Payment news, May 4

J.P. Morgan signs on for electronic bank account management, while online payment competitors team up in China.

J.P. Morgan and Swift announce account management partnership

J.P. Morgan has teamed up with Swift (the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) to support the delivery of electronic bank account management (Ebam) standards to corporate clients. The bank is one of the first to support the new ISO 20022 compliant standard that was launched two weeks ago. Targeted at corporate finance departments, Ebam allows users to streamline management of their bank accounts at multiple institutions around the globe.

"Swift's Ebam initiative holds tremendous market value as a standard for J.P. Morgan clients and vendors, and works best with industry security models and open standards," said Lloyd O'Connor, managing director of J.P. Morgan treasury services, in a statement. "J.P. Morgan sees Ebam as an important element to addressing the multi-bank interoperability needs of clients and we support the increased openness of the banking community towards bank agnostic channels."

The bank joins BNP Paribas, BNY Mellon and Citi, all who participated in the pilot of Ebam, offering the solution.

Kasikornbank expands focus on SMEs

Kasikornbank expanded credit lines to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with four new loan schemes worth Bt7.5 billion ($232 million) targeting the construction, medical, trading business and apartment and hotel sectors.

"The new credit service was designed to cater to the varying demands from different businesses. Meanwhile, there is a rise in demand for cash from SMEs because of the recovering economy," said Pakorn Partanapat, executive vice-president of Kasikornbank, in a statement. He explained SMEs in the targeted sectors represent 60% of beginner businesses in Thailand.

The new offerings come little more than a month since the bank launched a new corporate and SME division, lead by executive vice-president Songpol Chevapanyaroj, to drive development of transaction banking products and service channels, including supply chain management and international trade finance, among corporate customers.

Despite competition, PayPal and Alibaba team up

The Alibaba Group's business-to-business platform AliExpress.com now accepts payments through PayPal, a competitor to the group's AliPay platform which it invested $732 million in earlier this month. According to PayPal, the alliance will make it easier for businesses from around the world to source goods through AliExpress as well as for Chinese companies to sell their goods and services abroad.

"We're very excited to have this fantastic new merchant to join the PayPal franchise and I look forward to letting you know about other news out of Asia as it happens," said Farhad Irani, Asia-Pacific vice-president of PayPal, in a statement.

The new partnership is yet another example of the US-payment provider's plans to expand in the region. In recent months, PayPal has appointed Chris Yao vice-president of Greater China and has expanded its partner network to Malaysia's Mudah.my. In March, it announced plans to add 1,000 staff to its operations in Asia.

JBIC signs loan agreement with Vinacomin

The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) has signed a loan agreement, co-financed with Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, with the state-owned Vietnam National Coal Minerals Industries Group (Vinacomin). The agreement is valued at up to $150 million and will be used to ensure a stable supply of anthracite to Japan. The country's steelmakers have traditionally relied on Vietnam and China for supply of high-grade anthracite according to JBIC. The deal was driven in part by increasing demand from China for supplies of rare coal.

Vinacomin received a $200 million export credit loan from Japan's Nippon Export and Investment Insurance agency, guaranteed by Vietnam's Ministry of Finance and arranged by Citi two weeks ago.

HSBC launches online solutions delivery platform

HSBC has introduced a new electronic platform, ClientSphere, giving clients control and visibility over the implementation of the bank's cash and treasury solutions. Though few details were given about how it differs from the institution's previous offering, the bank said it allows clients to have "full visibility and control" over implementation of their cash and treasury solutions with HSBC.

"As evidenced by feedback from corporate treasury and finance professionals participating in our pilot programme, ClientSphere delivers a much sought after and valued implementation experience," said John Laurens, Asia-Pacific head of global payments and cash management at the bank, in a statement. Few additional details were given except that the new platform was developed with the full consultation of HSBC's customers.

The provider claims to be the only institution with a single platform for product implementation on the market.

Bank Bukopin selects FRSGlobal's IFRS solution

Indonesia's Bank Bukopin has implemented an international financial reporting solution from FRSGlobal to improve its risk and regulatory compliance. "As regulation continues to evolve, it is important that we have a process in place to keep up with the latest developments," said Tri Joko Prihanto, finance and planning director at the bank, in a statement.

The deal was signed in collaboration with PT Nexia Indonesia Advisory Services, FRSGlobal's local partner in Indonesia. 

Earlier this year, Selwyn Blair-Ford, senior domain expert for risk and regulatory compliance at FRSGlobal, said banks and treasurers need to follow global regulatory developments closely because they will reduce the availability of credit in the market if not proactively addressed. 

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