Open Banking presents "endless" possibilities for green lending, says Oplo exec

Richard Sharp, managing director, consumer division, Oplo was speaking with Emma Steeley, CEO, AccountScore, at the AltFi Festival of Finance, where he spoke about the possibilities that open banking could bring to green lending.

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Open banking now works a “treat” for businesses, according to a senior executive with consumer lender Oplo, who says the technology presents “endless” possibilities for green lending.

Richard Sharp, managing director, consumer division, Oplo was speaking with Emma Steeley, CEO, AccountScore at the AltFi Festival of Finance.

The pair were speaking in a fireside chat session entitled “The Possibilities Of Open Banking Beyond Affordability”.

Blackpool-based Oplo, which has lent over £900m since it launched 10 years ago, was acquired by one of the original challenger banks Tandem last year.

It has lent hundreds of millions to people looking to invest in carbon-free heat pumps and solar panels for their homes.

Sharp said the possibilities that open banking presented for green lending were “endless”.

“From a greener perspective, the possibilities are kind of endless,” he said.

Oplo is devising a green score for customers (including information like how green are their transactions), which will be turned into a green marketplace.

This marketplace, through open banking, can help customers with, for example , improving the Energy Efficient Rating of their property, said Sharp.

Emma Steeley, CEO, AccountScore, said open banking data helps crack the question of affordability.

Steeley said: “Affordability is no better than when it’s done with open banking data. 

“The key for me there is very much about categorisation is not equal. And it is about being able to differentiate between essential spend and discretionary spend. 

“And truly being able to identify what is earned income versus the other credits that go into the accounts.  I think that is fundamentally at the core of open banking and its affordability.

Sharp said open banking was now working a “treat” for businesses, a world away from the early years of open banking when integrating open banking was “difficult” for businesses. 

He said: “I think three or four years ago, people were like ‘this new thing has come out what does it actually mean? How does that fit with my strategic three-year plan for my business?’ 

“The experience wasn’t great when it first came out as we all know. There was no app to app, it was very clunky. The integration of it was difficult.

“I think now it is completely different. The app to app version works a treat, the experience is really good. 

“We understand what value it can add to our customers and then what value that can add to the lifetime value  of a customer as well. And that is key for me, it’s about lifetime value.”

He said that now people were cognisant of open banking but they don’t realise its true potential.

“Everybody checks their account most days, you are always going through your transactions, you are looking at your own behaviour. 

“If we can get them to understand that that is what the lenders are trying to do to get them better products and build new products around their behaviour, I think it’s going to be a success.”

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