News that Citi is dismantling Citi Transaction Services calls for a radical change in transaction banking (i.e., transaction services). Transaction banking is no longer a "safe revenue" generator -- a sort of "bean counter" in which each "counted" (processed) "bean" (transaction) produces a fee. As a result, I anticipate that successful banks will position transaction banking as the entry point for any future interaction with corporate clients.
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At last, on May 16, 2013, well into its third year of Dodd-Frank Act rulemaking, the CFTC voted on SEF rules, specifically:
The recent US$45 million heist detailed during last week's indictment only goes to show the amount of effort that some people will go through to steal money. The weak links in this case were not the fault of the global payment system but instead of a carefully orchestrated and coordinated heist conducted by a sophisticated fraud ring that knew exactly what it was doing. The sheer knowledge and ability necessary to execute this crime was enormous. The crooks produced hundreds of fraudulent plastic cards and deployed people in 27 countries conducting more than 4,000 simultaneously transactions at ATMs. Imagine the planning involved in this event.
The good news is that Siri has some (if rather limited) competition. Still to be determined is how voice recognition technology will affect the insurance customer’s experience.
Customer demand can’t be underestimated, even if it means establishing an entirely new platform to accommodate that demand. Such is the case with interactive voice assistant (IVA) technology, and a couple of notable insurers are leading the way.
When Geico (a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. company) discovered that two in five of its existing customers already had voice recognition technology resident on their smartphones, it moved quickly to establish a way for those customers to use their own IVA-fueled app to pay their insurance bills or get answers to questions about their policies.
It’s great that Groupon is re-examining its business and making strides, as evident in this quarter’s improved revenue and margins following former CEO and co-founder Andrew Mason leaving the firm this past February. I continue to remain bullish on the opportunities for merchant-funded reward programs in particular, especially if they can be accessed on a smartphone and integrated with payments at the point of sale. This creates the best frictionless experience for consumers. Groupon’s push on mobile transactions and the company’s “Pull” marketplace, which allows consumers to search for deals, still has opportunity in the market, assuming the firm can team up with other companies in the payments space.