House Investigates Bank Procedures For PPP Loan Processing

PYMNTS | June 17, 2020

A U.S. House panel is investigating if multiple banks gave preferential treatment to large, well-funded firms compared to companies in minority or isolated areas when making loans meant for providing COVID-19 relief, Bloomberg reported. In a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Jovita Carranza, several U.S. representatives said that some big lenders reportedly made a system with two levels to handle Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) applications. The letter said media reports indicated customers that had the most resources received access to a procedure that made sure their applications were handled first. In contrast, they wrote, “other applicants had to use poor-performing electronic portals, faced significant processing delays, and sometimes needed to find another lender to consider their application.”

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Verizon partners with Mastercard and FNBO to launch small business credit card

Verizon Business | June 21, 2022

Verizon Business announced that it is teaming up with Mastercard and First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) to launch a credit card designed to bring value to small business owners. In the coming weeks, existing Verizon Business wireless customers with less than 100 lines and an online account will be eligible to apply for the Verizon Business Mastercard®, which rewards purchases on everyday business expenses such as eligible office supplies, technology, fuel, and more. "Mastercard has been a key partner to us on our journey to help our customers of all sizes transform their businesses and ensure they are truly future-ready,” said Tami Erwin, CEO of Verizon Business. “We are pleased to expand this partnership to include FNBO and bring this small business credit card to our customers at a time when we know they are seeking new avenues to expand their business, manage costs and maximize their use of new technologies to solve challenges to drive growth.” Here is how it works: The Verizon Business Mastercard®, which is issued by FNBO, will allow small business owners who apply and are approved to earn and redeem Verizon Business Dollars toward devices or accessories for their business. Benefits and features of the card will include: Earn Rewards on Eligible Business Purchases*: Earn 5% back on Verizon purchases, like paying your Verizon bill or buying devices from Verizon, during your first billing cycle after account opening;1 3% back on Verizon purchases after your first billing cycle;1 2% back on eligible gas; electronic vehicle charging and office supplies;2 and 1% back on other purchases.3 Get More for Your Business: Earn Verizon Business Dollars on eligible business purchases and redeem them later toward new devices or a Verizon Business wireless bill. New Cardholder Bonus: Eligible Verizon Business customers who apply and are approved will receive $50 toward their credit card statement after their first purchase on the card* (maximum one bonus per business account). No Annual Fee4: The Verizon Business Mastercard® has no annual fee or foreign transaction fees.4 Fill Your Digital Toolbox: The Verizon Business Mastercard® features World Elite Mastercard for Business® benefits to help small business owners reach new audiences and grow their businesses, including access to Microsoft Advertising, Zoho Social and Zoho Marketing Pal.5 Assess Your Digital Footprint: Cardholders will have access to Mastercard’s Digital Diagnostic assessment and Digital Doors program, which provides always-on resources for small business owners to set up shop online, grow and manage their business, accept payments, and keep their business protected. Safe & Secure Payments Experience: The Verizon Business Mastercard® is contactless enabled. Upon approval for the card, cardholders can begin making purchases immediately online, in app, and at the point of sale after adding it to their mobile wallet. Experience Peace of Mind: The Verizon Business Mastercard® offers Mastercard ID Theft Protection™, Zero Liability6 and Price Protection, in addition to 24/7/365 Global Emergency Services.5 This new offering is the result of a multifaceted partnership between Verizon Business and Mastercard to help provide solutions for the global payments and commerce ecosystems. The global leaders continue to work together to couple Verizon’s 5G connectivity with the power of the Mastercard network. Today’s announcement complements Verizon’s network-as-a-service foundation and supports its core areas of growth and innovation across mobility, nationwide broadband, mobile edge computing and business solutions, the value market and network monetization. “Today’s small business owner is looking for smarter, relevant, and customized digital financial products that accelerate their operations and make their lives easier,” said Chiro Aikat, Executive Vice President, Products & Engineering, North America at Mastercard. “We’re proud to extend our relationship with Verizon and FNBO to connect the small business segment through meaningful technology and benefits.” “FNBO has a rich history of helping small businesses grow and succeed, so we are excited to partner with such a respected brand as Verizon on the launch of their first program for small business,” said Jerry J. O’Flanagan, Executive Vice President, Partner Segment at FNBO. To find out if your business is eligible to apply for the Verizon Business Mastercard® when it officially launches, visit http://verizon.com/business-mastercard-comingsoon. ABOUT VERIZON Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, Nasdaq: VZ) was formed on June 30, 2000 and is one of the world’s leading providers of technology and communications services. Headquartered in New York City and with a presence around the world, Verizon generated revenues of $133.6 billion in 2021. The company offers data, video and voice services and solutions on its award-winning networks and platforms, delivering on customers’ demand for mobility, reliable network connectivity, security and control. ABOUT FNBO First National Bank of Omaha (FNBO) is a leader in the credit card partnership arena, with partners in a variety of industries including retail, travel, entertainment, automotive, oil, nonprofits and more. For over 60 years, FNBO has specialized in providing comprehensive credit card programs with personalized service to help its customers achieve their goals. Visit card.fnbo.com for more information. ABOUT MASTERCARD (NYSE: MA) Mastercard is a global technology company in the payments industry. Our mission is to connect and power an inclusive, digital economy that benefits everyone, everywhere by making transactions safe, simple, smart and accessible. Using secure data and networks, partnerships and passion, our innovations and solutions help individuals, financial institutions, governments and businesses realize their greatest potential. Our decency quotient, or DQ, drives our culture and everything we do inside and outside of our company. With connections across more than 210 countries and territories, we are building a sustainable world that unlocks priceless possibilities for all. www.mastercard.com

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OneConnect Inks New Strategic Partnership Agreement with Chengfang Financial Technology

OneConnect | January 10, 2022

OneConnect Financial Technology Co., Ltd. ("OneConnect"), a leading technology-as-a-service platform for financial institutions has today announced it has entered into a strategic partnership with Chengfang Financial Technology Co. Ltd., (abbreviated as "Chengfang Financial Technology"), a financial technology company established by the People's Bank of China ("PBOC"). Working with shared principles of equal collaboration, joint development, honesty and trustworthiness, both parties will work together to address common pain points in the financial industry, deliver technological innovations, and enhance data processing and governance. Under the agreement, OneConnect and Chengfang Financial Technology will harness cutting-edge technologies -- including AI, cloud computing and big data -- to explore new applications for data privacy technology in bank surveillance systems, promote the introduction and sharing of new data standards, and identify the financial data collaboration and circulation models needed by businesses to meet the requirements for secure cloud computing. In addition, the two parties will carry out research and development in areas such as secure computing technology, blockchain, and graph data; as well as nurture and cultivate new FinTech talents for the future. "This partnership with Chengfang Financial Technology is a significant step forward for OneConnect. China's digital banking sector has continuously remained at the forefront of digital transformation, and technology is at the core of its integrity and innovation. As a FinTech B2B business, OneConnect upholds its responsibility to promote the development of the financial services sector. Together with Chengfang Financial Technology, we will continue to adhere to our ongoing mission: to develop and empower the industry with our unique combination of professional expertise and technology, in order to build a new way forward for digital banking." Wangchun Ye, Chairman of OneConnect A subsidiary of PBOC, Chengfang Financial Technology is entrusted with the construction, operation, and maintenance of the digital banking system for China's central bank. The company performs resource scheduling and operation management for PBOC's network and data centers, and operates its data transfer management platform to provide the entire system with services ranging from network communications and infrastructure to systems maintenance and data transfer. Its partnership with OneConnect promises to accelerate the digitalization of China's banking sector, and cements OneConnect's position as a leader in digital financial development. As the world's leading technology-as-a-service platform for financial institutions, OneConnect harnesses cutting-edge technologies to improve efficiency and services for banks, government agencies and exchanges, while also reducing costs and minimizing risk. OneConnect helps providers accelerate digital transformation across four key pillars: the construction of a digital ecosystem, the cultivation of green finance, the integration of the Greater Bay Area, and the continued development of the FinTech sector. In addition to its partnership with Chengfang Financial Technology, OneConnect has established strategic alliances with the China Securities Regulatory Commission's Technology Supervisory Bureau, Insurance Asset Management Association of China, and China Insurance Asset Registration and Trading System Co., Ltd. The company has also successfully implemented major FinTech projects around the world, including the Hong Kong Stock Exchange's FINI IPO settlement platform, Singapore Stock Exchange's ESG platform, a corporate financing platform for small to medium-sized enterprises in the Guangdong province, Hong Kong's trade finance linkage platform, Guangxi Province's cross-border digital finance platform, the Hainan Provincial Financial Supervisory Bureau's smart integrated financial services platform, and more. OneConnect has also been aggressively exploring and leading the development of privacy computing in recent years, leveraging its advantages in privacy computing technology and cooperation practices. The company has won China Merchants Bank's bid for the "Privacy Computing Platform Interoperability" project, and the two companies will begin working together closely to build China's first multi-party cross-heterogeneous privacy computing platform. The project will be applied to financial scenarios such as financial risk control, anti-fraud, and blacklist query. By collaborating on this platform, both parties will jointly activate the full potential of big data and boost customer business value on the basis of meeting regulatory data privacy protection regulations. Looking ahead, OneConnect plans to continue exploring new partnerships with domestic and foreign organizations, government agencies and financial exchanges; strengthen its technological innovation and IP protection; and improve its R&D capabilities in technology in order to accelerate the digitalization of the global financial services sector.

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Voya announces recipients of new Black-owned small business grants

Voya Financial | February 25, 2022

Voya Financial, Inc., announced today, the launch of a new grant program to aid small businesses owned by individuals from underrepresented communities. The five recipients, all Black-owned, technology-based businesses, will each be awarded $10,000 to help them grow and thrive. “This inaugural grant program reflects our mission to make a secure financial future possible for everyone. Several of these startups are women-owned, all are Black-owned, and each one demonstrates a commitment not just to success, but to a shared value with Voya giving back to the community,” said Braeden Mayrisch, associate vice president, Stakeholder Equity and Impact, and vice president, Voya Foundation. “We invest in Black and African American leaders, be they teachers, STEM professionals, or small businesses and nonprofit executives, and showcase aspirational careers to our nation’s children.” The grants are a program developed by the company’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force, undertaken in collaboration with the Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO), focused on supporting Black- and African American-owned businesses and positioning Black entrepreneurs as role models for youth. “AEO and our 2,600 members and partners are excited to support this vital work helping underserved entrepreneurs contribute to the economic growth of their families and communities. It is even more impactful that these grants are targeting an underrepresented field like technology.” Connie E. Evans, president and CEO of AEO The five grant recipients each of which offer technology-based products and solutions for different industries and are at various stages in their corporate development are: Imani Software, a technology service based in Pflugerville, Texas, that provides education administrators with early warning and intervention assistance for at-risk youth. LiftEd, located in Brooklyn, New York, this education technology service uses data and software tools to support special-education instructors, simplify success monitoring, and enhance lesson plans. Nailstry, an augmented reality beauty application based in Davie, Florida. Shared Knowledge, an education technology service that designs free smartphone apps to help with data analysis, training, and mental health in school systems, based in Sterling, Virginia. Total Analysis, is a Detroit-based technology company that uses a platform to streamline pathogen identification in the healthcare space. About Voya Financial® Voya Financial, Inc., is a leading health, wealth and investment company that provides products, solutions and technologies that help Americans become well planned, well invested and well protected. Serving the needs of 14.3 million individual, workplace and institutional clients, Voya is a Fortune 500 company that had $4.2 billion in revenue in 2021 and $739 billion in total assets under management and administration as of Dec. 31, 2021. Certified as a “Great Place to Work” by the Great Place to Work® Institute, Voya is purpose-driven and is equally committed to conducting business in a way that is socially, environmentally, economically and ethically responsible. Voya has earned recognition as: one of the World’s Most Ethical Companies® by the Ethisphere Institute; a member of the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index; and a “Best Place to Work for Disability Inclusion” on the Disability Equality Index. About Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO) AEO is the leading voice of innovation for microbusiness and microfinance. We create economic opportunity for underserved entrepreneurs throughout the United States. We engineer transformational change through Research, Incubation, Convening & Advocacy to foster a robust and inclusive marketplace.

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Lenovo Awards $100,000 in Grants to Minority-Owned Small Businesses Across Ontario

Lenovo | February 09, 2022

Today, Lenovo announced the ten Ontario-based recipients of its Evolve Small grant program aimed at providing relief to Black, Indigenous, and People of Colour-owned (BIPOC) small businesses navigating the challenges and impact of COVID-19. Issued in partnership with the Toronto Region Board of Trade (TRBOT), each small business will be awarded a CAD $10,000 grant. In addition, Lenovo is providing educational programming to all TRBOT member businesses, to help accelerate their digital adoption. Throughout the two-month application window, TRBOT received a total of 203 small business applicants that met eligibility requirements. All applications were reviewed by a panel of experts from TRBOT and grant recipients were selected based on their ability to demonstrate their business’s equity, diversity, and inclusion initiatives and their completion of one or more of TRBOT’s Recovery Activation Program (RAP) streams, an online support and education program designed to help businesses adapt to a more digital world during and after the pandemic. TRBOT launched its Recovery Activation Program (RAP) to help Canadian small businesses adapt to the increasing need for digital adoption that was accelerated by COVID-19. By focusing on attracting customers, improving supply-chain efficiencies, managing workforces virtually, and streamlining costs, RAP provides a comprehensive toolkit to support the long-term success of Toronto’s small business community “As the pandemic continues to impact us all, we recognize that small businesses, and especially minority-owned small businesses, have been hit the hardest and need support to survive and thrive. We hope that the funding provided through the grant program with the Toronto Region Board of Trade will provide relief to some of the businesses who have been impacted the most, and we look forward to seeing how these funds are used to innovate and build for the future.” Colin McIsaac, Vice President and General Manager, Lenovo Canada “The submissions we received show a remarkable range of engaged, passionate women and BIPOC entrepreneurs,” said Leigh Smout, President of the World Trade Centre Toronto. “Each of these grants, which Lenovo has made possible, will allow the recipients to grow their business and, in turn, their already-significant contributions to our regional economy and communities. We are proud to be associated with Lenovo and these amazing business leaders.” About Lenovo Lenovo is a US$60 billion revenue Fortune Global 500 company serving customers in 180 markets around the world. Focused on a bold vision to deliver smarter technology for all, we are developing world-changing technologies that power (through devices and infrastructure) and empower (through solutions, services and software) millions of customers every day and together create a more inclusive, trustworthy and sustainable digital society for everyone, everywhere. About Toronto Region Board of Trade The Toronto Region Board of Trade is one of the largest and most influential chambers of commerce in North America and is a catalyst for the region’s economic growth agenda. Backed by more than 13,500 members, we pursue policy change to drive the growth and competitiveness of the Toronto region, and facilitate market opportunities with programs, partnerships, and connections to help our members succeed – domestically and internationally.

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Today, many people today are looking to leave the daily grind for something that feeds their passion. People do not want to retire at the age of 60 or older to look back on life and feel they have wasted it.

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