Pot Payments, FinTech Partnerships, ESG Products: Chicago FinTech News 05-11-2020

AeroPay Prepares to Support Pot Payments

Payments startups AeroPay has been approved to use its merchant payments platform to accept payments at cannabis dispensaries in Colorado, reports CEO Daniel Muller. The AeroPay platform provides low-cost payment exchange between merchants and their customers in partnership with financial institutions.

The problems and solutions to banking the cash-based cannabis industry gained increasing attention during the covid-19 pandemic in Chicago and elsewhere. “Cannabis industry supporters see an opportunity for a banking provision to be tacked on to a future stimulus bill,” reports John Pletz in Crain’s Chicago Business (paywall).

Daniel is a member of FinTech Rising-sponsored Chicago Payments Forum. The group hosts its first online payments meetup May 19. Email Collin Canright for details.

Current sign about the not-to-distant past.

BMO Harris Supports Women in FinTech Initiative with 1871

BMO Harris Bank begins its fourth collaboration with the 1871 innovation and startup accelerator with the launch of  WMNFINtech: A Women in FINtech Initiative. Hurry! The program is accepting applications through Monday May 11.

“This initiative isn’t just about supporting women-owned businesses. BMO is also working to build innovative, high-quality digital experiences for our customers. We believe in ”better together” – partnering with fintechs, big techs, incubators and venture capital firms is a key way that we bring the outside in to deliver the best experiences to our customers,” Ben Schack, head of digital partnerships at BMO Harris Bank, in a post on the 1871 blog.

Enova Provides $500,000 to support Covid-19 Relief in Chicago

Online lending and analytics company Enova has announced plans to provide $500,000 to support Covid-19-related relief activities in Chicago. The funds will be directed to the Chicago Community Covid-19 Response Fund and the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund.

“Enova is proud to be a leading Chicago FinTech, and we are committed to helping our employees, our customers and our city make it through the coronavirus pandemic together,” said Enova CEO David Fisher. “These funds will support our city’s people and small businesses to help ensure Chicago remains vibrant and thriving.”

Chicago Wealth Firms Expand ESG Research and Analytics Services

Two global financial firms are betting that institutional and individual investors will continue to demand greater insight and transparency into portfolios build on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors. ESG factors such as sustainability, stakeholder capitalism, and diversity have played a heightened role in global investment considerations—and results—over the past several years.

Global financial services firm Morningstar, Inc. recently announced an agreement to acquire Sustainalytics, a company specializing in ESG ratings and research. Morningstar currently owns a 40% stake in the company and will purchase the remaining 60% upon closing.

In a similar move, Northern Trust Co. recently launched a new ESG Analytics Summary to provide equity and corporate bond portfolios with “scores” against a range of ESG factors, United Nation’s (UN) Global Compact principles and business activity flags. Northern Trust is combining its global custody asset information with data provided in partnership with information services provider IdealRatings.

“Modern investors in public and private markets are demanding ESG data, research, ratings, and solutions in order to make informed, meaningful investing decisions,” said Morningstar CEO Kunal Kapoor.

“To achieve that effectively, it is vital they . . . identify financial risks and opportunities – and help ensure their investments continue to be aligned with their values,” said Serge Boccassini, product lead, Investment Accounting and Analytic Solutions at Northern Trust.

FinTEx Upcoming Events

Shelter-in-place orders may be preventing traditional conferences, but FinTEx is continuing to host virtual events for the Chicago FinTech community.

May 20 – FinTEx Office HoursPart of a forum series built for open Q&A.

May 27 – Winning Now: Leading in a VUCA WorldFinTEx, the Polsky Center, and Chicago Booth are hosting this online seminar on management strategies for founders to employ in today’s changing world.