Northern Trust Donates $826,000 to Habitat In Its First Global Charity Trading Day

Northern Trust today announced its first global Charity Trading Day, benefiting global housing nonprofit Habitat for Humanity International, as part of the company’s global philanthropy strategy.

The company will donate $826,000 to Habitat. In addition, Northern Trust employees and clients will volunteer through a company program in 2023 to support the nonprofit’s mission. The global effort, led by Northern Trust Capital Markets, aligns with Northern Trust’s commitment to create more equitable opportunities to achieve long-term financial success.  

Habitat, which partners with families and individuals to build or improve their homes, has been supported by Northern Trust philanthropy and volunteering efforts for more than three decades.

“Our philanthropic focus at Northern Trust covers four key pillars: education, food, healthcare and housing,” Northern Trust Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Michael O’Grady said. “For our inaugural Charity Trading Day, we are grateful for the opportunity to expand our relationship with Habitat and make a substantial contribution so that more people can have a safe, welcoming and affordable place to call home.”

“Decent and affordable housing provides a solid foundation for families,” said Julie Laird Davis, vice president of corporate and cause marketing partnerships at Habitat for Humanity International. “We are grateful to be the beneficiary of Northern Trust’s inaugural Charity Trading Day. With their support, we will be able to help even more families achieve strength, stability and self-reliance through shelter and create stronger and more resilient communities around the world.”

Northern Trust Charity Trading Day involved Northern Trust Capital Markets trading desks across the globe, following the sun from Sydney through to Singapore, London and Chicago. The global effort involved the entire Capital Markets team, from trading and operations to risk and compliance, with the contribution to Habitat based upon the day’s trading revenues.

The Drucker Institute named Northern Trust among its top 10 in customer satisfaction, according to a report in The Wall Street Journal.

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Greenwishing New ESG term is Just In Time

A new term from Charles Ashwanden, Asset Management and ESG Lead at Crux. He notes that more than one-third (702) of the world’s largest publicly traded companies have set net-zero targets, yet two-thirds haven’t made it clear how they plan to achieve that goal. many companies do not have visibility into their Scope 3 (or indirect) emissions – ingesting Scope 3 data to understand the organization’s true carbon footprint is a critical first step before committing to a net zero target.

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Temenos Experts on Open Banking’s Impact on FIs and Fintechs

Open banking is forcing banks to rethink their business models and decide whether they want to be manufacturers or distributors of financial products or both, said Kanika Hope, Chief Strategy Officer at Temenos.

Europe is ahead of open banking regulations, so it was interesting to hear Hope and banking consultants and the tech lead at Blueshore Financial in Canada discuss the concept and what it means for FIs and fintechs. Temenos has operated an app store for several years, a concept that is slowly expanding among some fintech challengers in the U.S., although not among the legacy core systems vendors

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Advocate For The Poor For OCC?

From today’s American Banker:

By Brendan Pedersen     2 min read
Mehrsa Baradaran, a University of California, Irvine, professor and former banking lawyer, has worked hard to close the racial wealth gap and could further such goals as head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, wrote 34 caucus members in a letter to President Biden.

She’d be an interesting choice. While a lot of people in banking talk about making banking more accessible, she points out for a lot of people the problem is they don’t have enough money — pretty basic. I wrote about her book How The Other Half Banks” (

Fees are part of the problem, especially NSF, bounced check fees, which could be eliminated as some all digital banks have done, and certainly could be a few cents to reflect actual costs in a digital era. The Fed’s slow development of real-time payments, which they allowed the big banks to stall for several years at an estimated cost to consumers of about $10 billion a year, also does the poor no favor. And the Fed could require payroll payments to be made available real-time — again, several digital banks make them available 2 days before the payment.

Anyway, she’s be a great choice for OCC.
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Hey Robin Hood, Where’s Little John? And Is GameStop The Sheriff’s Anti Deer Poaching Squad?

From Twitter:

Robin Hood@robinhood· Lovely to have all these new followers .. can we just check that you know that you’re following The World Wide Robin Hood Society in Nottingham and not the Robin Hood App .. if so .. a big welcome from Sherwood.

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RIP Simple, the innovative banking site

I was sorry to have to write about BBVA shutting down Simple, and Azlo. Josh Reich, a co-founder, said he was amazed at how complex American banking was compared to his native Australia, and it seemed designed to confuse users and drive up fees. The banking service certainly had its fans as I explain in my Forbes article:

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Trulioo Makes The World Economic Forum Pioneers And CNBC Disruptor 50 Lists

Trulioo, a global identity verification company, has been selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s Technology Pioneers and was also named to the CNBC Disruptor 50 list for the second time.

Trulioo’s mission is to provide verifiable identities for everyone to advance financial inclusion while building trust online, the company’s release said. It can verify the identity of more than 5 billion individuals, plus 330 million businesses around the globe, introducing a new abbreviation in a crowded field — KYB or Know Your Business.

Or, as the company says on its web site, “Don’t Stop Your Business at the Border.”

It provides secure access to hundreds of identity networks around the world to help meet compliance requirements, mitigate the risk of fraud, and increase trust and safety online. And it uses advanced technologies including OCR, AI and natural language processing to do it efficiently.

Its missions is to build a framework of trust that powers a trustworthy, safe and inclusive digital system that is not constrained by geographic borders.

As a WEF Technology Pioneer, Trulioo will be invited to participate at World Economic Forum activities, events, and discussions throughout the year. Trulioo will also contribute to Forum initiatives over the next two years, working with policymakers and private sector leaders to help define the global agenda on key issues.

“Today’s digital economy is increasingly complex, said Steve Munford, the company’s CEO. “Between the growing mobile adoption in emerging markets, varying regional compliance requirements and the heightened fraud landscape, it’s important for businesses to take the necessary steps to enhance and optimize identity verification and fraud prevention processes.”

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Banking And Walter Bagehot — Smart Lessons From A Leading Victorian

Bagehot — The Life and Times of the Greatest Victorian. By James Grant. 334 pages. $29.95

What a match-up: James Grant, financial journalist and in modern terminology a public intellectual, writing on Walter Bagehot, who might qualify for that nomenclature today but was “just” a banker, editor of The Economist, and advisor to some of the leading statesmen of 19th century England.

Grant is suitably impressed by Bagehot’s stunning productivity — 5,000 words a week for The Economist, plus essays on luminaries ranging from Gibbon to Shelby. However, Bagehot might not get awards for work/life balance. In Bagehot’s writing after the Panic of 1857, Grant cites a longish passage and notes that ”Few better observations of the cycle of bankerly feast and famine have ever been written.” But, he adds, this was in a love letter.

The 19th century was a period of great change and a shift of power from the landed aristocracy to the merchant and industrial classes. Bagehot wrote about the reform of 1832 where some in Parliament actually voted to eliminate the infamous pocket boroughs, even at the price of putting themselves out of office. The reforms were overdue — cities like Manchester and Birmingham with growing populations didn’t have any representation. But the reforms had another consequence…those boroughs were sometimes home to a class of elevated statesman who were spared the ordeal of having to face the voters and at least a few contributed wisdom to the debates of the day, Bagehot wrote. The reform destroyed some intellectual constituencies.
The radical Irish journalist E.D.J. Wilson wrote in his obit of Bagehot: “His friends used to say of him, and there was a little exaggeration in the saying, that for a dozen years at least he was an unofficial member of every Cabinet, Conservative as well as Liberal, which has governed these kingdoms. Successive Chancellors of the Exchequer and Secretaries of the Treasury called him into their counsels as a matter of course. And the most illustrious of the statesman who thus consulted a journalist without a place in Parliament or any strength of party connection, would be the first to acknowledge how much they owed to the ‘white light’ of his pure and clear intelligence.”

Ironic then the Bagehot’s Stuckey’s bank sold to what eventually became part of National Westminster Bank, which was acquired by The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) which failed — at a cost to taxpayers of approximately £45.5 billion.

Grant notes the Bagehot’s world was one of institutionalized discipline while today’s world — one of paper currencies, floating exchange rates, enormous budget deficits and government policies to protect both investors and depositors against the consequences of banks’ mismanagement — is largely one of institutionalized indiscipline.

In financial journalism, “Bagehot was a superior commentator, thought a middling seer — for every financial writer must squint into the future… HIs attitude was perhaps too cautionary in the short term, and much too complacent for the long term. He worried too much about the single gold reserve and not enough about the distant adverse consequences of government control in banking and credit.”

Grant draws some broad historical comparisons:

“The interplay between money and credit was the source of the recurrent cycles of boom and bust that bedeviled the nineteenth century and continues to plague and mystify the 21st.”

And in some cases Grant makes his commentary just by direct quotation:

“In all customary societies, bigotry is the ruling principle. In rude places to this day, anyone who says anything new is looked on with suspicion…one of the the greatest pains to human nature is the pain of a new idea.”

Sound familiar?

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Low-Code Can Compensate For Shortage Of Programmers In Financial Services

The financial services industry needs to use low code development because it doesn’t have the time or the people to create services the old fashioned way, says Omar Arab, vice president of business development at Veritran. The company provides a low-code solutions to write front-end customer-facing apps. Its code runs at 50 banks with 40 million users and processes 10 billion transactions a year, he said.

“Our customers don’t need to write code, which is a good thing because the industry needs speed to market and secure applications. With Veritran, it takes five minutes to build a wallet, for example.”

The company has development centers in Colombia and Argentina. Arab said it is easy for non-technical business users to build customer centric apps very, very fast.

They will need to as banks pursue digitalization — the clumsy term for moving from legacy platforms designed for paper processes to using digital front office apps such as digital wallets that can interact with business and retail customers.

“Digital transformation is the key, and the digital transformation journey is culture, not technology, Arab. “People need to put focus on one wallet or one digital banking solution. It is impossible to take six months to build one app for a channel — you need to take no more than weeks.”

Veritran has APIs to connect to legacy systems on-prem or to new applications that reside in the cloud, he added, whether they are run by Tier One banks, smaller banks, credit unions or fintechs.

Users including BANORTE, the second largest bank in Mexico, and BBVA in Colombia.

“BANNORTE has 5 million users in our wallet in digital banking, BancoEstado in Chile has been interested in this solution because its focus is financial inclusion. They have three million users in our wallet.”

The bank won the Celent’s 2018 award Model Bank: Financial Inclusion for its app, PagoRUT, “an extremely popular mobile app that allows customers to send and receive payments for free, both in person and remotely,” according to Celent.

“The problem in financial industry is core banking runs on old legacy system and they need to change,” said Arab. “To change the front end is easy — it takes weeks; for the core banking they need more time and more development.”

Although low-code has seen a surge in popularity, both in API stores like Temenos’s and in companies such as Kony, which was bought by Temenos and in Outsystems.
Kony and Outsystems are in Gartner’s Magic Qudrant.

Arab said that Veritran has been low-code since its inception.

“The company to started 15 years and has been low code always,” he said.,”Veritran is the only company with low code that is 100% focused on the financial industry.”

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Volante Offers SWIFT Message Validation on AWS

Volante Technologies, a global provider of messaging and payments technology both in-prem and in teh cloud, today announced it has launched financial message validation on the cloud, available as an Amazon Machine Image (AMI) on the AWS Marketplace.

Like other cloud-based services it offers, Volante’s new validation offering is available as a microservice to any users looking to test their SWIFT Standards Release (SR) 2019 messages ahead of go-live on November 17, 2019.

The validation service provides APIs for validating messages, ready for applications to use. In addition to the validation process, Volante’s service returns a list of errors encountered for any invalid message. This information helps reduce the frequency and severity of formatting errors, and minimizes the risk of rejected messages. 

The cost for the service is based on hourly use rather than by message count or data usage.




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