Stocks - Wall Street Holds Early Gains, Lifted by Oil Bounce, Senate Action

U.S. stock markets opened higher after two days of losses as a measure of confidence returned thanks to a rebound in crude oil prices and the Senate's passing of another economic support package, which tops up the existing program for small businesses by more than $400 billion while also channelling more money to hospitals.
By 10:10 AM ET (1410 GMT), the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 405 points, or 1.8%, at 23,424 points. The S&P 500 was up 1.7% and the Nasdaq Composite was up 2%.
U.S. crude futures bounced smartly after President Donald Trump tweeted threatening military action against Iran if it "harassed" U.S. shipping, and after Russia's oil minister Alexander Novak said he thought the collapse in global oil demand had run its course.

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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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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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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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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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Financial Management, Payments

Orange Finances Money Mali and TerraPay Forge Strategic Partnership for Seamless Cross-border Payments

TerraPay | January 09, 2024

Orange Finances Money Mali, a leading Electronic Money Establishment and subsidiary of Orange Mali, is proud to announce a groundbreaking partnership with TerraPay, a global cross-border payments network with an extensive reach. This partnership marks a significant milestone in the digital financial landscape for Mali, connecting over 12 Million Malians to the vast diaspora residing across the globe, including other African countries. Bringing together Orange Finances Money Mali's commitment to promoting financial inclusion and TerraPay's proven expertise in facilitating secure cross-border payments, this partnership is set to empower Malians with innovative and seamless financial services. Financial inclusion continues to be one of the biggest challenges across West Africa and Orange Finances Money Mali has been dedicated to bridging this gap by striving to boost accessibility and inclusion through their services. One of the key highlights of this alliance is the ease with which Orange Money Mali customers can either cash out the funds received in their wallets or directly use them for everyday needs, including bill payments, supermarket purchases, and person-to-person transfers. Orange Finances Money is dedicated to issuing, managing, and distributing electronic money under the Orange Money brand in Mali. Djeneba Tandjigora, Chief of Transfer Services and Core Business at Orange Finances Money Mali, expressed his enthusiasm about the collaboration, stating, "Orange Money Mali customers can now receive money transfers from several countries using TerraPay's global network. This strategic collaboration simplifies transactions making them quick and secure, enhances the customer experience for Orange Money users and strengthens financial inclusion in Mali." Amel Kane, Regional Sales Manager Francophone West Africa at TerraPay, views this collaboration as an opportunity to enhance the quality of service and customer satisfaction. "With a direct connection to Orange Finances Money Mali, TerraPay can ensure a seamless cross-border payment experience, reducing operational issues and providing prompt assistance to our partner's clients. This collaboration reinforces our commitment to expanding our direct rails and continually improving our service offerings," stated Amel. Combining Orange Finances Money Mali's rapidly growing client database and TerraPay's wide network spanning 120+ receive countries, 210+ send countries, 7.5Bn+ bank accounts, and 2.1Bn+ mobile wallets – this partnership is poised to make a significant impact on the region's digital and financial services landscape. Partnering with Mali's biggest mobile money operator enables TerraPay to stay true to its commitment to quality and provide the best cross-border payment services in the region. Orange Finances Money Mali and TerraPay's strategic partnership not only strengthens connectivity between Mali and the global financial network but also positions both entities for accelerated growth in the digital payments landscape. The convenience and accessibility offered by this collaboration will undoubtedly benefit industry players, the public, customers, and merchants alike. About TerraPay TerraPay simplifies the movement of money everywhere – providing a single connection to the most expansive cross-border payments network regulated in 29 global markets and enabling payments to 120+ receive countries, 210+ send countries, 7.5Bn+ bank accounts and 2.1Bn+ mobile wallets. TerraPay is on a mission to connect a borderless financial world, making moving money everywhere instant, reliable, transparent and fully compliant. TerraPay pushes the boundaries for global businesses – ranging from banks, fintechs and money-transfer operators to travel businesses, creator economy platforms and e-commerce marketplaces – while driving financial inclusion in even the most inaccessible markets. Founded in 2014, TerraPay is headquartered in London, with global offices in Bangalore, Dubai, Miami, Bogota, Dar es Salaam, Kampala, Hague, Dakar, Joburg, Nairobi, Milan, Singapore and is expanding rapidly, having received funding from leading investors, including the IFC (the World Bank), Prime Ventures, Partech Africa and Visa. About Orange Finances Money Mali Orange Finances Money Mali is an Electronic Money Establishment, subsidiary of Orange Mali and approved by the Central Bank of West African States. Created in 2015, the company guarantees the issuance, management, and distribution of electronic money under the Orange Money brand in Mali.

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Spotlight

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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