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BANKING NEWS FLASH January 16, 2014

Table of Contents Sales & Marketing ................................................................................................................. 3 Finance ................................................................................................................................. 9 Technology .......................................................................................................................... 13 Strategy .............................................................................................................................. 17

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Sales & Marketing Market Vectors unveils new Short High-Yield Municipal Index ETF January 15, 2014 | BBR Market Vectors ETFs has unveiled a new municipal income-focused ETF, the Market Vectors Short High-Yield Municipal Index ETF (SHYD), to track an index that targets exposure to the shorter end of the municipal yield curve. The new ETF aims to replicate as closely as possible, before fees and expenses, the price and yield performance of the Barclays Municipal High Yield Short Duration Index. The fund, which focuses on high-yield municipal bonds with one to 10 years to maturity, will invest at least 80% of its total assets in securities that comprise the benchmark index. With a total annual operating expense ratio of 0.35%, SHYD marks as the latest addition to Market Vectors' family of municipal income-focused ETF's, which manages approximately $794m in assets as of 31 December 2013. Market Vectors product manager, Michael Cohick, said: "The shorter duration focus of SHYD may lessen the impact of a rising rate environment making this a potentially useful tool for investors and advisors who are looking for ways to position their fixed income portfolios in today's uncertain rate climate. "High yield municipal bonds continue to have historically low default rates versus their corporate counterparts and deliver income that is generally exempt from income taxes. With all this in mind, we're very pleased to be adding SHYD to our fund family." "HYD's approach, which includes bonds with maturities ranging from 1 to 30 years, can make it more interest rate sensitive than SHYD with its shorter duration focus. However, for a steady or falling rate environment, HYD may continue to offer a means of maximizing yield potential from across the broad high yield municipal yield curve," added Cohick

UK Post Office extends current account pilot to over 100 branches January 13, 2014 | BBR

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The Post Office is extending its current accounts offering to 81 branches in the East Midlands and East of England. The move follows the introduction of the Control, Standard and Packaged accounts in 29 branches in East Anglia in May 2013. The introduction of the new region will bring the total branches to 110. Since launch, the Post Office current accounts in partnership with Bank of Ireland UK, the financial services partner to the Post Office have become a popular addition to the well-established award winning financial services products on offer, appealing to customers looking for choice, good value, fair and transparent products. A recent report* into current account switching indicated that 41% of customers planning to or thinking of moving from their current bank would consider switching to the Post Office as it offered value for money products and is a trusted brand on the high street. The introduction of the Seven Day Switching Service has also provided a fresh opportunity for customers looking to move from their current provider. The move into the current account market has further developed the Post Office's position of becoming a recognised and trusted alternative to the major banks offering customers everything from mortgages to credit cards making it a one-stop option for all their financial services needs. John Willcock, Head of Current Accounts at the Post Office, said: "We are absolutely delighted to be extending the reach of our current accounts offering into East Midlands and East of England. This exciting move is in line with our planned next steps into making our accounts accessible to thousands of customers who are looking for a credible alternative to their existing bank. "The feedback from our customers in East Anglia has been really positive and the take up of all three accounts is in line with our expectations. Based on this, we are expecting customers in our new region to enjoy the benefits of banking with the Post Office." The Post Office current accounts are: Standard Account The Standard Account comes with a debit card and is the Post Office's 'free in credit' everyday banking offering. It will appeal to those who want all the convenience of an everyday current account with a straightforward, easy-to-understand approach to banking fees and no hidden charges or unexpected surprises. It offers unrivalled access to banking services and transactions, all from an organisation customers know they can trust to treat them well. Accounts can be set-up with an opening deposit of ÂŁ100. Standard Account customers can request a chequebook and can apply for an overdraft facility either when opening the account or anytime afterwards. Overdraft interest rate is currently 14.9% EAR. There are no unarranged borrowing charges. Packaged Account

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The Packaged Account is an 'added value' offering and provides a compelling range of additional benefits for a competitive monthly fee of just £8. It is designed for the growing group of customers who enjoy benefits such as European Multi-Trip Family Travel Insurance and Vehicle Breakdown Cover. It will also provide Identity Theft Protection services and the convenience and guaranteed savings of a discounted Post Office Travel Booking Service that offers up to 7.5% discount on a variety of holidays and travel needs. Packaged Account customers can request a chequebook and can apply for an overdraft facility either when opening the account or anytime afterwards. Overdraft interest rate is currently 14.9% EAR. There are no unarranged borrowing charges. Control Account The Control Account helps customers to keep in control of their finances and is a fully functional, 'inclusive' bank account for those who are new to banking, potentially on lower incomes or who have had difficulty with default bank charges in the past. For a fixed monthly fee of £5, no further charges will be made for payments that are returned unpaid such as direct debits and standing orders. It offers customers the certainty of knowing how much their banking will cost them without any unexpected surprises. The Control Account aims to deliver banking services in a way that removes the risk of missed payment charges and saves less affluent customers money overall. To open the Control Account customers will need a minimum opening deposit of £20. The Control Account offers a full banking service proposition to customers - branch banking, nationwide ATM access, online banking (including funds transfers and bill payments), telephone banking, Direct Debits and standing orders. Saving you money Our Control Account could save you money. Customers who have incurred a bank charge are highly likely to then incur more, averaging at £205 per year. In 2011 over 6.6 million people incurred bank charges of more than £100. That's why we believe that just £5 per month could be a much better deal for you. Plus you could benefit from savings on your utility bills by paying by Direct Debit. Customers in East Midlands and East of England wishing to open an account will be able to pop into their local branch to talk through their options with specially trained staff, who will be on hand to discuss the types of accounts on offer and which one will suit their individual needs best. They will also be able to assist with the completion of the application form as well as transferring direct debits. Customers who are unable to visit a participating branch in East Midlands or East of England can register their interest in a Post Office current account by going online at

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The Post Office is currently undertaking the largest investment and support programme in its history and will see approximately 8000 Post Offices converting to new style branches. This significant transformation will provide more and more essential services to our customers across mails, government and financial services. The introduction of the current account is a further statement of this ambition

MoneyGram partners with Postal Savings Bank of China January 10, 2014 | BBR MoneyGram (MGI), a global money transfer and payment services company, has announced an agreement with Postal Savings Bank of China Co. Ltd (PSBC), a large commercial retail bank in China, to provide money transfer services in over 3,700 locations. With the addition of PSBC to MoneyGram's agent network, and the rollout of MoneyGram's money transfer services to mainland locations, services are now available at over 20,000 locations in China. China is the second largest receive country in the world with an estimated $60 billion of money transfer receives in 2012, according to the World Bank. Chinese travelling worldwide, support foreign direct investments that generate transfers to China from approximately 150 countries. Through MoneyGram's addition of PSBC, customers can now send funds to family and friends in all provinces in China. "Adding the network of Postal Savings Bank of China is an important milestone for us as we provide more access to affordable money transfer services to those who rely on remittances for their daily needs," said Grant Lines, senior vice president for Asia Pacific, South Asia and Middle East at MoneyGram. PSBC was part of China Post until its spin off in March 2007 as a separate entity. It is owned by China Post Group and has a strong network in the rural areas. PSBC offers a broad range of financial services including micro financing to rural and urban customers, Small and Medium Enterprise, in-branch service, Internet banking, telephone banking and mobile banking

Wolters Kluwer Financial Services purchases Financial Tools January 06, 2014 | BBR

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Wolters Kluwer Financial Services has purchased Financial Tools, for an undisclosed sum, which offers CASH Suite-an enterprise-wide financial analysis and credit risk management technology to US commercial lenders. The acquisition will allow Wolters Kluwer to deliver US community and regional banks and credit unions with the ability to manage financial performance and grow profitability with straight through processing across their commercial loan origination, servicing and regulatory reporting processes. Leveraging their competencies, both companies expect to enable financial institutions to boost commercial loan origination, increase effectiveness in loan servicing and achieve regulatory compliance. Commercial lending, which offers better growth prospect for financial institutions has grown substantially over the past two years, as commercial loans has increased by $330bn held by FDIC. Wolters Kluwer Financial & Compliance Services division CEO Brian Longe said, "The addition of Financial Tools enables us to offer commercial lenders the comprehensive solutions they need to drive commercial lending growth." With access to the critical data they need, when they need it, lenders can improve performance with straight through processing and more effectively manage risk at the transactional level. "And we'll help them use that same data to obtain enterprise-level views of their customer bases and businesses thereby enhancing long-term profitability," Longe added. Currently, over 600 US banks and credit unions are using Financial Tools' CASH Suite, which allows them to automate and streamline tasks like business development, financial analysis, risk management and pricing, credit communications and approvals, among others. As per the terms of the agreement, Financial Tools president and CEO Dave Kampff and all 30 staff have joined Wolters Kluwer Financial Services

MoneyGram signs agreement with Bank AlJazira January 02, 2014 | BBR MoneyGram (MGI), a global money transfer and payment services company, announces an agreement with Bank AlJazira (BAJ) to offer its services at multiple bank and remittance centers. The alliance gives consumers access to over the counter global money transfers and the ability to quickly send and receive money to friends and family around the globe.

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"Our customers in Saudi Arabia need quick access to places where they can send and receive funds," said Grant Lines, senior vice president Asia Pacific, South Asia and Middle East at MoneyGram. "This alignment answers our customers' needs, not only in this region, but worldwide." Bank AlJazira offers personal, corporate, investment and private banking services and it is renowned for its customer-centric philosophy and out-of-the-box thinking. "We are very excited to join hands with MoneyGram," says Nabil Al-Hoshan, CEO at Bank AlJazira. "We offer world-class customer service in our Fawri money remittance centers. MoneyGram will play a central role in helping to meet our goals in 2014." Saudi Arabia is the second leading remittance-sending country in the world, with an estimated $27.6 billion of outward remittance in 2012

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Finance UK current account switching rose by 17% in Q4 2013: Payment Council January 16, 2014 | BBR The new current account switching service has increased 17% year-on-year for the last quarter of 2013 since its launch on 16 September last year, according to the first quarterly switching dashboard published by the UK Payments Council In the month of December 2013, there were 83,729 switches, which represent a 54% growth compared to 54,329 switches during the same month in 2012. The report further pointed out that approximately 281,144 UK customers were covered by the new service when they switched bank accounts. According to the report, nearly 59% of the public were aware of the Current Account Switch Service by December 2013. The Payments Council CEO Adrian Kamellard said, "With the launch of the new service we have set out to eradicate any concern customers may have had in the past about switching their current account, and although our work isn't yet done, we have got off to a great start. Even though the current account switch service only launched a few months ago most people are already aware of it and are confident in it. "More than 300,000 switches in three months is an encouraging start and we hope this will be further boosted by the second wave of our national advertising campaign that kicked off this January," Kamellard added. As per the new rules, customers can switch their accounts within seven days with all outgoing and incoming payments automatically transferred into new account while automatically closing the old account. The new switching rules, which have been designed to break the monopoly of major British banks, also plan to avoid scandals including mis-selling of loan insurance and complex interest rate hedging products

NCR purchases Digital Insight for $1.65bn January 13, 2014 | BBR

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NCR, a consumer transaction technology firm, has completed its previously announced acquisition of Digital Insight, an online and mobile banking technology company, for approximately $1.65bn Commenting of the acquisition, NCR chairman and CEO Bill Nuti said the acquisition of Digital Insight comes at a time when financial institutions around the world are looking closely at their retail network strategies and searching for an omni-channel consumer experience. "Our Financial Services business is now uniquely positioned with a market-leading SaaS platform to help banks transform their physical and digital business models. "This acquisition strengthens NCR's branch transformation strategy and positions the Company for long-term growth, accelerated margin expansion and earnings appreciation, Nuti added. The enterprise software platform will deliver a unique consumer experience across all digital and physical channels - mobile, online, branch, and ATM, according to NCR. The combination will help retail banks and other financial institutions to reduce legacy costs and provide one platform for omni-channel services and all payment and transaction types. RBC Capital Markets served as lead financial advisor to NCR, while JPMorgan and BofA Merrill Lynch were financial advisors. Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice worked as legal counsel to NCR on the transaction. In January 2013, NCR acquired Utah-based video banking software company uGenius Technology, in a bid to boost its market penetration for APTRA Interactive Teller technology. Headquartered in Duluth, Georgia, NCR manages business in 180 nations with over 26,000 employees

JPMorgan Chase agrees to pay $2.3bn in fines over Ponzi fraud January 08, 2014 | BBR US regulators have slapped a fine of nearly $2.3bn on JPMorgan Chase for failing to monitor and thwart massive Ponzi fraud run by Bernard Madoff. As per the terms of the agreement, the bank will pay approximately $1.7bn penalty to the victims of the Madoff fraud through a parallel civil forfeiture complaint. The bank has also agreed to refrain from future criminal conduct and cooperate fully with the Government. Another $543m will paid separately to a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee that charged the US lender JPMorgan on behalf of Madoff victims as well as other plaintiffs in a separate case, as reported by the Wall Street Journal.

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The agreement, which will enable the bank to avoid litigation by the US authorities, also requires JPMorgan to continue the implementation reforms of its Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)/Anti-Money Laundering compliance program. Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara said, "Institutions, not just individuals, have an obligation to follow the law and to police themselves. They must exercise due care not only with their own money but with other people's money also." In separate actions, the US Department of the Treasury, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), announced that they reached agreements with JPMorgan. As per the documents filed today in Manhattan federal court, JPMorgan served as the primary bank through which Madoff operated his Ponzi scheme since 1986, and collected huge funds from the investors. During the height of financial crisis n 2008, Madoff Securities claimed it had about $65bn in client assets, whereas in fact it had only approximately $300m. Due to the fraud, investors suffered huge losses and were seeking return of their investment

US judge sentences RBS Securities Japan to pay $50m fine over Libor fixing January 07, 2014 | BBR A US District of Connecticut judge Michael Shea has sentenced RBS Securities Japan, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), to pay the agreed-upon fine for its alleged involvement in the Libor rigging scandal. Shea found the Tokyo-based investment bank guilty for manipulating the Japanese Yen London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR). On 12 April 2013, RBS Securities Japan pleaded guilty for influencing Yen Libor benchmark interest rates and signed a plea agreement in which it accepted its criminal conduct and agreed to pay $50m penalty. Besides, the Edinburgh, Scotland-based parent company of RBS Securities Japan, reached a deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) with the government requiring RBS to pay an additional $100m fine, to admit and accept responsibility for its misconduct. Along with nearly $462m in regulatory penalties and disgorgement, the US Justice Department's criminal penalties bring the total amount of the resolution with RBS and RBS Securities Japan to almost $612m.

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US Department of Justice Criminal Division acting assistant attorney general Mythili Raman said that the sentencing of RBS is an important reminder of the significant consequences facing banks that deliberately manipulate financial benchmark rates. In December 2013, the European Commission (EC) imposed a monetary penalty of â‚Ź391m (ÂŁ324m) on British lender RBS for its role in fixing Libor. Libor and Euribor are lending benchmark for the banks in the European region, whose valuations directly affects the value of trillions of dollars of financial deals between banks and other institutions.

Wells Fargo agrees to pay Fannie Mae $591m to resolve mortgage mis-selling charges January 02, 2014 | BBR Wells Fargo has signed a $591m mortgage settlement agreement with the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) to settle down all the claims arising out of mis-selling mortgage loans to the company. Under the terms of the agreement, the agreement resolves substantially all repurchase liabilities related to loans sold to Fannie Mae that were originated prior to 1 January 2009. Wells Fargo reimbursed $541m in cash to the government-controlled mortgage company Fannie Mae after adjusting for prior repurchases, according to a statement issued by the San Franciscobased bank. Fannie Mae chief executive officer Timothy Mayopoulos said, "This agreement represents a fitting conclusion to our year of hard work to put legacy issues in the rear-view mirror and begin 2014 focused on improving the future of housing finance." In September 2013, Wells Fargo agreed to pay $869m penalty to Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) to settle substantially all repurchase liabilities on faulty loans sold. Not only Wells Fargo, but also Bank of America, CitiMortgage, SunTrust, JPMorgan Chase, Flagstar, PNC and HSBC Bank USA have reached settlement agreement with the government-sponsored enterprise. The US Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) accused the bank for willingly selling the subprime loans packaged into securities to Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac (FMCC), despite knowing that the assets were faulty in nature. In 2011, FHFA filed 18 lawsuits against financial organizations involving $200bn claim of residential mortgage backed securities (RMBS) sold between 2005 and 2007 to Fannie and Freddie by giving materially false statements about the quality of mortgages. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac busted during the height of financial crisis of 2008, subsequently the US government pumped nearly $187.5bn, to keep them running

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Technology AT&T, Vantiv partner to offer mobile payments services for all businesses January 15, 2014 | BBR AT&T has partnered with Vantiv to launch payment products designed to deliver mobile transactions to businesses of all sizes. Known as Vantiv Mobile Checkout, the new product from AT&T is a tablet-based, cloud-connected payment service that allows businesses to process payments, and access their business data from anywhere. Additionally, the product offers a receipt printer, tablet stand, and a cash drawer as user options. The new product will use a card reader to enable businesses to quickly swipe credit, debit or prepaid cards for processing on a smartphone or tablet in a secure way. The new solution will allow businesses to accept card payments in-store or on-the-go, improve cash flow with quicker access to funds, manage multi-store inventory, employees and timekeeping, tools to drive loyalty and increase sales offer 24/7 customer support with extensive payments industry expertise and AT&T sales support. AT&T Business Solutions vice president advance mobility solutions Mike Troiano said: "Vantiv mobile payment solutions from AT&T can empower businesses of all sizes to seize the mobility opportunity. This is the latest example of AT&T's commitment to deliver the most advanced mobile ecosystem in the industry for our customers." Vantiv senior vice president and general manager for ecommerce and mobile Elizabeth Rector said: "Working with AT&T is a perfect way to offer businesses a one-stop-shop for integrated mobile products. Together with AT&T, we can help businesses stay ahead of the technology curve, be more efficient and effective and operate their companies anytime, and nearly anywhere."

KBC Bank signs with Temenos to offer superior service to customers in Ireland January 13, 2014 | BBR

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Temenos, a provider of mission-critical solutions to the financial services industry, has announced that it will be providing KBC Bank Ireland with T24, its multi-award winning core banking system, as well as its Insight Business Intelligence suite, as the bank continues to transform itself into a full retail bank. KBC Bank Ireland has been operating in Ireland for 40 years, and its parent KBC Bank NV is one of Europe's largest banks. KBC provides business and personal banking services to customers throughout Ireland, with approximately 800 employees. KBC Bank Ireland launched a new current account proposition to retail consumers in September with full online and mobile banking capability. The Bank also opened retail hubs in Limerick and Galway in addition to the existing hubs in Dublin and Cork. Jean-Michel Hilsenkopf, Temenos Regional Director for Europe, said: "We are delighted that KBC Bank Ireland has chosen Temenos as its core banking system provider. Our platform will enable it to upgrade its systems in order to offer superior service to the Irish market. A key consideration for the bank was T24's product-building capability that will allow it to offer flexible and innovative products that can be brought to market quickly without the need to write bespoke code." Rudi Peeters, KBC Group Chief Information Officer, commented, "Our purchase of Temenos' products highlights our commitment to the Irish market. We want to offer a complete range of modern financial services, underpinned by a distinctive customer experience, and working with Temenos provides us with the opportunity to do that." Commenting on today's announcement Wim Verbraeken, Chief Executive of KBC Bank Ireland, said: "We are seeking to harness the opportunities that now exist within the Irish market as the banking landscape changes. Consumers are recognising us more for our personalised customer service, our innovative approach to our products and online banking and by working with the Temenos solution we will be delivering that superior service that customers want when it comes to their everyday banking requirements, giving them the choice of a real alternative for their banking needs"

Jack Henry & Associates to Offer American Express FX International Payments January 09, 2014 | BBR Jack Henry & Associates, Inc. (JKHY), a provider of technology solutions and payment processing services primarily for financial services organizations, has announced that it will provide its financial institution clients with the ability to send and receive international payments via American Express' FX International Payments service. The DirectLine International™ solution from Jack Henry & Associates now includes access to FX International Payments' competitive foreign exchange (FX) rates and fees, dedicated customer service, and straight through processing of payments.

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With the expansion of global trade among businesses of all sizes, financial institutions are facing increased pressure to offer efficient and reliable cross-border payment services. In response, Jack Henry & Associates elected to collaborate with American Express and provide its financial institution clients with access to this automated global payments service. According to Lin Thomason, information services director for Missouri-based Great Southern Bank, "DirectLine International has provided a new level of sophisticated automation that has materially increased our operating efficiencies and reduced the staff and time requirements for wire operations. DirectLine International has eliminated the vast majority of manual entries and memo posts, and automated wire-related fees, wire settlement, and analysis billing. It enables OFAC custom checks to be run simultaneous with the American Express OFAC checks, which eliminates the need to key wires manually; and the payee creation function supports faster entry of repetitive arrangements. The integration of DirectLine International with our core system streamlines the entire wire process and our ability to quickly research wires through report capture and access to core history and queries. And as we have come to expect, the JHA installation and support teams have been extremely responsive to our needs." According to Brett Weinhouse, vice president and general manager of FX International Payments, Americas for American Express, "Our collaboration with Jack Henry & Associates strategically expands its extensive payments offering with a reliable and trusted solution for international payment processing. Together, we can provide greater value and improved efficiency for Jack Henry & Associates' clients." Tony Wormington, president of Jack Henry & Associates, said, "Payment processing is an important and growing segment of our business and we plan to continually enhance the value and capabilities we provide with new, industry-driven features and functionality. We are excited about the opportunity to work with American Express as our international payments provider and to offer our clients a fully integrated international payments solution." FX International Payments will initially be integrated with Jack Henry & Associates' SilverLake System®, the highly customizable, commercial-focused core banking system. FX International Payments will eventually be integrated with Jack Henry & Associates' CIF 20/20® and Core Director® core systems as well

Moneris to upgrade payment devices for merchants January 06, 2014 | BBR VeriFone Systems, Inc. (NYSE: PAY), announced today that Moneris Solutions Corporation (“Moneris”), Canada’s largest debit and credit card processor, has selected the VeriFone VX 520, a reliable and easy to use countertop device that accepts all types of electronic payments.

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Installation of the VX 520 devices will begin in 2014. The VX 520 is PCI PTS 3.X compliant and features one of the industry's fastest processors that can quickly handle payment encryption, decryption and processing -- enabling merchants to improve security and reduce transaction times. Its integrated contactless capability and all-in-one design allows merchants to accept alternative payments, such as EMV (chip and PIN) cards and mobile wallets, as well as traditional mag-stripe cards through a single device. Merchants can also use the VX 520 to support value-added applications, such as loyalty or gift card acceptance. "At Moneris, we are proud to enhance our service to our customers with a convenient and secure technology solution that streamlines the payment process," said Jeff Guthrie, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer at Moneris. "The adoption of VX 520 devices will expand merchants' payment options, while giving them an opportunity to process payments faster and spend more time running their business." The VX 520 features full functioning dual communication through its range of connectivity options, which include dial-up and Ethernet. And, its communication port is located underneath the device, which helps keep merchants' countertops neat and free of clutter. "We are excited to partner with Moneris as they provide additional value for their business customers throughout Canada," said Shan Ethridge, vice president and general manager, North America Financial Services Group, VeriFone. "As the largest processor of merchant transactions throughout Canada, Moneris' selection of the VX 520 represents the appeal that our solutions-based approach offers

MCB unveils first socially connected mobile wallet January 02, 2014 | BBR MCB Bank has rolled out its first socially connected Mobile Wallet in association with global payment and technology firm Visa, as part of its strategy to enable payment transactions using their smartphones. The new MCB Lite virtual wallet allows users to load funds digitally leveraging their existing bank account and link it to their existing telecom provider and smartphone without switching phone/bank/telecom operator, reported pakobserver. Users can reimburse payments at no cost, purchase top-ups, pay bills, shop online, enjoy discounts and much more across the globe through a combination of the mobile wallet and Visa Card. MCB Bank retail group head Ali Kazmi was quoted by the as saying, "The Bank believes that the greatest benefits are derived from MCB Lite if it is established & practiced in social groups." "In other words, the more acquaintances you have on MCB Lite the greater the benefit in terms of time saved and money saved through just-in-time, free person-to-person mobile initiated payments" Kazmi told the news portal

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Strategy Co-operative Bank in talks to sell its stake in Unity Trust Bank January 15, 2014 | BBR The Co-operative Bank has entered into negotiations with Unity Trust Bank board regarding the potential sale of its 26% stake in the UK lender. The move comes as part of a review by Unity Trust of its ownership structure and the new business plan launched by Co-operative Bank to restructure its business around retail and small business customers. However, the negotiations are at an initial phase and any overhaul in the ownership structure would be subject to regulatory approval. Unity Trust, which was founded in 1984 with 73.2% of its shares owned by trade unions, provides banking services to charities, unions, local councils and community groups. It has retail deposits of around ÂŁ616m. Unity Trust chair Graham Bennett said: "We are starting to have detailed discussions with our respective shareholders as part of our wider work to reposition the Bank as we approach our 30th anniversary. The Co-operative Bank has been a fantastic supporter of Unity Trust since it was first founded." The Co-operative Bank CEO Niall Booker said: "The Co-operative Bank has been a proud supporter of Unity Trust over many years and we will work closely with them through this process, which fits with our own business plan to simplify the Bank."

Kuwait Finance House to suspend ATM cards for clients failing to update data January 13, 2014 | BBR Kuwait Finance House (KFH) has set 19 January 2014 as the deadline for its banking clients to update their data, failing which it will suspend ATM cards. The data update is part of KFH strategy to comply with the country's financial regulators, it said in a statement.

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Furthermore, the bank said that ATM cards will be automatically re-activated when clients update their data in any of KFH's branches. "Clients can update their data in two weeks from now to ensure the continuity of their banking services of which; withdrawal, POS, electronic payment through K-Net in Kuwait only," the bank said. Clients who are living abroad can update their data by printing, filling, and sending the form along with a copy of the civil ID to Kuwait Finance House, Branches Department.

KFH manages its operations across the GCC, Asia, and Europe through over 310 branches

JPMorgan plans to divest Corporate Prepaid Business January 10, 2014 | BBR Global bank JPMorgan Chase is reportedly planning to divest its prepaid card operations in the US, as part of a strategy to streamline its operations and exit riskier business The business put for sale includes all Corporate, US Public Sector and Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) programs, as well as Health Savings Accounts (HSA). While looking for divestment, the bank will continue to fully support current clients and cardholder activities and the firm will no longer request or accept any new prepaid card business. The bank said that the proposed sale of Corporate Prepaid Business will not affect any consumer payment cards, including credit, debit or the Liquid prepaid card. The Corporate Prepaid Business under which the bank issues prepaid cards for corporate payrolls and government tax refunds and benefits, are under regulators' scrutiny amid rising concerns about high fees as well as data breach, media sources reported. In December 2013, JPMorgan warned nearly 465,000 cardholders that their personal data may have been compromised after a cyber attack on its network in July, as reported Reuters. The company was criticized by the Connecticut state treasurer for failing to check customers' details prior to issuing them replaced cards, out of which nearly 4,000 people received payments from the state. Apart from the card business, the US lender is also disposing of its physical commodities assets, which includes metals warehouses to trading desks that buy and sell oil, gas, power and coal

Woori Bank receives approval to acquire 33% stake in Bank Saudara January 06, 2014 | BBR

18 | S u t h e r l a n d I n s i g h t s B a n k i n g N e w s F l a s h J a n 1 6 , 2 0 1 4 Woori Bank, a South Korea-based lender, has reported that the financial regulators have approved its proposed acquisition of 33% stake in Bank Saudara in Indonesia PT Bank Woori Indonesia, a unit of Woori Bank, reportedly signed an agreement to purchase the stake, which equates to 764.4 million shares in PT Bank Himpunan Saudara in June 2012, as reported by Reuters. In January 2012, Bank Saudara told the news agency that it planned to boost its operations in Southeast Asia's biggest economy by bringing in a strategic investor through a rights issue. Founded in 1906, and managing approximately 110 sales offices in the country, Bank Saudara is expected to have nearly $727m in total assets with $51m paid-in capital. It offers savings and checking accounts, fixed deposits, credit loans, and other banking services. Woori Bank aims to emerge as the second-largest stakeholder in the bank, following latest share purchase. A statement by the Korean President Park Geun-hye in October last year was quoted by as saying, "I hope the ongoing effort by Woori Bank to move into the Indonesian financial services market could be successful as the government approval for the deal is made expeditiously."

Nasdaq OMX to acquire 5% stake in Borsa Istanbul January 02, 2014 | BBR Nasdaq OMX Group (Nasdaq:NDAQ) and Borsa Istanbul A.S. have concluded a wide-ranging agreement, which includes the delivery of market-leading technologies and advisory services to Borsa Istanbul, and NASDAQ OMX taking an equity stake in Borsa Istanbul. Key aspects of the agreement include the provision of NASDAQ OMX's most advanced and complete selection of market technology solutions and advisory services, based on the globally market-leading Genium INET suite and all associated platforms and applications, with regional resell rights and also eventual self-sufficiency for Borsa Istanbul. Further, the parties are to work closely together to cement Borsa Istanbul's position and brand as the capital markets hub for the Eurasia region, serving global issuers, investors, and corporations. As part of the agreement, NASDAQ OMX will take a five percent equity stake in Borsa Istanbul, with an option to increase this by an additional two percent; NASDAQ OMX will also receive a series of cash payments. The parties' forward cooperation pathway may also include a minority participation by Borsa Istanbul in NASDAQ OMX.

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"We are delighted to have put in place a highly impactful global partnership with NASDAQ OMX, anchored on the objective of together serving the financial community worldwide," said Dr. Ibrahim M. Turhan, Chairman and CEO of Borsa Istanbul. "I am confident that our combined team, powered by one of the most advanced technology suites available in the world today, will consistently offer cutting edge trading facility, innovation, platform breadth, and flexibility to customers worldwide." The partnership positions Borsa Istanbul as a leading, integrated, multi-asset class exchange that operates a best-of-breed platform serving issuers, investors and traders globally. Borsa Istanbul will integrate and operate NASDAQ OMX's suite of world-class systems for trading, clearing, market surveillance and risk management, covering all asset classes. The agreement underscores a longterm commitment that will benefit member firms and customers of both exchanges. "We are pleased to be working side-by-side with Borsa Istanbul as they evolve toward becoming an international hub that will attract global investors to the Eurasia region," said Bob Greifeld, CEO, NASDAQ OMX. "Building and powering the world's capital markets is at the heart of NASDAQ OMX's Global Technology Solutions business, and we are thrilled to be partnering and investing in the Turkish exchange." "This new partnership is a milestone for our market technology business," said Lars Ottersg책rd, Senior Vice President and Head of Market Technology, NASDAQ OMX. "By delivering our entire suite of technology solutions, including our advisory services, to Borsa Istanbul we show the depth and breadth of NASDAQ OMX's global offering. Establishing global capital markets is core to NASDAQ OMX's mission and we are pleased to be Turkey's partner in building efficient and effective functioning markets." The contract is a culmination of substantial work between the parties, following their signature of a first indicative agreement in July 2013. Borsa Istanbul is advised by Sardis Capital Limited; legal counsel are Turunc and Linklaters

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Sutherland insights banking news flash jan 16, 2014  
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