the fintech company of Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank), recently
started deploying a rapid and remote mobile-enabled ATM solution in response to
COVID-19, as part of its i2i platform.
With i2i Mobile ATM, rural banks and financial cooperatives across the Philippines
are enabled to pay-out a wide range of government subsidies direct to
beneficiaries in the historically underserved countryside. This will help
address the growing need to access cash, as a result of the extended enhanced
community quarantine (ECQ) in Luzon, the largest and most populous island in
Mobile ATM technology works just like a standard
ATM and allows rural banks, financial cooperatives, their agents and associated
merchants to offer cash out and balance inquiry transactions for all locally
issued debit/ATM cards. Financial institutions that avail of i2i Mobile ATM receive
i2i Mobile ATM devices within days of signing up. They are enabled to pay-out government
subsidies and positioned to participate in the emergency
subsidy program under the Philippine government’s Bayanihan to Heal as One Act.
developed this state-of-the-art mobile ATM in partnership with leading Irish
Financial Services Group, Fexco. Fexco
currently employs more than 2,400 people across the globe, focused on
delivering technology enabled financial services to a wide range of banking and
fintech partners, and this initiative with UBX will build on the existing
partnership in the Philippines.
Brendan Foley, CEO of Fexco Philippines, said: “We are very pleased to
be partnering with UBX to assist Filipinos in this time of need. This
partnership will allow us to rapidly deliver crucial financial services to
consumers across the UBX and UBP banking partner network. Fexco and UBX are
both dedicated to enhancing financial inclusion for both the businesses and the
people of the Philippines.”
i2i Network is the fastest-growing and largest network of financial
institutions including rural banks, thrift banks, savings banks, cooperatives
and other non-banking financial institutions. Since launching its
technology platform in April 2019, the i2i Network is over 110 members strong
with nearly 1,000 branches between them.
Januszczak, CEO of UBX Philippines, said: “By digitally connecting
community-based financial institutions best positioned to serve the financially
excluded, the i2i Network and i2i Mobile ATM are extremely well poised to
support our government’s effort to contain the pandemic while enabling the
provision of much needed relief to those affected.”
Finbold.com has launched the Coronavirus
Research Index (CRI) to identify countries that are putting in the most
effort in finding ways to manage the COVID-19 disease.
The index ranks the countries based on the number of active medical
coronavirus studies that show which countries are actually executing the most
research related to COVID-19 to understand the virus to find the effective
means of managing the disease. According to the Index, China, the United
States, and France are the top three countries leading in the number of active
studies related to coronavirus.
China leads in
The CRI shows that China has 60 active studies, with the United States
having 49 ongoing studies. On the other hand, France has 26 active studies.
Idas Keb, a co-founder at Finbold, on the findings commented:
“Interestingly, the index also reveals that while there is some correlation
between countries that have the most COVID-19 cases and the number of medical
studies, the majority of the countries are still far behind on coronavirus
research. For example, Spain, which is second by the number of confirmed
coronavirus cases, is not within the top 5 countries in the research index.”
The report features studies that are labeled as ‘Active’ on the
ClinicalTrials.gov database. The studies have a different status like
Recruiting, Not yet recruiting, Active not recruiting and Enrolling by
The research index also highlights the study title, the status of the study,
the institutions carrying out the study and the interventions placed into
managing the condition.
Currently, the Finbold.com Coronavirus Research Index identifies 39
countries with ongoing studies on COVID-19. All listed countries have confirmed
cases of the novel coronavirus.
Just under half of firms in the UK (46%) and US (45%) predict their country will go into recession in 2020, according to research by trade finance provider Stenn
The poll of over 700 senior executives at medium-large sized businesses across the UK, US and China, also revealed that well over a third (37%) of UK firms and one in three (35%) US firms expect to see a global recession or international global crisis in 2020
In the UK, a third (33%) of firms expect the economy to shrink in 2020, with well over a tenth (14%) expecting it to contract by 1-3%
A further 6% expect the UK economy to stay flat with no growth
In the US, almost one in five (16%) expect the economy to shrink in 2020, most likely by 1-3% (7%)
In addition, 6% also expect it to stay flat with no growth.
Dr. Kerstin Braun, President of Stenn Group, commented: “2019 was
weaker than expected and the stakes are only higher for 2020.
Governments around the world are having to act forcefully to prevent the
economic hit from Covid-19 deepening, taking a coordinated approach
and opening the liquidity pipe for both fiscal and monetary support.
While a low interest rate provides an important cut in borrowing
costs for businesses and consumers at this delicate moment, the
coronavirus outbreak will be a real test of the health of the UK and US
economies. Lowering rates alone isn’t enough to be effective in offsetting the
economic impact of Covid-19. We already know the Chinese economy is going to be
hit in the first and second quarter.
“For us, the plunge in oil coupled with the economic damage of Covid-19 marked the beginning of a global recession. Our research showed that at the beginning of the year, half of UK and US businesses predicted a recession and a third predicted an international global crisis, and just three months into 2020 and we’re starting to see this play out.”
was conducted by Atomik Research among 706 senior decision makers at
medium-large sized businesses, across the UK, US, and Chinese markets. The
research fieldwork took place on the 18th – 28th November
2019. Atomik Research is an independent creative market research agency that
employs MRS-certified researchers and abides to MRS code.
International Ltd. is a UK-based, non-bank trade finance provider specialising
in cross-border trade. Stenn’s trade finance solutions are comprehensive and
can be combined to cover the entire supply chain from purchase order to
delivery of goods. Innovative practices allow Stenn to finance in sectors and
geographic regions currently underserved in global trade. The company
operates globally with offices in Buenos Aires, Los Angeles, Dallas, New
York, Miami, London, Amsterdam, Dusseldorf, Berlin, Mumbai, Chennai, Singapore,
Hong Kong, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, Suzhou, Shanghai and Qingdao.
The outbreak of the
coronavirus disease, COVID-19 continues to pose a significant threat to
businesses in the UK. The impact on supply chains, transport and international
travel is causing businesses to consider the impact of coronavirus on their
current or future contractual agreements. Here Julie Hunter a
commercial solicitor at Stephensons Solicitors LLP, discusses why it’s
important for businesses to understand their legal rights and obligations in
light of this global pandemic.
The outbreak of the coronavirus disease COVID-19
continues to cause severe disruption and uncertainty to global trade. Now
categorised as a global pandemic by the World Health Organisation, businesses
must consider whether the impact of the coronavirus could cause them to default
on their contractual obligations, whether this may be an inability to supply
goods due to the effect on the supply chain, an inability to provide services
due to travel restrictions or the cancellation of planned public events due to
quarantine. Many larger businesses have already started to issue statements to
their customers and suppliers in advance of any potential disruption caused by
Can your business delay performance or fail to
fulfil its obligations under a commercial contract due to the coronavirus
outbreak without facing liability? The often-standard force majeure clause
contained in commercial contracts may mitigate risks and help parties navigate
the difficulties caused by the outbreak.
is Force Majeure?
A force majeure clause may relieve a party from
performing its obligations under a commercial contract due to the occurrence of
events which are unforeseeable or outside of its control. You can only rely on
a force majeure clause if it has been drafted into your contract. A force
majeure clause cannot be implied.
As force majeure has no defined meaning in
English law, the effect of a force majeure clause will depend upon the way it
has been drafted into each individual contract. Typically, force majeure
clauses can cover:
acts of God, such as natural disasters and extreme weather events
terrorist attacks, civil war and breaking off diplomatic relations
compliance with a law or order, rule or direction of the government
epidemics or pandemics
Your force majeure clause may give you the right
to suspend performance of the contract for a certain period of time or allow
either you or your counterparty to terminate the contract entirely on the
occurrence of a force majeure event.
as a Force Majeure
On 11 March 2020, the World Health Organisation
classified the coronavirus as a global pandemic. If your force majeure clause
covers the occurrence of a pandemic, then the coronavirus outbreak is likely to
constitute a force majeure event.
If your force majeure clause does not cover
pandemics, you must carefully consider whether the outbreak or its effects
could fall into any of the other force majeure events specified in your
contract. For example, you may find it possible to argue that the quarantine or
isolation restrictions effecting your supply chain constitute a ‘work stoppage’,
or that any international travel restrictions imposed in the UK and other
countries which restrict performance could constitute ‘compliance with an order
of a government’.
The court often interprets the precise wording of
force majeure clauses strictly. If the situation is unclear, you should seek
specialist legal advice on whether the coronavirus would constitute a force
majeure event under your contract.
Even if the coronavirus qualifies as a force
majeure event under your contract, you may not necessarily be able to invoke
your rights under the force majeure clause.
Most force majeure clauses require you to
demonstrate that the event itself has prevented performance of your contract.
This means that if the coronavirus outbreak is simply causing performance to be
more difficult, costly or time-consuming for your business, this may not
necessarily be enough to invoke the clause.
Additionally, it may not always be desirable to
invoke your force majeure clause for commercial reasons. You may need to
consider the following matters:
Is the force majeure clause / event open to interpretation? Your counterparty may dispute your entitlement to any force majeure remedies and seek to enforce performance of the contract.
Could your insurance policy cover any losses or business interruption instead?
Will other parties / business be facing similar problems with supply or performance? Could you negotiate new terms to navigate the issues?
Would exercising the force majeure clause damage your ongoing relationship with the counterparty? Is there a reputational risk if the matter became public?
It is possible that the effects of the outbreak
on your business may not be covered by the force majeure clause as drafted or
you may not have the option of relying on a force majeure contract at all.
If this is the case, any failure to perform your
obligations under the contract (even if the failure is attributable to the
coronavirus) may constitute a breach of contract which you could be liable to
the counterparty for. However, there may be other mechanisms in the contract or
under English contract law generally which may assist you and it is imperative
to obtain legal advice should you find yourself in this situation.
a legal specialist
If you are currently considering entering into
new contracts or are reviewing your contracts in light of the coronavirus, you
should seek legal advice on strengthening your force majeure clause.
If you are currently facing threats of litigation over failed performance caused by the coronavirus or are considering invoking your force majeure clause, it is important to seek legal advice on your rights of termination and breach of contract.
Stephensons Solicitors LLP is a full-service law
firm with offices in Bolton, London, Manchester, St Helens and Wigan.