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WATERGATES LAUNCHES OWN APP TO HELP FUTURE PROOF THE PRACTICE’S COMMUNICATION STRATEGY

The OneApp platform from MyFirmsApp will make it easier for the firm to communicate digitally with clients, aid practice management and support its marketing programme  

MyFirmsApp, developers of the leading OneApp platform for accounting firms worldwide, today announced a new contract with the accounting practice, Watergates. The three-office firm has chosen MyFirmsApp to develop its first custom App to help make it easier to communicate digitally with clients and prospects, aid client management and to support a pro-active marketing programme.

The order was signed at the recent Accountex exhibition in London following a thorough evaluation of available solutions by the Watergates team. Farook Chaka, Managing Director, Watergates takes up the story. “We are always on the lookout for innovative new products that will make it easier to communicate with clients and before visiting Accountex, had already identified the need for an App. We had even thought of developing our own but were so impressed by the MyFirmsApp presentation, we decided to buy their customised solution.”

Farook believes that having their own App will help future-proof the practice and solve the communication challenge so many accounting firms now face. He explains: “So many of our emails now end up in junk folders and our clients complain that they haven’t received them. Push notification messaging will provide us with a far better way of communicating that we can track and identify whether clients have received the message. Use of a digital communications platform offers the real benefit of keeping everything all in the one place.”

Watergates plans to use push notifications as an integral part of its marketing programme and sees these new communication channels as very much part of a more pro-active service that post millennials and the Z generation now expect from their accountants. These pop-up notifications can be used to help communicate with clients and contacts quickly and easily and delivery can be automated to individuals and groups, which almost immediately ‘ping’ onto the home screen of client’s mobile devices. They have a 93 percent open rate which means that these messages are almost always read – typically, within minutes of delivery. This functionality presents firms, such as Watergates, with the opportunity to automate the distribution of content, ranging from reminders about tax deadlines, to news on services and invites to webinars.

Farook comments: “We are gearing up for the future as new technologies will inevitably allow clients to do more compliance work for themselves. It is up to us to transition to a more pro-active advisory service and a tailored digital communications platform will help us to achieve this goal. Our long-term aim is to transition all clients to the cloud and consolidate all the Apps our clients are using into our custom Watergates App platform to reduce complexity and confusion.”

Daniel Richards, Strategic Partnerships Director, MyFirmsApp commented: “Watergates knew exactly what they needed to future-proof their communication strategy and immediately saw the benefit of buying a customisable platform that firms worldwide are already using. This is a great firm that is putting digital at the heart of their practice and looking for new ways to connect with clients. This strengthening of bonds will give them the flexibility to grow and and help retain control by making all the software the firm and clients use accessible from a single place, the new Watergates App.”

The Watergates App is now available to download.

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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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