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VOLANTE TECHNOLOGIES’ VOLPAY SUITE OF PAYMENT PRODUCTS AVAILABLE ON MICROSOFT AZURE 

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VOLANTE TECHNOLOGIES’ VOLPAY SUITE OF PAYMENT PRODUCTS AVAILABLE ON MICROSOFT AZURE 

Volante to offer VolPay on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform delivering ready access to payments capabilities while minimising hardware and software costs

Volante Technologies Inc., a global leader in the provision of software for the integration, processing and orchestration of payments and financial messages, today announced that the entire range of the VolPay Suite of payments processing products is now available on Microsoft Azure.

This gives financial institutions an added choice for their payments transformation projects. Cloud-based technologies continue to increase in popularity as banks and other financial institutions look to reduce IT costs, improve scalability and benefit from using on-demand products and services. By accessing VolPay on the cloud, users can avoid hosting on-premises, or in their data centres, and benefit from reduced software and hardware costs, and immediately take advantage of new functionality as it becomes available.

Used by a wide range of firms today, the VolPay Suite promises to dramatically accelerate all aspects of payments initiation, validation, enrichment, processing and orchestration, and reduce the time, complexity and cost of payment transformation projects. Volante’s customers use VolPay in a number of business applications including VolPay Channel for bank on-boarding of corporate payments, VolPay Foundation for payments messaging integration, VolPay Hub for payments processing and orchestration, and VolPay Gateways for connecting to clearing houses.

Azure is an open, flexible, enterprise-grade cloud computing platform and set of integrated services that developers and IT professionals use to build, deploy and manage applications through a global network of data centres. Financial institutions turn to Azure to digitally transform their businesses, capitalizing on the global scale, economic benefits and intelligent capabilities the platform and services provide, underscored by Microsoft’s investments in security, privacy and regulatory compliance.

Vijay Oddiraju, CEO, Volante Technologies, commented, “We like to stay ahead of our clients’ requirements, and investing in cloud-based technologies now ensures that we are in a perfect position to give banks and institutions the option of moving away from the traditional model of in-house deployments.”

Oddiraju continues, “Improving business agility is central to our belief and we already pride ourselves with dramatically accelerated payment transformation projects compared to other more traditional approaches. Cloud takes this to the next level of acceleration, cost savings, and convenience for firms in the payments business.”

Janet Lewis, vice president of Worldwide Financial Services, Microsoft, said, “Technology is increasingly providing financial institutions with a competitive edge, and we are thrilled Volante is bringing the VolPay Suite to Microsoft Azure offering our mutual clients flexibility and choice. Having Volante Technologies on-board delivers significant advantages to clients who are looking to optimise the use of cloud technologies and benefit from a reduction in hardware and software costs.”

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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