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FINANCE AS A CATALYST FOR POSITIVE CHANGE

finance

The fundamental role the financial sector plays in helping secure the objectives set out in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) was made clear at the opening of the SDG tent yesterday in Davos during the World Economic Forum.

For the first time ever, the top five risks reported in the World Economic Forum Global Risks Report related to the environment. There is consensus that we’ve reached a pivotal moment as values and value come together and align for the first time. It’s manifestly clear when you consider that physical risks such as forest fires and flooding are impacting the risk and value of portfolios. Stakeholders and clients are also demanding that the industry evolves and meets today’s challenges. Organizational performance will be compromised if environmental considerations are ignored, panelists agreed.

The dialogue around finance, sustainable finance and climate change has significantly developed over the past decade from one that largely focused on theory to one that is ready help galvanize huge sums.

“Capitalism has failed because of its focus on short-term profitability and performance. Companies need to be measured not just on their finances, but on how they use their resources to serve their community. If you are a leader, you need to ask yourself: How are your stakeholders, not just your shareholders, being served by what you are doing?,” said Andre Hoffmann, President of InTent and Vice Chairman of Roche Holding Ltd, in the opening panel of the SDG tent.

The UN estimates that the gap in financing to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals amounts to $2.5 trillion per year in developing countries alone. If world leaders are serious about reaching the SDGs, the overall economic and financial system needs to refocus in a very short time period, with little time for incremental change.

The private finance sector has an essential role to play in closing this gap, thereby contributing to the achievement of the SDGs. At the same time, both private clients and institutional investors are increasingly seeking sustainable investment solutions for. As a consequence, the market share of sustainable investments has been growing in key markets across the globe.

 

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ERSTE BANK HUNGARY IMPROVES AND SECURES THE REMOTE BANKING EXPERIENCE WITH ONESPAN MOBILE SECURITY

ONESPAN

Leading Hungarian bank deploys OneSpan’s Mobile Security Suite to one million customers to make mobile banking convenient while fighting fraud and meeting PSD2 requirements

 

OneSpan™ (NASDAQ: OSPN), the global leader in securing remote banking transactions, today announced that Erste Bank Hungary, a subsidiary of Erste Group Bank AG, one of the leading banks in Central and Eastern Europe, has integrated OneSpan’s Mobile Security Suite into its banking app MobilBank. Erste Bank Hungary selected Mobile Security Suite to enable and protect online and mobile transactions and to comply with PSD2 requirements for authentication and dynamic linking.

The European Payment Council has stated that social engineering attacks continue to increase and remain instrumental in fraud schemes, often in combination with malware.[1] Erste Bank Hungary chose to implement OneSpan’s Mobile Security Suite to protect against potential social engineering and malware attacks directed at its customers. OneSpan’s technology enables banks to integrate application shielding, biometric authentication and transaction signing.

Erste Bank Hungary added Mobile Security Suite’s Cronto visual transaction signing to replace the bank’s SMS authentication with push authentication for login and transaction signing. This new process improves security and eliminates significant costs related to SMS delivery. OneSpan’s Cronto technology also helps fight social engineering attacks like phishing, while enhancing the customer experience by  enabling transaction signing using a color QR code.

“OneSpan’s proven technology will help us maintain our leading position in the market without compromising on security or the customer experience,” said Erste Bank Head of Digital Services, Akos Andras Molnar. “As part of this roll-out, our customers can also make online purchases using push notification with any retailer connecting to Erste Bank via the 3-D Secure protocol.”

“Criminal hackers continue to target banking customers as social engineering remains a preferred technique,” said OneSpan CEO, Scott Clements. “In their search for security solutions, banks need to consider cost, convenience and regulatory compliance. OneSpan’s technologies address these concerns so that banks can focus on providing a secure and convenient customer experience.”

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HOW WILL LENDERS TREAT THE FINANCIAL SYMPTOMS OF COVID19?

FINANCIAL

COULD the coronavirus pandemic spark a financial crisis similar to that which was seen in 2008? Tim Kirby, Group Commercial Director of the global fintech Monevo, a personal lending marketplace and platform, discusses how Covid-19 could play out for lenders.

The 2008 financial crisis, explains Kirby, was about credit over-exposure. While strains are apparent in the money markets today, it is not 2008, when risky mortgage investments in the US banking sector and into the UK caused everything to collapse.

Kirby said: “The financial crash was self-inflicted for many reasons, including poor income verification, poor credit quality assessment and poor employment verification (self-certification). It was asset-backed predominantly as it was led by sub-prime mortgage lending.

“My thoughts are that once the virus is contained, the economy will most likely turn back on within a few months, however recovery to current levels will be somewhat longer.”

Kirby predicts that it is very possible this downturn will be shorter than the 2008 financial crisis based on a number of factors.

He said: “The financial crash was either at a house purchase level or encouraging debt consolidation through re-mortgaging that placed unsecured debt into secured debt over a longer term. The consumer then ramped up unsecured debt again with the same poor assessment applied and eventually ran out of headroom.

“This was propped up by the capital markets and warehouse funding lines being supported through securitisation models that rated the loans held in the bonds as AAA.”

Kirby adds that the coronavirus outbreak is more micro and consumer-led than the recession was.

“There is still a great deal of uncertainty, but consumers are certainly going to experience affordability difficulties in the short-term, perhaps three to six months,” Kirby explains. “Lenders are already tightening their criteria and that could lead to more tactical initiatives being introduced.”

Kirby points to the potential introduction of black-listing certain occupation types most affected, and reducing opening balances to applicants that they are most prepared to lend to.

He said: “At Monevo, we have been speaking to lenders who are predicting a 50% slow down, with some pausing to assess short-term strategies, as clearly there are aspects of credit / risk scorecards that aren’t working at the moment.”

Kirby also adds that access to capital markets will be a challenge in the short term: “Lenders who don’t lend off balance sheet may become constrained and you would have to question the Peer-to-Peer lender impact as the returns and appetite of investors could be under threat.”

“Additionally, those lenders nervous about funding certain cohorts of consumers, now have those very same consumers currently in their loan books.

“So, for lenders, focussing on forbearance and other support activity to protect these consumers in the short term of 3-6 months, will be a priority.

Kirby takes the view that it is important lenders relieve some repayment pressure from consumers in the short term, so they can rehabilitate when the new normal arrives.

“Lender feedback in the last week is that they haven’t seen a massive increase in defaults, it’s very early days though. Anecdotal feedback from lenders that are strong and well-funded is that they expect strong growth when the market returns, and that those who are optimised and agile will see an upswing.

“What I am hearing, is that consumers will remedially seek liquidity through debt, as the world normalises to address the short-term pain being experienced at present.”

Kirby adds that lenders who look at credit risk closely when the upturn comes in three to six months could see dramatic growth, albeit from a reduced base.

He added: “From Monevo’s perspective, day trading is difficult to predict and lenders are re-assessing short-term strategies.  We are using the time at present to apply additional focus on our internal tech pipeline in driving the product development roadmap forward to continue to deliver great solutions for our partners.

“We want to ensure when normality returns and the upswing in both demand and supply inevitably happens, that we are supporting our origination partners and the lenders on our panel as effectively as possible.”

 

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