NAB is opening its data vaults for fintechs

Photo: Inside Man/ Facebook via @InsideManMovie.

NAB chief executive Andrew Thorburn says he will support moves to require banks to share customer data, a key requirement for fintechs to compete with the big players.

“We welcome competition,” he told the House of Representatives economics committee.

“That’s how this bank has survived and competed for 150 years.

“And now we’ve got new competition, fintechs that are coming at us and we welcome that too. You have to lift and get better and that’s good for customers.”

Thorburn also supports greater account portability, where a customer could more easily move to a new bank without having to change automatic payments.

In the UK, the Competition and Markets Authority says banks will have to share data with third parties from 2018, a move it says will bring cheaper loans and services.

Pushed by questioning from the committee, Thorburn agreed to take on notice on what incentives he will provide to his executives to ensure data sharing happens.

NAB last year setup NAB Ventures, a $50 million fund to accelerate its fintech innovation efforts.

Thorburn is on record as saying he wants the bank to acquire the sort of hunger to succeed found in fintech startups.

The CEOs of the four major banks are being grilled by the committee following a series of scandals including giving faulty financial planning advice to customers and restricting payouts for disability insurance claims and allegations of rigging the bank bill swap rate (the Commonwealth Bank is not included in this).

The banks were also widely criticised last month for only passing on about half the 0.25 percentage point cut in cash rates to 1.5%. The banks instead also increased some rates on deposits.

Thorburn is the third of the four bank CEOs to front the committee. Westpac’s Brian Hartzer is due before the committee later today.


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