NatWest and Amazon launch open finance challenge to spur innovation

By Oliver Smith on Friday 10 September 2021

Digital Banking

Canadian bank CIBC, Brazil’s Itaú Unibanco, and National Australia Bank are all supporting the competition.

NatWest and Amazon launch open finance challenge to spur innovation
Image source: Alison Rose/NatWest.

Four of the world’s largest banks have partnered up to launch a global open finance challenge, inviting developers to build digital banking concept services on top of their data APIs.

NatWest, National Australia Bank, Brazil’s Itaú Unibanco, Canadian bank CIBC along with Amazon Web Services and VC Motive Partners, are collaborating on the challenge, which was announced late last month.

The banks involved are offering up access to private open finance and experimental APIs, which developers will access as part of a competition sandbox run by infrastructure provider Oolys.

Later this year, the top 12 teams will be invited to present their ideas to the CEOs of all four banks, along with Amazon’s chief technology officer Werner Vogels and VC Rob Heyvaert.

“Financial services companies across the globe are going through rapid digital transformation,” said Vogels on the launch.

“By encouraging builders and crowdsourcing new technological ideas, these forward-looking banks running the Global Open Finance Challenge will be able to develop new technologies to meet people’s rapidly evolving banking needs.”

The competition is focused on three challenge areas, delivering high-value digital services, accessing banking through digital channels, and improving customer decisions around climate and sustainability.

“As the past year has shown, it has never been more important to work collaboratively, across borders, and we are proud to launch the Global Open Finance Challenge,” said NatWest CEO Alison Rose.

“By bringing together financial services firms and global innovators, we will continue to create great outcomes for people, families and businesses, helping them to thrive as we recover and rebuild.”

Four winners will be chosen by the judges—along with one overall challenge winner—and will get the chance to join an incubation programme with one or more of the banks, including support developing their concepts, pitching to all of the banks’ venture teams, local market guidance and access to senior leadership.

Applications are open here until 26 September, with the winner being announced on 16 November.

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