Ahead of our NextGen Nordics conference on the 27th of April 2022, we will be putting together a weekly briefing of selected top stories that are emerging out of the region and setting the blueprint for payments innovation across Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden.
NextGen Nordics will bring together multiple stakeholders - the banking community, central banks, public authorities and trade and business beneficiaries - to generate community discussion, explore the benefits and offer practical advice on activating the opportunities of new technologies in the Nordic region. Register for the event here.
Danske Bank announces Trade AI app
Danske Bank revealed plans to digitise its trade finance process through a collaboration with Conpend for use of its Trade AI app. The app aims to streamline existing processes, enhance efficiency and transparency, reduce the probability of error and enable an easily accessible end-to-end trade finance transaction audit trail.
The app was developed specifically to encourage automation and digitisation of the value chain while accepting the current situation with respect to documentary checking. Paper-based documents, as well as digital documentation, can be scanned and entered into the application, which ‘reads’ the contents and checks them against a set of pre-defined rules.
The artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities automatically check against anti-money laundering, know your customer and sanctions regulations, thereby enhancing the compliance and documentary reviewing process for trade finance specialists as well as risk and compliance officers.
“By converting physical documents into digital data, you create the opportunity to utilise that data for trade and compliance related processes,” explained Erik Punt, product owner of the trade finance portfolio in Danske Bank.
Punt continued: “We expect to see significant efficiency gains after initial investment into teaching the system to capture and qualify data. With this, data from the large range of complex customer documents will – together with our financial crime compliance specialists – allow us to perform different kinds of analyses.”
SurePay expands its Confirmation of Payee solution to the Nordics
SurePay, a Confirmation of Payee company, announced its expansion to the Nordics with the hire of new business development manager Steen Álvarez Jacobsen. Álvarez Jacobsen will be responsible for the companies activity in the Nordic region, having previously worked with companies such as AltaPay and Valitor.
This news comes after SurePay raised a €12.2M funding round in September 2021. This funding was to support international expansion and the hiring of new business development teams and IT experts to scale the technology platform and develop new solutions for customers.
Steen Álvarez Jacobsen commented: “Last year, more than six million euros were lost due to invoice and CEO fraud in Denmark alone, highlighting the urgent need for Confirmation of Payee.”
Avarda taps Aiia open banking services
Swedish payments service provider Avarda announced its partnership with Danish open banking service Aiia, a Mastercard company. This move will allow Avarda to enable open banking payments through its white-label payments solutions. Furthermore, Aiia will enable Avarda’s buy now play later solution.
Mikael Johansson, CEO of Avarda, said: “The payment industry is developing at a high pace and we want to stay on top of these developments at Avarda by delivering the most convenient payment solutions the market has to offer for merchants and retailers. We’ve been looking into open banking opportunities for a while and are thrilled to have launched this with Aiia and Mastercard as they hold a strong position and bank connectivity in the Nordics.”
Fellow Finance shuts down P2P lending business to become a bank
Finland's Fellow Finance is following in the footsteps of Zopa, closing its P2P lending business to concentrate exclusively on a new banking operation.
The loan-based crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending platform is in the process of merging with Evli Bank to create Fellow Bank.
Set to open for business in April as a new digitally-oriented lender, Fellow Finance will offer customers the option to sell their loan portfolios to Fellow Bank and to open an interest-bearing bank accounts and fixed term deposit accounts as an alternative.
Fellow Finance has intermediated consumer and business financing of more than 900 million euros in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Poland, and the Czech Republic and served more than 1 000 000 customers.
The firms says it will continue to service active and current loan investments normally and the cessation of intermediation does not require action from customers.
The Finnish company is following the same path as P2P lending pioneer Zopa, which in December announced plans to wind down its lending business and buy out the retail portfolio as it concentrated fully on its banking arm.
Zopa said customer trust in P2P investing had been damaged by a small number of businesses whose approach led to material losses for retail investors. It also cited changing regulations which led to higher costs of doing business.