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MIZUHO BANK BEGINS API BANKING ON IBM CLOUD TO HELP DRIVE INNOVATION WITH PARTNERS

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MIZUHO BANK BEGINS API BANKING ON IBM CLOUD TO HELP DRIVE INNOVATION WITH PARTNERS

IBM Japan today announced the launch of API (*1) banking for Mizuho Bank, designed to enhance the customer experience by providing them tailored services and solutions. The bank will run IBM Japan’s FinTech API solution (*2), as well as IBM API Connect on the IBM Cloud and IBM DataPower Gateway.

The shift to API banking at Mizuho Bank is the result of a digital transformation initiative among Japanese financial institutions to embrace APIs for the enterprise. The technology will enable banking customers to utilize Personal Financial Management services provided by Mizuho’s business partners the APIs will enable Mizuho Bank and their partners to offer IoT Payment services tailored to customers’ needs and tastes. Through these, Mizuho Bank is aiming to enhance the digital customer experience.

“API banking becomes a crucial step that helps drive open innovations by new technologies for customers, business partners, and Mizuho Bank,” said Masahiko Kato, Senior Technical officer, Mizuho Bank.  “Instead of competition, Mizuho continues to collaborate with business partners to create and provide innovative, secured services for customers.”

“Mizuho Bank continues to transform digital customer experience with new solutions that integrate their existing assets with the security rich IBM Cloud,” said Masao Sanbe, Managing Director, Industry Sales, IBM Japan. “IBM is delighted to provide IBM’s cloud and cognitive technologies with our expertise to help Mizuho provide quality services to the customers.”

Based on Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN), IBM Japan’s FinTech API solution provides financial institutions with necessary items such as balance inquires in domestic banking operations. Mizuho Bank will also leverage IBM API Connect, which offers capabilities to create, run, and manage APIs and microservices. It enables organizations to efficiently deploy and simplify the administration of APIs for both on-premise and cloud environments. These tasks will be completed on the IBM Cloud.

IBM Japan will collaborate directly with Mizuho Bank to offer advanced IoT Payment services to its customers all within the IBM Cloud.

(*1): Short for Application Programming Interface. It means programs and interfaces to coordinate systems such as external services.

(*2): Application Programming Interfaces that IBM offers including interfaces such as balance inquiry, transaction and account information by connecting existing Internet banking with FinTech services via applications.

Banking

Banks in EU to publish world’s first ‘green’ yardstick from next year

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Banks in EU to publish world's first 'green' yardstick from next year 1

By Huw Jones

LONDON (Reuters) – Banks in the European Union would have to publish a groundbreaking “green asset ratio” (GAR) as a core measure of their climate-friendly business activities from next year, the EU’s banking watchdog proposed on Monday.

As the trend in sustainable investing gathers pace, regulators want investors to get more reliable information on a bank’s exposures to climate change as storms and other weather events affect the value of their assets and liabilities.

The European Banking Authority (EBA) said the ratio, put out to formal public consultation on Monday, will measure the amount of climate-friendly loans, advances and debt securities compared to total assets on a lender’s balance sheet to reach a percent figure.

“I believe it’s the first time regulators are asking for a green asset ratio,” said Piers Haben, EBA’s director of banking, markets, innovation and consumers.

“The numbers may well be single digit for banks at first and that’s why context will be important. When a bank talks about where it wants to be in 2030, that is going to be really interesting on the green asset ratio.”

The new EU “taxonomy” would be used to define which assetsare environmentally sustainable.

EBA said that many stakeholders have a legitimate interest in the physical and transition risks that banks are exposed to from climate change.

Banks are likely to face pressure from investors to show what steps they are taking to increase their GAR over time, though few lenders are expected to reach 100%.

The watchdog was responding to a request from the EU’sexecutive European Commission on how to implement upcomingrequirements on climate-related disclosures by banks.

The GAR would published in a bank’s annual report, starting from 2022 based on data up to Dec. 31, 2021.

Banks will also have to publish three other indicators showing the extent to which fees from advisory services, major trading operations and off-balance sheet exposures are derived from climate-friendly activities.

(Reporting by Huw Jones; Editing by Ana Nicolaci da Costa)

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Banking

SoftBank’s internet business to invest $5 billion to resist overseas tech giants

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SoftBank's internet business to invest $5 billion to resist overseas tech giants 2

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank’s internet subsidiary Z Holdings outlined plans on Monday to invest 500 billion yen ($4.7 billion) in technology over five years to resist an onslaught from larger overseas rivals.

The announcement follows the merger of its internet business Yahoo Japan with chat app operator Line, creating a $30 billion domestic internet heavyweight.

Z Holdings said it is targeting sales of 2 trillion yen and operating income of 225 billion yen in three years, as the COVID-19 pandemic boosts demand for online services.

Following a complex transaction, two thirds of Z Holdings shares will be owned by a new holding company, A Holdings, owned 50:50 by SoftBank Corp and South Korea’s Naver Corp.

Z Holdings remains a consolidated subsidiary of SoftBank. Naver was the previous majority owner of Line.

The CEOs of Z Holdings and Line, Kentaro Kawabe and Takeshi Idezawa respectively, become co-CEOs of the combined entity, reflecting the hybrid origin of the firm which straddles e-commerce, payments, advertising and chat.

Kawabe pointed to the breadth of those services, many of which are deeply embedded in the lives of Japanese consumers, as its defence against rivals like Google parent Alphabet and Amazon.com and their larger research budgets.

In an early indicator of efforts to save on costs, Z Holdings said it was looking to integrate Line’s QR code payment service Line Pay into peer PayPay, which SoftBank has promoted aggressively to attract consumers away from cash, in April 2022.

Z Holdings retains its listed status, one of a number of such firms among SoftBank’s domestic holdings, despite calls for Japanese firms to unwind such structures.

Z Holdings also controls online fashion retailer Zozo Inc and office supplies firm Askul Corp.

($1 = 106.5600 yen)

(Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Kirsten Donovan, Christopher Cushing and Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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Banking

Strong second half limits Bank of Ireland 2020 loss

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Strong second half limits Bank of Ireland 2020 loss 3

DUBLIN (Reuters) – Bank of Ireland limited its underlying 2020 loss to 374 million euros ($452 million) after a return to profitability in the second half, the bank said on Monday.

Ireland’s largest bank by assets also announced the closure of one-third of its branches in Ireland.

The bank set aside 1.1 billion euros to cover possible loan defaults due to COVID-19 disruption, the bottom of its forecast range that it expects to capture the majority of credit impairment risk associated with the pandemic.

An underlying 295 million euros second half profit limited the damage as lending and business income improved.

Chief Financial Officer Myles O’Grady said those trends continued into 2021, although Ireland was in a long lockdown again.

“It’s clear that there is some impact from this lockdown but the signals overall are encouraging. We do think (the second half) will be a return to a more normalised level of activity,” O’Grady told Reuters.

The bank cut it costs by 4% year on year in 2020, meaning it achieved its 1.7 billion euro annual cost target one year early. It set a new goal of cutting costs further to 1.5 billion euros by 2023.

That will partly be achieved by the branch closures with its Irish network cut to 169 from 257 and Northern Irish presence more than halved to 13. It struck a deal with the Irish post office to offer customers access to banking services at An Post locations.

Bank of Ireland’s core Tier 1 capital ratio, a key measure of financial strength, stood at 13.4% versus 13.5% at the end of September. The bank said it expected capital to remain broadly in line with those levels in 2021.

Analysts at Davy Stockbrokers said the results were “better across income, costs and, notably, impairments.”

($1 = 0.8272 euros)

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin; Editing by Edmund Blair)

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