Wall Street Pushes Higher Amid Deal Flurry

U.S. stocks pushed higher after the open Monday, as global macro concerns eased and investors took on board positive company-specific news, including a flurry of midcap mergers and some upbeat earnings guidance. The S&P 500 index was trading 6 points, or 0.2%, higher by 0935 ET (1435 GMT), with the NASDAQ Composite up 33 points, or 0.4%. The Dow Jones gained 27 points, or 0.1%. Fears of major military action in the Middle East have dimmed, although the Iranian authorities are under pressure from domestic protests over the downing of a Ukranian passenger plane last week. At the same time, the trade spat between China and the U.S., the two largest economies in the world, looks set to come to an end with Chinese negotiators traveling to Washington this week to sign a phase one trade deal with the U.S.

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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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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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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, Fintech

ONE ROCK CAPITAL PARTNERS EXPANDS OPERATING PARTNER TEAM WITH ADDITION OF SHANNON CRESPIN

One Rock Capital Partners | December 18, 2023

One Rock Capital Partners, LLC a value-oriented, operationally focused private equity firm, is pleased to announce that Shannon Crespin has joined its team of Operating Partners. Ms. Crespin will be involved with evaluating prospective investments and building capability of One Rock's portfolio companies in the disciplines of integrated supply chain, working capital management and planning. Ms. Crespin joins One Rock with nearly 30 years of experience working in an array of supply chain-related disciplines, both in-industry and as a consultant. She previously served as Chief Operations Officer of Tonal, where she led end-to-end operations, research and development and program management for a fast-growing fitness equipment and technology business. Prior to Tonal, Ms. Crespin served as the Vice President Global Orthopedics Supply Chain for Depuy Synthes, the orthopedics company of Johnson & Johnson. Ms. Crespin had earlier supply chain roles with Medtronic, Keane Consulting, Lucent Technologies and Health South Rehabilitation. "Ongoing efforts at One Rock to grow our Operating Partner team are designed to enhance our ability to improve the businesses in which we invest," said R. Scott Spielvogel, Managing Partner of One Rock. "We often encounter businesses with significant opportunities in various aspects of supply chain, and we look forward to having Shannon as part of our effort to augment portfolio company performance." "I admire One Rock's emphasis on building better businesses, often in complex situations. I very much look forward to working with the Firm's portfolio companies to drive a higher level of execution across supply chain disciplines," said Ms. Crespin. Utilizing the expertise of Operating Partners has been an integral part of One Rock's strategy since its inception. Shannon Crespin joins a growing team, which now includes 27 Operating Partners at One Rock. ABOUT ONE ROCK CAPITAL PARTNERS, LLC One Rock makes investments in companies with potential for growth and operational improvement using a rigorous approach that utilizes highly experienced Operating Partners to identify, acquire and enhance businesses in select industries. The involvement of these Operating Partners is designed to afford One Rock the ability to conduct due diligence and consummate acquisitions and investments in all types of situations, regardless of complexity. One Rock works collaboratively with company management and its Operating Partners to develop a comprehensive business plan focused on growing the enterprise and its profitability to enhance long-term value.

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Financial Management

Finastra showcases strategies for lending growth and compliance at its User Connect series

Finastra | December 05, 2023

Finastra, a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, brought together leaders from community banks and credit unions across the United States to discuss innovation in lending technology, operational and strategic initiatives, and trends in mortgage and retail lending. The series, open to current Finastra lending customers, was hosted in Chicago, Orlando, Dallas, and Scottsdale from September through mid-November. With presentations from Lending business unit product and compliance experts, various financial institutions, and industry partners, User Connect explores how financial institutions can maximize their fintech solutions, offering strategies for achieving increased growth, productivity, and compliance readiness. User Connect is a unique opportunity to come together with customers and ecosystem partners to share ideas and best practices. Insights from the event are invaluable, and we look forward to conversations like this throughout the year so that we can enable more seamless customer journeys and more productive time to revenue for lending teams across the US. Mitch Lucas, head of retail lending at Finastra Throughout the series, several significant takeaways were highlighted: Optimization of tech stack is key: To generate leads more quickly and easily, nurture these leads, and increase chances to convert them to being a customer, a modern end-to-end tech stack is crucial. If a borrower encounters any technical obstacles from application through the onboarding process, the risk of losing the lead to a competitor increases significantly. Automation and streamlined processes address operational challenges: To process loans quickly and underwrite more efficiently, leveraging integrated services, embracing workflow automation, and utilizing document management for a paperless loan file eliminates many operational challenges. Systems that migrate borrower information from the point-of-sale to the loan origination system automatically reduce human error, decrease incidences of regulatory compliance issues, and speeds up prequalification, approvals, and processing times. Research from Finastra and East & Partners supports this takeaway, noting that lending process automation remains a major area for improvement, with significant room for growth in approvals, closing, origination, and servicing. 11% of respondents said they utilize automated approvals, while just 10% offer automated loan closing processes. Even fewer respondents have succeeded with origination and servicing automation, at 7% and 6% respectively. Importance of readiness for increased loan applications: According to the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA), the mortgage origination market is expected to improve by 19% to $1.95T in 2024, a rebound after the estimated 30% drop from 2022 to 2023 and 50% fall from 2021 to 2022. While volume has significantly slowed, lenders must be ready for an uptick in applications, so they do not lose leads to competitors. Financial institutions can prepare by investing in scalable technologies, setting up parameters for automatic prequalification, focusing on personalized experiences, and building self-service portals for document management. Section 1071 is looming, and financial institutions need to be ready: Although Section 1071 of the Dodd-Frank Act is currently wrapped up in ongoing litigation, borrowers and compliance experts agree preparation is important. Users throughout the series were polled and noted that banks and credit unions are paying close attention in order to train staff and align processes. Attendees agreed that since commercial lending practices are often challenging to implement, preparing early is critical should the litigation fail. Supporting younger generations on their homebuying journey: According to a presentation from David Lykken, chief transformational officer at Transformational Mortgage Solutions, the typical American dream of home ownership has not gone away, but younger buyers are struggling to break into the market, noting that people aged 28-38 have only a 28.87% rate of home ownership. When rates decrease, an increase in this number is expected, but planning is important. Brian Bone, president and CEO at American Partners Federal Credit Union stated during a panel discussion, "My kids are very concerned about their ability to buy a home. We as an industry need to do everything we can to help them, whether that means credit coaching, down payment assistance, or other programs. This also includes ensuring we offer the best of both worlds – the human touch of financial services with a technology stack suitable for their needs." Brian Bone added, "The User Connect series in Orlando was a valuable experience for me and my credit union. I learned a lot from Finastra's experts and partners. I also appreciated the opportunity to network with other financial institutions and share best practices. Finastra's User Connect series is a great event for anyone who wants to stay ahead of the curve in the lending industry." About Finastra Finastra is a global provider of financial software applications and marketplaces, and launched the leading open platform for innovation, FusionFabric.cloud, in 2017. It serves institutions of all sizes, providing award-winning software solutions and services across Lending, Payments, Treasury & Capital Markets and Universal Banking (Retail, Digital and Commercial Banking) for banks to support direct banking relationships and grow through indirect channels, such as embedded finance and Banking as a Service. Its pioneering approach and commitment to open finance and collaboration is why it is trusted by more than 8,000 institutions, including 45 of the world's top 50 banks. For more information, visit finastra.com

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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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