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VATGLOBAL LAUNCHES EUROPEAN VAT INFORMATION PORTAL VLEARN TO PROMOTE REGULATORY KNOWLEDGE

The platform is the first key central repository for EU VAT information for businesses to use themselves

 

VATGlobal, the leaders in outsourced international VAT and tax solutions, has today launched its new knowledge platform, vlearn. Drafted by VATGlobal’s internal team of chartered tax and accountancy professionals, vlearn aims to provide businesses with some of the most commonly sought-after local country rules for VAT issues across Europe. Currently live and accessible online, the service is a one-stop service for users to find information to help navigate the intricacies of VAT in local EU countries.

 

Developed by a highly experienced team, with a combined 45 years of VAT experience spanning advisory through to compliance and reporting, vlearn aims to provide clear and precise European VAT knowledge for businesses of all sizes. The content was put through a rigorous editing and filing process, to ensure that it is as clear as possible for users, whether small businesses or major organisations with dedicated in-house tax teams. The portal covers specific themes and principles on VAT, all the way through to the country level. The content is then stratified, from clear definitions and entry-level descriptors through to expert-level content into the minutiae of individual VAT regimes, importantly enabling the users to apply this on a day to day basis in the business with the help of application tools provided alongside.

 

The product has been developed over a number of years by VATGlobal. Regularly, organisations need to use several different solutions and resource bases to try and make sense of the VAT rules, with many of these being developed as a separate entity to the core tax business – and crucially, often with the content not developed by the core tax team.

 

As Gareth Kobrin, CEO of VATGlobal explains: “vlearn was born out of our internal teams’ frustration with a lack of resource in the market for businesses to use themselves for the day to day queries that repeatedly came up; For businesses, it’s a huge time-sink and areas of concern, so we developed our own resource, using the knowledge of our vastly experienced team, and importantly the practical experience. Along with giving clear information to users, vlearn is also vastly cost effective to quickly clear up day to day VAT queries versus the resulting fines and penalties for getting VAT wrong.”

 

vlearn is launched at a time of technological upheaval within the world of tax. The digitisation of VAT processes continues apace across Europe, drawing from the initial work done in Latin America. This has led to some developed economies such as Italy implementing real-time controls on invoicing and vastly shortening the window that businesses have to become compliant – or to rectify previous mistakes. France has also begun to draw up plans to introduce a similar transition to that of Italy.

 

Aspects of global uncertainty mean that international regulation may change swiftly, heightening the need for those in charge of tax compliance to be able to access accurate information in a timely manner.

 

The product has been tested by several existing VATGlobal customers over a number of months to ensure vlearn, both with the website layout and its content, retained a focus on clear user experience and clarity. Feedback proved using VATGlobal’s vlearn solution, even in beta, saw a real reduction in the time it takes to find and apply the right information to ensure compliance and best practice for customers.

 

vlearn also fits into the existing suite of technologies from VATGlobal, complimenting vflow and vfile to provide end-to-end support for businesses of all sizes, and employees of all levels of tax experience.

 

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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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