Every fortnight, we compile a brief list of important happenings in the finance industry including updates on banking, payments & fintech startups.

PNC becomes first US bank on RippleNet

PNC Treasury Management has gone live with RippleNet, becoming the first US bank to process cross-border payments for its clients using the blockchain platform. RippleNet, which PNC joined in September of 2018, is Ripple’s growing, global network that allows financial institutions to process customers’ payments anywhere in the world instantly, reliably and cost-effectively.

YES Bank partners Microsoft to strengthen its AI powered banking solutions

India’s fourth-largest private sector bank, YES BANK announced its partnership with Microsoft to develop its AI-enabled chatbot, YES ROBOT, which will allow users to carry out financial and non-financial banking transactions.

Payments giant Stripe debuts a credit card in its latest step into the financing fray

Payments provider Stripe has launched a corporate credit card for its business customers. Along with no annual or foreign transaction fees, the card offers dynamic spending controls. Users also get real-time expense reporting & rewards. The card offers instant gratification, allowing users to apply and receive approvals within minutes, offering a virtual card to be added to Apple Wallet almost immediately with a physical Apple Card sent in the post in a few days.

Australian neo-bank Xinja Bank wins an unrestricted licence, launches transaction accounts

Xinja has rolled out its first accounts after winning a full banking licence from Australia’s Prudential Regulation Authority. It joins three other new banks to win licences: 86400, Volt Bank and small business lender Judo Bank. Another new digital bank, Up, is using the licence of Bendigo and Adelaide Bank.

Australia has been making impressive headway into introducing digital banking for its population, and the integration of Open Banking with its Consumer Data Right Act is also part of the same initiative.

Happy Money Raises $70 Million At A Valuation Of Nearly $500 Million

Happy Money, the Costa Mesa, California-based fintech that operates a marketplace that hooks borrowers up with credit union lenders, has raised $70 million in venture funding at a valuation of $495 million. Happy Money is among the crop of fintechs that are going after the lending market, connecting borrowers with financial institutions that want to lend money. It’s taking a different approach in that it is helping customers get rid of credit card debt (or what the startup calls “sad” money).

Deutsche Bank launches first Shanghai innovation hub

Deutsche Bank announced the launch of its first innovation hub in Shanghai called Blue Water Fintech Space, which will accelerate its digital offering to China-based clients and encourage partnerships across the fintech community. The new hub will become the innovation arm of Deutsche Bank’s Corporate Bank in China, facilitating digital transformation workshops, proof of concept roadshows, and the acceleration and incubation of fintech projects.

DBS uses blockchain platform to resolve cash-flow problems for SMEs

DBS Bank is set to offer multi-tier financing on logistics blockchain platform Rong-E Lian to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in China get faster access to trade financing. The bank integrated its digital onboarding API into the blockchain platform, allowing DBS to verify the credentials of a supplier within seconds. Once credentials are verified, the bank is then able to offer digital trade financing services to upstream suppliers, often SMEs, in the ecosystem within 24 hours.

Digital transformation has been a major aspect of DBS’s core branding, and the integration of a blockchain platform to facilitate easier lending for SMEs is another example of its dedication to its digital strategy. Read more about DBS’s ten-year transformation here.

Neobank Northmill Gets Swedish Banking License

Swedish digital bank startup, Northmill, which offers cloud-based financial services, was awarded a banking license from the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority (SFSA). The company submitted an application two years ago and is now all set to become an official bank, competing against players like N26, Monzo and Revolut.

US Bank acquires Talech to help drive digital transformation

US Bank has acquired Palo Alto-based software company Talech as part of its strategy to provide more digital expertise to customers. Talech provides a point-of-sale (POS) system that currently helps more than 8,000 restaurants, retailers and professional services firms to integrate operational tasks – such as order and customer management, payment processing and reporting – into a single, integrated solution. The company claims a processing volume of $2.3 billion.

Scottish fintech Paysend hits one million customers

Paysend has reached one million customers for its Global Transfers service. Launched just two years ago, Paysend says its rapid growth stems from the emergence of an increasingly mobile workforce and the expanding numbers of international students who require money transfers. Last month alone, 100,000 users used Paysend for the first time,