NAB's huge deal with Xero shows fintechs are not just booming, they're here to stay

Picture: Getty Images.

Australia’s big banks have been jostling for the title of the most technologically advanced institution, making big plays to get the edge.

Australia’s third largest bank, NAB, is running its NextGen project which is complete overhaul of its legacy systems. CommBank is working with a number of startups and last year announced it was ready to work with developers.

Meanwhile, financial services startups, also known as fintech, are biting at the banks’ heels for a piece of their combined $28.6 billion profit.

Accounting software companies like Xero, which didn’t exist 15 years ago, are now processing billions of dollars a month in payments and have the ability to track cash flows across the economy in real time.

It was only a matter of time before a big bank joined forces with the tech company and today, NAB revealed it had struck a deal to open up its APIs – basically, development tools – to Xero.

NAB’s executive general manager of Digital & Direct Banking, Adam Bennett, said by connecting Xero to NAB, small businesses will benefit from simplified and automated administration tasks.

“NAB customers will now be able to connect their banking information to Xero instantly and seamlessly, providing greater visibility of their cash flow in real-time and across all accounts,” Bennett said.

“Small businesses will no longer have to wait up to 10 days to have their bank accounts connected to their accounting software, with all of the work being done for them instantly.”

Xero Australia boss Chris Ridd. Image: Supplied.

NAB is the first Australian bank with core API technology linked to Xero’s accounting cloud ecosystems.

Xero Australia managing director, Chris Ridd, explained NAB customers who use the platform will be able to set up their bank feeds online and receive real time information in both NAB Internet Banking and Xero.

Once established, these feeds will appear the next morning and refresh daily.

In time, customers will also be able to make NAB product and lending enquiries from within Xero.

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