Fintech

Financial Finesse Launches First-Of-Its-Kind Venture Arm Supporting FinTech For The Greater Good

Financial Finesse Launches First-Of-Its-Kind Venture Arm Supporting
Financial Finesse, the country's leading independent provider of financial wellness coaching as an employer-paid benefit, today announced the launch of Financial Finesse Ventures—a first-of-its-kind venture arm for socially responsible FinTech.

As the pioneer of financial wellness, Financial Finesse is bridging the financial literacy gap by delivering unbiased, life-changing financial coaching to millions of Americans. The launch of Financial Finesse Ventures—a natural extension of the company's people-first mission—will support a new era of FinTech that is 100 percent aligned with the best interests of consumers. The new venture arm, company-backed and led by Liz Davidson, Financial Finesse Founder and CEO, will seek investments in purpose-driven companies dedicated to driving positive social impact.

"While there is increased discussion about social responsibility and some encouraging macro trends in the ESG space, FinTech is significantly lagging in these areas, We are at a critical crossroads—what we do now as investors, employers, and consumers has the potential to change the trajectory of the industry. With Americans facing significant financial challenges, there is a lot hanging in the balance. FinTech has the potential to be a powerful solution; we want to do our part to make sure it is."

- Liz Davidson, CEO of Financial Finesse and Financial Finesse Ventures

The explosion in FinTech in recent years has led to an escalation in services that place profit above purpose—with a recent surge in companies selling high interest rate loans, encouraging irresponsible investing, or connecting investors with overly expensive financial products and services in exchange for high commissions. This trend is not only concerning for consumers who could fall prey to these predatory practices, but also business leaders who worry about problematic service offerings being embedded into employee-facing platforms. Financial Finesse Ventures was launched to change the trajectory of the industry, support companies that both consumers and employers can trust, and inspire other firms to begin investing in innovation for good.

We have seen a surge in FinTech firms with predatory practices selling their services to employers as an employee benefit, I'm excited to be a part of the evaluation process for Financial Finesse Ventures' investments, using standards our Financial Wellness Think Tank has developed to verify pro-consumer business models and quantify their potential social impact, said Greg Ward, CFP® and Director of the Financial Finesse Financial Wellness Think Tank™.

Through an intensive and selective process, Financial Finesse Ventures has identified a number of early-stage companies with pro-consumer models and will announce its first investment in Q4 2022. Beyond funding, Financial Finesse Ventures will help incubate its portfolio companies, leveraging Financial Finesse's relationships and expertise to fast-track their path to success.

Financial Finesse Ventures is a long overdue addition to the venture capital and FinTech industries, It is refreshing to see a company committed to financial wellness at its core, making mission-aligned investments at a time when the market for funding is tightening. With this launch, Financial Finesse is taking a key leadership role as an arbiter of socially responsible FinTech, said Elaine Hagan, Associate Dean of Entrepreneurial Initiatives at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, who works with entrepreneurs to accelerate growth of their businesses and shares Davidson's views on social impact.

About Financial Finesse
Financial Finesse is the country's leading independent provider of unbiased workplace financial wellness coaching programs. Since 1999, the firm has helped tens of thousands of organizations improve their bottom lines and become more competitive by empowering their employees to achieve financial security. The company's award-winning financial wellness programs are made available to employees at no cost as an employer-sponsored benefit. With highly personalized and ongoing one-on-one coaching from CFP® professionals, AI-powered virtual coaching, live workshops, webcasts, educational tools and content, Financial Finesse reaches over 2.4 million individuals every year.

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Fintech, Investments

KSL Capital Partners Announces Promotions, Including Four New Partners

KSL Capital Partners | December 15, 2023

KSL Capital Partners, LLC ("KSL"), a leading investor in travel and leisure businesses, today announced its 2024 promotions, including the addition of four individuals to the firm's partnership. The following individuals have been promoted to Partner effective January 1, 2024. Kirk Adamson Martin Edsinger Kevin Rohnstock Tina Yu "Our people are our single most important asset, and we could not be more pleased to welcome four new Partners who reflect the strength of our firm and global team," said Eric Resnick, Chief Executive Officer and co-founder of KSL. "On behalf of the entire KSL team, I want to congratulate Kirk, Martin, Kevin and Tina on their well-deserved promotions to Partner and thank them for their unique strengths and exceptional leadership, which have been instrumental to KSL's success to date. Each will support our continued growth in the years to come." KSL also announced Michael Acierno and Harris Levinson have been promoted to Principal, effective January 1, 2024. "KSL is committed to building the next generation of private equity leaders and promoting from within our firm, and we are thrilled to see the continued progression of our team," said Peter McDermott, Chief Investment Officer and co-founder of KSL. "Mike and Harris both joined us as associates and are now key leaders in our tactical opportunities and credit fund strategies, and we thank them for their hard work and commitment. We look forward to their continued growth at KSL." Mr. Acierno, who focuses on tactical opportunities, and Mr. Levinson, who focuses on credit investments, are also members of the firm's Investment Committee. About Kirk Adamson Prior to joining KSL in 2017, Kirk was a Principal in Blackstone's Real Estate Debt Strategies team (BREDS) based in London. Prior to Blackstone, Kirk was an Associate in Deutsche Bank's Commercial Real Estate Group from 2010 to 2012. Earlier in his career, Kirk worked as an Investment Banking Analyst at Deutsche Bank, based in both New York and London. Kirk holds a B.S. in Accounting & Business Administration from Washington & Lee University, where he graduated magna cum laude. Kirk focuses on North American investments. About Martin Edsinger Prior to joining KSL in 2017, Martin worked as an Investment Manager with ARLE Capital Partners. Prior to ARLE Capital Partners, Martin worked as an Experienced Associate Consultant with Bain & Company and an Economic Analyst with NERA Economic Consulting. Martin graduated from The Stockholm School of Economics (SSE), where he holds a degree in Accounting and Financial Management and an MSc in Economics and Business. Martin focuses on European investments. About Kevin Rohnstock Kevin serves as the firm's General Counsel. Prior to joining KSL in 2011 as Chief Compliance Officer, Kevin served as Associate General Counsel of Royal Gold, Inc. from 2009 to 2011 and as Senior Corporate Counsel for Newmont Mining Corporation from 2005 to 2009. Kevin began his legal career in 2002 as an Associate in the Corporate and Securities Department of Brownstein Hyatt & Farber, P.C. Kevin is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the Legal Aid Foundation of Colorado. Kevin holds a B.A. from Holy Cross and a J.D. from the University of Denver. About Tina Yu Prior to joining KSL in 2011, Tina was an Investment Banking Analyst at Citigroup in the Real Estate group. Tina was awarded in 2018 The International Hotel Investment Forum (IHIF) and The International Society of Hospitality Consultants (ISHC) Young Leader Award and featured as one of the Influential Women in Hospitality by Hotel Magazine in 2018. Tina graduated magna cum laude from The University of Pennsylvania, where she holds a B.S. in Finance and Real Estate from the Wharton School and a B.A. in International Studies from the College of Arts and Sciences. Tina focuses on European investments. About KSL Capital Partners KSL Capital Partners, LLC is a private equity firm specializing in travel and leisure enterprises in five primary sectors: hospitality, recreation, clubs, real estate and travel services. KSL has offices in Denver, Colorado; Stamford, Connecticut; New York, New York; and London, England. KSL invests across three primary strategies through its equity, credit and tactical opportunities funds. KSL's current portfolio includes some of the premier properties in travel and leisure.

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Core Banking

Backbase Enters Into an Agreement With Danske Bank to Enhance Its Digital Customer Experience

Backbase | January 12, 2024

Backbase, the global leader in Engagement Banking, has made an agreement with Danske Bank, a leading Nordic bank based in Copenhagen, Denmark. This agreement provides Danske Bank with access to Backbase's Engagement Banking Platform, which will progressively be implemented across our digital channels in the coming years. This will enable Danske Bank to offer its customers a continuously improved digital customer experience, as the enhanced flexibility allows it to tailor its business operations around customer journeys. Frans Woelders, Chief Operating Officer at Danske Bank, highlights: “This engagement is a testament to our customer focus and our commitment to ensuring the best digital banking experience for the future. A new platform that works across the web, mobile apps, and our adviser tools is one of the ambitions in Danske Bank’s Forward ’28 strategy, and the agreement with Backbase is the next step towards achieving that ambition.” Our Engagement Banking Platform plays a pivotal role in achieving Modernization and simplification of the existing IT landscape by reducing the number of silo-ed channel applications. Mobile-first engagement model, establishing a customer-centric approach, seamlessly guiding customers between automated and expert advice. Unified platform, consolidating data, business logic, and workflows into a single, customer-centric platform for efficient journey orchestration, benefiting both customers and bank employees. Agility and freedom, enhancing flexibility to swiftly implement business capabilities and adapt to evolving market dynamics. Christian Bornfeld, Head of Personal Customers and Financial Crime Risk and Prevention at Danske Bank, says: “This platform will allow us to take our interaction with customers through our digital solutions to the next level and to introduce enhancements at greater speed than ever before. It will thus enable us to provide market-leading convenience and personalization for our customers with great insights, increased proactivity, and easy access to assistance and advice.” Jouk Pleiter, Founder and CEO of Backbase, shares, “We are thrilled to announce the engagement with Danske Bank, a visionary collaboration set to redefine the future of banking. Together, we will execute a bank-wide, digital transformation program and elevate Danske Bank's customer experience to new heights.” About Backbase Backbase is on a mission to re-architect banking around the customer. Backbase created the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform – a unified platform with the customer at the center, empowering banks to accelerate their digital transformation. From customer onboarding to servicing, loyalty, and loan origination, our single platform — open and frictionless, with ready-to-go apps — improves every aspect of the customer experience. Built from the ground up with the customer at the heart, our Engagement Banking Platform easily plugs into existing core banking systems and comes pre-integrated with the latest fintechs so financial institutions can innovate at scale. Industry analysts Forrester, Gartner, Celent, Omdia, and IDC continuously recognize Backbase’s category leadership. Over 120 financials around the world have embraced the Backbase Engagement Banking Platform - including AIB, Banorte, Barclays, BIAT, Bank of the Philippine Islands, BDO, Banque Saudi Fransi, BRD, Citibank, Citizens Bank, Discovery Bank, First National Bank, HDFC, Ila Bank, KeyBank, Lloyds Banking Group, NatWest, Navy Federal Credit Union, OTP Group, PostFinance, Raiffeisen, RBC, Standard Bank, Saudi National Bank, Société Générale, Truist, and TPBank.

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Fintech

KBRA Assigns Preliminary Ratings to APL Finance 2023-1 Designated Activity Company

KBRA | December 08, 2023

KBRA assigns preliminary ratings to four series of notes issued by APL Finance 2023-1 Designated Activity Company and APL Finance 2023-1 LLC (together, Ashland 2023-1), an aviation loan ABS transaction. Ashland 2023-1 represents the inaugural aviation loan ABS transaction that is sponsored and serviced by Ashland Place Finance LLC (APL or the Company). The Company is owned by Davidson Kempner Capital Management LP (DKCM), and, together with DKCM, is comprised of over 500 individuals operating out of seven offices with headquarters in New York City. Proceeds from the Notes will be used to acquire a portfolio of 11 loan facilities (the Facilities) comprised of 26 loans (the Assets, and together with the Facilities, the Portfolio). The 11 Facilities are limited recourse facilities. As of October 31, 2023, the Portfolio has an initial aggregate loan balance of approximately $350.8 million, an average Asset balance of $13.5 million, and a weighted average remaining loan term of approximately 2.8 years. The Portfolio has a weighted average seasoning of 18 months. The Facilities are secured by 19 narrowbody aircraft (56.4%), three widebody aircraft (40.0%) and four narrowbody host aircraft engines (3.6%) (the Underlying Collateral) on lease to 12 lessees located in 11 jurisdictions. As of October 31, 2023, the Underlying Collateral has a weighted average age of 10.0 years (excluding the engines) and an initial appraised value of approximately $612.2 million based on the average of half-life base values provided by three third-party appraisers as of the second quarter of 2023. Disclosures Further information on key credit considerations, sensitivity analyses that consider what factors can affect these credit ratings and how they could lead to an upgrade or a downgrade, and ESG factors (where they are a key driver behind the change to the credit rating or rating outlook) can be found in the full rating report referenced above. A description of all substantially material sources that were used to prepare the credit rating and information on the methodology(ies) (inclusive of any material models and sensitivity analyses of the relevant key rating assumptions, as applicable) used in determining the credit rating is available in the Information Disclosure Form(s) located here. Information on the meaning of each rating category can be located here. Further disclosures relating to this rating action are available in the Information Disclosure Form(s) referenced above. Additional information regarding KBRA policies, methodologies, rating scales and disclosures are available at www.kbra.com. About KBRA Kroll Bond Rating Agency, LLC (KBRA) is a full-service credit rating agency registered with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as an NRSRO. Kroll Bond Rating Agency Europe Limited is registered as a CRA with the European Securities and Markets Authority. Kroll Bond Rating Agency UK Limited is registered as a CRA with the UK Financial Conduct Authority. In addition, KBRA is designated as a designated rating organization by the Ontario Securities Commission for issuers of asset-backed securities to file a short form prospectus or shelf prospectus. KBRA is also recognized by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners as a Credit Rating Provider.

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Financial Management

Finix Launches Payouts: A Standalone Solution for Fast and Secure Money Movement

Finix | January 10, 2024

Finix, the payments technology provider enabling businesses to accept and send payments online or in-person, announced the launch of Payouts, its latest standalone product line. Payouts enables businesses across all industries to efficiently send money at scale, regardless of whether they utilize the broader Finix payments platform. Businesses often encounter challenges when they need to disburse funds due to siloed payment flows and needing to manage multiple vendor relationships to send and receive payments through various payment methods. In addition, businesses can be delayed waiting for bank approvals and integration resources. Now, Finix Payouts enables fast and reliable money movement–to one or many recipients at once–via a single developer-friendly API. Payouts has many use cases such as business-to-business (B2B) account payables, gig economy wages, insurance claims, tax refunds, sales commissions, tips, contractor payouts, and more. "Businesses can encounter many challenges when sending money at scale. Teams may face cumbersome technical integrations, manual payment operation workflows, and cash flow challenges, which can create a reconciliation nightmare," said Richie Serna, CEO and co-founder of Finix. "With Finix Payouts, companies of all sizes can get started in a few hours, configure their payment flows and methods to satisfy their business needs, help alleviate complications and intermediaries, and start sending money without spending an extensive amount of time or resources. Instead, they can focus on what matters most: their product, customers, and business growth." "Launching this separate product line, Payouts, is further evidence that Finix is continually and rapidly evolving to meet the dynamic needs of businesses," said Anthony Sharett, President of Pathward®, N.A. and Pathward Financial, Inc. "Pathward is proud to deepen our partnership with Finix and continue working together to broaden accessibility to the financial system." Finix will utilize Mastercard Send™ and Visa Direct to enable card-based payouts allowing U.S. businesses to quickly send money to bank accounts or eligible cards. Key features of Payouts include 24/7 Card Payout Availability Disburse funds to cards in near real-time1, 365 days a year – including weekends and holidays. Real-time Bank Account Validation With Finix's integrations, businesses can get up and running quickly and seamlessly link and validate bank accounts in real-time. Flexible Payment Maximums Based on Industry: Businesses can have custom disbursement limits for push-to-card and bank transfers to effortlessly scale their processes. All-in-One Platform By integrating with Finix's complete solution, users can send payments via ACH, real-time payments, and to cards with Mastercard Send™ and Visa Direct, in a single API. Embedded Compliance Finix conducts the necessary compliance checks on recipients ahead of sending money between parties. Reliable, Detailed Reporting Businesses can manage their payout services with out of the box tools, customizable reporting, and detailed recordkeeping. "In today's digital environment, it's vital that businesses of all sizes can securely access and send funds in near real-time, whenever and wherever their work takes them," said Silvana Hernandez, Executive Vice President, Product and Engineering, North America, Mastercard. "By working with Finix, we're helping businesses meet the demands of our always-on digital world, enabling them to seamlessly integrate Mastercard Send into their day-to-day operations to move money safer, faster and more efficiently." "Visa Direct provides a single point of access and reach to over 8.5B+ endpoints capability, including 3B+ eligible cards, 3B+ bank accounts and 2.5B+ wallets around the world," said Yanilsa Gonzalez-Ore, North America Head, Visa Direct. "This collaboration reflects our shared commitment to streamlining global money movement and we're excited to bring streamlined disbursement capabilities to more businesses across the U.S., enabled by Visa Direct." About Finix Finix is a full-stack payment processor and infrastructure provider powering customers such as Clubessential, Passport, and Kabbage. From startups to publicly traded companies, Finix offers everything needed to deliver a world-class payments experience. Leading software platforms, marketplaces, retail, and e-commerce businesses use Finix's universal payments API and dashboard to accept payments, automate workflows, enhance customer experiences, and quickly grow revenue.

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