NAB takes open banking concepts global

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NAB takes open banking concepts global

Ties up with three other banks, AWS in hunt for new ideas.

NAB is expanding its world view of open banking with what it is calling ‘open finance’, extending potential data sharing and fintech collaboration opportunities outside of Australia.

The bank said overnight that an alliance with Canada’s CIBC, Brazi’s Itaú Unibanco and the UK’s NatWest Group, together with AWS, would run an ‘open finance challenge’.

“The four banks, in collaboration with AWS, are inviting entrepreneurs and innovators to prototype new customer solutions on a global scale,” it said in a statement.

“The ideas will address some of the most pressing challenges in the financial services industry, cultivating an open finance ecosystem that allows secure data sharing among financial institutions, and enabling the banks to deliver more choice and customised product offerings for clients around the world, and the public at large.”

NAB’s chief innovation officer Howard Silby told an AWS channel that the bank hoped to take some of the concepts behind open banking and extend them more broadly.

Open banking in Australia is designed to allow customers to share their banking data with fintechs and others that might be able to add value to it, such as for personal budgeting.

“Open banking is a much-discussed topic amongst banks at the moment and … a great leveler that gives customers greater control of their data and how they use it to help them in their daily lives,” Silby said.

“We like to think about open finance a little more broadly than open banking. 

“Open banking often just refers to the regulatory requirements that banks have, but open finance is the idea that, with the right partners and with the right data sharing, we can make customer experiences and customer journeys a lot easier, not just actually within finance, but in multiple aspects of life.

“For our everyday customers, we know that there's a lot of things that we can make easier for them, whether it's personal budgeting, whether it's understanding their environmental footprint, whether it's as a small business owner in terms of planning and budgeting for the business.”

NAB - and its international bank partners - are hoping to source potential solutions in all three of these areas, and then put their internal resources and weight behind those ideas to develop them further.

“What we're going to do is make available a large range of APIs as well as data across the globe to innovators and entrepreneurs that they can use to experiment with and build things,” Silby said.

“We are inviting entrepreneurs and innovators all around the world [to participate], whether it be a postgraduate at business or a developer at a university through to a startup, or even a more well-developed fintech.”

The banks have tied up with Oolys, an API infrastructure platform provider for the financial services industry, “to develop a sandbox environment that securely runs on AWS,” they said in a statement.

“This environment replicates a bank’s existing infrastructure, enabling rapid testing with third parties in a safe and secure environment,” according to the statement.

“To aid in the development of applications, each bank will provide a set of shared APIs, including a combination of open banking, open finance, and experimental services. 

“Participating teams can test, build and validate solutions, with mentorship from leaders within the banks and event partners.”

Silby said the banks hoped to identify several incubation opportunities through the challenge.

“The opportunity is to go into a more detailed incubation with one of the banks,” Silby said.

“Certainly from an NAB perspective, we're really looking forward to working with one or more of the teams where we actually can continue to build and refine the idea. 

“The teams will own their IP but obviously we can bring the resources of a large financial services organisation to help scale that idea, to help with the technology, with legal, and really see that that idea brought to life and that team grow.”

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