Bitcoin and Crypto

Okcoin to Promote Women into Crypto with its $1M Initiative

Okcoin_to_Promote
Okcoin has announced that it will promote its grand program for bringing more women into crypto: Bitcoin for Fairness and Ladies in Bitcoins. Okcoin has outlined cryptocurrency as more inclusive for building, learning, and connecting. It will span blockchain development, education, career mentorship, and more. As a part of this initiative, Okcoin has also partnered with Emmy-winning journalist Natalie Brunell host of the top-ranking "Coin Stories" podcast, and Randi Zuckerberg, inaugural brand advisor of the company.

As more than 40% of Okcoin's customers are female, it wants to lessen the gender gap that outweighs traditional investments such as mutual funds, stocks, and bonds. Therefore, to address this, Okcoin has recently set a goal of having a 50% female customer base by 2025. In addition, it has allocated $1 million in terms of diversity-oriented grants.

Web3 is still young enough for women to get involved at the ground level and lead the next generation of innovation, which will be defined by digital assets, decentralized finance, and NFTs. We're excited to support Bitcoin for Fairness and Ladies in Bitcoin in making this possible. Crypto adoption may be lower among women right now, but with education, career resources, and community support, we can change this."

Hong Fang, CEO of Okcoin.

Okcoin also mentions that members of underrepresented populations can apply at okcoin.com/cryptoforall to support crypto-oriented work. Up until now, Okcoin has granted over $1 million to Bitcoin Core developers, who volunteer to build Bitcoin blockchain for anyone.

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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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Payments

ServiceNow announces five-year strategic alliance with Visa to transform payment services

ServiceNow | January 25, 2024

ServiceNow the leading digital workflow company making the world work better for everyone, announced a five-year strategic alliance with Visa, a world leader in digital payments, to transform payment services. The initial phase includes the launch of ServiceNow Disputes Management, Built with Visa—a single, connected disputes resolution solution for issuers. Managing disputes currently involves multiple systems and teams, and many financial institutions often use siloed solutions that are not fully integrated with one another. This disconnected approach creates complexity, delays crediting and resolving disputes, can create potential losses, and ultimately, impacts the customer experience. ServiceNow Disputes Management, Built with Visa is a streamlined solution that blends the best of ServiceNow’s AI-first platform and the company’s Financial Services Operations solution with Visa’s deep technology investments. Each year, Visa helps prevent $30 billion in fraud for consumers and small businesses using cutting edge technology, including tokenization and AI, deployed throughout the entire payments ecosystem, including disputes management. “At the heart of our alliance is a commitment to build industry-leading products that help financial institutions boost employee productivity, create great customer experiences, and drive business growth,” said John Ball, senior vice president and general manager, customer and industry workflows, ServiceNow. “By making Visa’s services available through ServiceNow’s intelligent, AI-first platform, we’re powering innovation and setting a new standard in the payments industry.” “Solving customer pain points is core to our business at Visa, and collaborating with an industry leader like ServiceNow will allow us to help issuer partners resolve disputes more efficiently,” said Vanessa Colella, global head of innovation and digital partnerships, Visa. “ServiceNow and Visa look forward to offering clients the latest technology solutions, so they can focus on delivering an excellent experience for their customers.” ServiceNow Disputes Management, Built with Visa will unite the entire dispute management process – from the first indication that a charge is questionable to early resolution, investigation, and final resolution. It includes a single experience for solving disputes so that employees can have high quality engagements with cardholders, as well as dashboards, automation, alerts, and the ability to audit all transactions. Two standout features enhance its efficiency: a modern, user-friendly low code platform that allows financial institutions to make swift updates to their disputes management process, and generative AI-powered experiences that improve customer intake and agent investigation. The solution also incorporates ongoing changes to disputes rules and applies industry best practices for processes, workflows, and staying ahead of fraud. “Banks should prioritize their CX efforts around the drivers that most influence customer loyalty. For example, resolving problems and issues quickly remains one of the most important drivers of CX and retention for many banks,” wrote Alyson Clarke, principal analyst at Forrester Research. “Banks that adopt modern and flexible digital banking processing platforms will find it easier and faster to deliver innovative (and profitable) customer solutions.”1 ServiceNow is committed to revolutionizing financial services with new products and services. This initial integration marks the beginning of a more extensive, multi-phased relationship between Visa and ServiceNow. The companies will continue to build new solutions and will distribute Visa products and services to joint customers. Together, ServiceNow and Visa will help clients improve dispute management. 1Forrester, Consumer Banking Trends, 2024: Trends Shaping Retail Consumer Banking In The Current Economic Climate, Jan 17, 2024 About ServiceNow ServiceNow makes the world work better for everyone. Our cloud‑based platform and solutions help digitize and unify organizations so that they can find smarter, faster, better ways to make work flow. So employees and customers can be more connected, more innovative, and more agile. And we can all create the future we imagine. The world works with ServiceNowTM.

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Core Banking

MidFirst Bank Extends Western Expansion with Entrance into Nevada Market

MidFirst Bank | January 08, 2024

MidFirst Bank, the largest privately held bank in the nation, recently announced its expansion into the Southern Nevada market. This effort is led by Michael Pizzi, who will serve as Senior Vice President and Nevada Market Executive, and a team of bankers from Bank of Nevada who have extensive area expertise, deep regional relationships and a proven track record of delivering exceptional support to their customers and the communities they serve. This expansion extends MidFirst’s growth in the western United States, building upon the Bank’s recently announced entrance into the new Southern California markets of Santa Barbara, San Diego and South Bay. “We are pleased to continue executing MidFirst’s growth strategy with our entrance into the Southern Nevada market,” said Jeff Records, Chairman and CEO of MidFirst Bank. “Michael and his team have a strong foundation in Nevada and a reputation for excellence, and we’re confident they are the best team to develop our new market presence. Las Vegas has experienced tremendous growth over the last decade, and MidFirst is ideally positioned to support this thriving community, providing robust banking service offerings and leading customer service.” “We look forward to bringing MidFirst Bank to Southern Nevada and growing our presence in the region,” said Michael Pizzi, Senior Vice President and Nevada Market Executive of MidFirst Bank. “We have a solid team of experienced bankers in place to lead our market development, and together we will deliver a unique brand of banking to this community with an emphasis on personal relationships, first class customer service, expert financial guidance, and community support. Over the next year, we will focus on expanding our team, so we can best serve the community with a comprehensive suite of banking products and services to include private banking, mortgage, SBA, and treasury management services.” Michael joins MidFirst Bank as Senior Vice President and Nevada Market Executive. His career spans 25 years with a focus on business banking and middle-market companies. He most recently served as Executive Vice President and Managing Director of Commercial Banking at Bank of Nevada and prior to that served in various management positions at U.S. Bank for over 14 years. His clients are participants in a variety of industries, including medical, law, manufacturing, wholesale, distribution, and commercial real estate. Michael is an active member of the community and serves as a member of the Latin Chamber of Commerce. He is a past board member of both Junior Achievement of Southern Nevada and the Discovery Children’s Museum. Michael brings with him a team of experienced banking professionals from Bank of Nevada to serve the Southern Nevada Market, which includes Senior Vice President Joyce Smith and Senior Vice President Jeff Miracle. About MidFirst Bank With $36.6 billion in assets, Oklahoma City-based MidFirst Bank is the largest privately owned bank in the nation and provides commercial lending, wealth management, private banking and mortgage servicing nationally. MidFirst Bank has locations in Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oklahoma, Texas and Utah. MidFirst Bank serves California through 1st Century Bank, a division of MidFirst Bank.

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Tax groups have a meaningful opportunity to enhance the value of their organization’s digital transformation effort. This priority, which involves migrating tax automation to the cloud in tandem with larger enterprise resource planning (ERP) cloud migrations is becoming even more time sensitive. This white paper examines leading

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