growth. Operating revenue rose 54% in 2020, and the lender performed well in efficiency and capitalization. Rounding out the top-5 were Kalispell, Montana-based Glacier Bancorp, Colorado Springs-based Central Bancorp and Conway, Arkansas-based Home BancShares. Average assets in our Top-5 was just $20 billion.

In the top-10 were McKinney, Tx-based Independent Bank Group, #6, DeWitt, NY-based Community Bank System, #7, Bank of New York Mellon, #8, Santa Clara, CA-based SVB Financial Group, #9, and Wilmington, DE-based WSFS Financial. Bank of New York Mellon was one of our biggest risers, gaining 44 spots, and outperforming on loan quality.

For the first time ever, the Big Four of U.S. banking—JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo—saw their combined assets exceed $10 trillion, or more than half the U.S. total. None of these banks finished in our Top-50, generally falling due to below-average growth as they set aside massive provisions to deal with the pandemic and were hit by plunging interest rates. JPMorgan Chase ranked highest at #51, dropping eight spots. Citigroup gained 10 spots to place at #65. Bank of America and Wells Fargo both slid, placing at #74 and #98, respectively.

JPMorgan, led by CEO Jamie Dimon, ended 2020 on a high note, reporting a record $12 billion profit as it released reserves built up to handle Covid-19 related economic stress. Despite the extraordinary circumstances, the lender saw average loans and its capital position rise to end the year, and it reported a surge in bank deposits. During 2020, the bank raised over $2 trillion of credit and capital for its clients, spanning ordinary U.S. households to the biggest corporations on the planet.

“In general, the banks have so much capital, so much liquidity and so much capability,” Dimon recently told investors in a December conference, weeks before the bank reported record annual revenues. While Dimon remains concerned about the pandemic as vaccines are distributed, and sees a varied recovery for consumers and businesses, he added of the banking industry, “I think we’re coming out of this looking great.”

Wells Fargo continued to fall in Forbes’ rankings in the wake of a 2016 fake accounts scandal that has cost the bank billions of dollars and led to dramatic change atop the lender. Wells dropped twelve spots in 2019, placing #98, due to a pronounced slump in revenues as the Federal Reserve limits its asset growth.

Over the past 12-months, JPMorgan’s stock has fallen 0.4%, making it the best performer among big banks, which all saw their stocks drop and underperform the S&P 500 Index. Citigroup shares have shed 19%, while Banks of America dropped 7%. Once more, Wells Fargo was the big laggard, falling by a third in value over the past year.

Rounding out the top-100 was Texas Capital Bancshares, #99, and CIT Group, #100.

New York-based business lender CIT Group is in the process of acquiring family-controlled First Citizens Bancshares, which ranked #62. The merger that will create a new diversified consumer and business lender with over $100 billion in combined assets, and a large presence in booming Sun Belt markets like Florida, Georgia and Tennessee. The merger comes a year after the combination of SunTrust and BB&T, which created $499 billion in assets Truist Financial, #48, which created a dominant lender in the Mid-Atlantic and Southeast.

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Antoine Gara

Antoine Gara

I’m a staff writer and associate editor at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, mergers, and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a member of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to agara@forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara

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Clark Howard: Save More, Spend Less

Some of the biggest banks in the country were also ranked with some of the worst customer service in a recent survey. Clark tells you who ranks the worst, and which banks are the best.

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UN chief: Russia’s vaccine can play crucial role in coronavirus battle – World tass.com – Today[…] When I see developed countries pouring a lot of investments into the vaccination of their people and not enough into the vaccinations of developing countries, I always remind the […]N/A

Scheduled reopening of schools in NI postponed until at least March – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk – Today[…] take place between the Department of Health and Department of Education on the issue Decisions vaccination prioritisation are ultimately made on a UK-wide basis by the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) […] Those aged 65-69 can now book a slot for vaccination at a centre using an online portal. The initiative has been developed to ensure a batch of Pfizer vaccination allocated to Northern Ireland does not go to waste […]0

Villafuerte backs call to skip Charter change, focus on ‘doable’ legislation businessmirror.com.ph – Today[…] “Right now we are just catching up with other countries that have already rolled out their mass vaccination programs,” he added […]

Sharing Covid vaccines is in UK’s best interests, say scientists en.brinkwire.com – Today[…] “The critical thing is we must make sure that the schedule that has been agreed and on which our vaccination programme has been based and planned goes ahead […] Prof Andy Pollard, the chair of the UK’s Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation, and one of the researchers behind the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, told th […] University of Southampton, said that while there was an ethical imperative for the UK to support vaccination in lower-income countries, it also had to look after its own […]0

Dr. Rai talks about new COVID-19 Vaccination Clinic at UW-Green Bay | Wisconsin Public Radio – Inside UW-Green Bay News news.uwgb.edu – TodayA healthcare provider in Green Bay recently opened a COVID-19 vaccination clinic and plans to open more locations. We speak with the president of Prevea Health about how the clinic operates and challenges they face in meeting demand for the vaccine.0

Germany recommends Oxford Covid vaccine not be used on over-65s en.brinkwire.com – Today[…] “Any assessment about the efficacy of the vaccination among the highest age group (≥75 years) therefore comes with a high level of uncertainty […]0

What does the global picture look like for vaccine supply? – BelfastTelegraph.co.uk http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk – Today[…] ��‍⚕️ Over 1,000 led by GPs �� Over 240 hospital hubs �� Over 70 pharmacies �� 50 large vaccination centres This will help those at most risk to get the vaccine first […] The Seychelles was the only African country to start a national vaccination campaign, it added […]0

COVID-19: Ontario reports 2,093 new cases; admits misinterpreting data on number of people who received vaccine | Ottawa Citizen ottawacitizen.com – Today[…] On the vaccination front, Ontario administered 11,910 vaccine doses in the past 24 hours and has now administere […]2

Mowing Crew Member job in West Chester, PA | Andrew’s Lawn … jobs.frontend.la – Today[…] and San Diego counties, also allows eligible users to schedule an appointment for the vaccination […]0

Canada’s expected COVID-19 vaccine shipments deliveries reduced again – National | Globalnews.ca globalnews.ca – Today[…] have already used up nearly all their vaccine supply and have been forced to push back their vaccination schedules […]1

Why using fear to promote COVID-19 vaccination and mask wearing could backfire medicalxpress.com – Today[…] Evidence, ethics and politics So, why not use fear to drive up vaccination rates and the use of masks, lockdowns and distancing now, at this moment of national fatigue? Wh […]1

The United States has world’s fifth worst response to the coronavirus pandemic, scientists claim  | Daily http://www.dailymail.co.uk – Today[…] has made the pandemic his number one priority in office and has already sent goals to increase the vaccination rollout President Joe Biden has made the pandemic his number one priority in office and has already […] has made the pandemic his number one priority in office and has already set goals to increase the vaccination rollout in a bid to slow the rampaging virus […]N/A

COMMENTARY: The great Yukon vaccine caper — not exactly the perfect heist – National | Globalnews.ca globalnews.ca – Today[…] Ekaterina Baker expected to waltz into a remote Yukon village of 100 people and demand a COVID-19 vaccination meant for Indigenous elders without sticking out like proverbial sore thumbs is hard to comprehend […

Santander Salvages Wirecard’s Technology

Spanish-owned bank Santander has acquired the technology assets from disgraced payments firm Wirecard – but it’s not taking on legal liability for the collapsed business.

Wirecard caused enormous financial turmoil in the summer when an accountancy fraud led to the swift collapse of the firm. The knock-on effects saw millions of banking customers across Europe unable to access their money for days, as Wirecard provided payment processing for companies such as Pockit, Payoneer and many others.

Wirecard filed for insolvency in June after the accounting scandal came to light, and now the administrators have announced that Santander will pick up “several highly specialized technological assets” from the defunct company, as well as around 500 of Wirecard’s staff.

The technology and the staff will be subsumed into Santander’s Getnet business, which provides a range of payment and e-commerce solutions.

Santander is keen to stress that the deal does not leave the bank liable for Wirecard’s past misdemeanors. “The acquisition does not include Wirecard companies and Santander will not assume any legal liability relating to Wirecard AG and Wirecard Bank AG or its past actions,” Santander’s statement states.

The Wirecard Wreckage

The disposal of the technology to Santander may at least provide some small return for investors who lost their money in the Wirecard collapse. The deal is reported to be worth €100 million. However, Wirecard collapsed with €3.2 billion of debt on its books, which makes the technology proceeds a mere drop in the ocean. MORE FOR YOUCovid Vaccines Face Delays Due To Data-Spoiling HackersNaim Challenges The BBC With New And Higher-Quality Radio StationsWhy The New Macs Are So Short Of Memory

Wirecard’s creditors are expected to find out more details of the winding-down process this week, with the administrators having to deal with dozens of lawsuits from investors.

It was the suspension of Wirecard’s U.K. subsidiary, Wirecard Card Solutions (WCS), that prompted the banking crisis in the summer. The U.K.’s Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) suspended activity at WCS for several days until it was reassured customers’ money wasn’t being transferred out of the business, leaving millions of banking customers unable to access their funds.

WCS has since sold many of its card technology and other assets to Railsbank, although many of the banking services that previously used Wirecard have since moved to alternate payment providers or have set up such services themselves.

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Barry Collins

Barry Collins

I have been a technology writer and editor for more than 20 years. I was assistant editor of The Sunday Times’ technology section, editor of PC Pro magazine and have written for more than a dozen different publications and websites over the years. I’ve also appeared as a tech pundit on television and radio, including BBC Newsnight, the Chris Evans Show and ITN News at Ten. Hit me up if you’ve got a tech story that needs breaking at barry@mediabc.co.uk.

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Wirecard

By installing the ePOS App on a mobile device, you can handle all types of payments quickly and easily – from popular credit cards such as Visa or Mastercard, to cash or even alternative payment methods such as WeChat Pay and Alipay. Download it directly from the following link: https://play.google.com/store/apps/de… Wirecard’s ePOS SDK for iOS and Android: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pmxdg… Visit us: https://www.wirecard.com/ Join us on social: Twitter: https://twitter.com/wirecard LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/wire… Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/wirecardgroup/

The Global Network Report: How 26 Upstarts Are Winning Customers & Pivoting From Hyper Growth To Profitability In a $27 Billion Market

Neobanks — digital-only banks with industry-leading capabilities that don’t operate physical branches or rely on legacy back-ends — have exploded onto the global scene in recent years.

Increased consumer interest in neobanks is stimulating competition globally, creating an increasingly competitive landscape which has driven neobanks to roll out extravagant features, like overdraft protection and sign-up incentives. 

Beyond scaling rapidly by user count, neobanks are navigating the best route to profitability. Today, the average neobank loses $11 per user, per Accenture, and though neobanks’ expenses are partially offset by not operating costly branch networks, they still need to find sustainable business models.

Some major strategies are beginning to coalesce: Most neobanks operate under a “freemium” model, in which they offer their product for free, but charge for additional features, while others offer multitier subscriptions with varying levels of premium accounts. Additionally, other players are targeting niche segments, like small businesses or gig economy workers, in their pursuit of profitability.

In The Global Neobanks report, Business Insider Intelligence explores how the neobank market has grown rapidly, and what’s in store as the industry pivots from hyper-growth to sustainability. We discuss how 26 neobanks in key global markets are prioritizing scale versus profitability, identifying best practices to emulate and pitfalls to avoid.

The companies mentioned in the report include: ABN Amro, Adyen, Ant financial, ANZ, Aspiration, Banco Inter, Bank Leumi, Banco Sabadell, Banco Votorantim, Bnext, bunq, Chime, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Dave, Finleap, ING, Judo, Klar, Kuda, Mastercard, Monzo, Moven, MYbank, National Australia Bank, Neon, Nubank, N26, OakNorth, Open, Pepper, Penta, Revolut, Raising, Rabobank, Santander, Starling, Standard Chartered, Tandem, TD Bank, TransferWise, Tencent, Uala, Uber, Volt, Varo, WeBank, Westpac, Xinja, 86 400.

Here are some key takeaways from the report:

With an estimated 39 million users globally, neobanks’ valuations have skyrocketed thanks to their attractive value propositions which include personal finance management features, low rates, and superior user experiences.
But the same features that have helped neobanks catch on have pushed profitability further out of reach. Neobanks have been forced to roll out flashy features to stand out to users, and marketing these features has driven up expenses. 
There’s no universal path to profitability for neobanks — but a few major categories are emerging. Freemium pricing strategies, multitiered subscriptions, and targeting niche demographics are three strategies neobanks are employing in pursuit of profit.  

Individual neobank landscapes vary by market, but their inherent advantages are allowing neobanks to emerge in markets globally. Regional factors have made certain markets particularly ripe, such as fintech-friendly regulations, negative consumer perceptions of incumbents, and gaps in banking services for underbanked populations. 

In full, the report:

Sizes the neobank market by value, number of users, and number of accounts to 2024. Explores the factors that will propel the neobank market to new heights over the next five …read more

Source:: Business Insider

Dear banks, Game Over. Disruptive challenger banks are here to wipe the floor with traditional banks, who have, according to Chad West, head of comms and marketing at challenger bank Revolut, failed to make their offering open and transparent to customers, and failed to give them control over their money. Digital bank alternative Revolut has scaled to 1.8 million customers in three years – and now offers cryptocurrency processing.

ABOUT WIRED SMARTER Experts and business leaders from the worlds of Energy, Money and Retail gathered at Kings Place, London, for WIRED Smarter on October 9, 2018. Discover some of the fascinating insights from speakers here: http://wired.uk/V29vMg ABOUT WIRED EVENTS WIRED events shine a spotlight on the innovators, inventors and entrepreneurs who are changing our world for the better.

Explore this channel for videos showing on-stage talks, behind-the-scenes action, exclusive interviews and performances from our roster of events. Join us as we uncover the most relevant, up-and-coming trends and meet the people building the future. ABOUT WIRED WIRED brings you the future as it happens – the people, the trends, the big ideas that will change our lives. An award-winning printed monthly and online publication.

WIRED is an agenda-setting magazine offering brain food on a wide range of topics, from science, technology and business to pop-culture and politics. CONNECT WITH WIRED Web: http://po.st/WiredVideo Twitter: http://po.st/TwitterWired Facebook: http://po.st/FacebookWired Google+: http://po.st/GoogleWired Instagram: http://po.st/InstagramWired Magazine: http://po.st/MagazineWired Newsletter: http://po.st/NewslettersWired

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