Wednesday, 01 July 2020 08:31

CommBank launches first phase of Open Banking regime Featured

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Angus Sullivan: "At CBA, data security and privacy remains our number one priority and we know that our customers want to engage with organisations that take cyber security seriously." Angus Sullivan: "At CBA, data security and privacy remains our number one priority and we know that our customers want to engage with organisations that take cyber security seriously." Courtesy: CommBank

The Commonwealth Bank has announced the launch of the first phase of Australia's Open Banking regime for sharing consumer data and says it will lead to delivery of better products and services.

In a statement, CBA, the biggest bank in the country, said it had made significant investment in the infrastructure needed to support the digital economy within the framework laid down by the government.

The bank added that sprucing up things for Open Banking had been made just that bit more difficult by the COVID-19 pandemic.

A global survey by Juniper Research in May forecast that the total number of Open Banking users who shared data via open banking APIs to aggregate their bank accounts and access new services would double by 2021.

The UK-based company said while Open Banking exposed user information and access to potential competitors, this threat was equal to all players and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic was increasing the need for consumers to aggregate accounts and gain insight into their financial health.

As such, Juniper recommended that established banks create innovative services that provided user benefits, and attracted customers from less innovative competitors.

In February, a survey by the Emerging Payments Association Asia came up with the following lessons about Open Banking:

  • Open Banking is inherently multi-disciplinary, and requires the co-ordination and leadership of regulators, central banks and government agencies;
  • Inclusive consultation and implementation processes go beyond “big banks” to also include smaller institutions, new entrants and fintechs;
  • Development of APIs with consideration of what has been done in other jurisdictions will be beneficial (for example, Australia leveraged the UK API standards);
  • Open Banking is more than a technology solution; it goes beyond the standards and rules around APIs; and
  • Consideration of faster payment, digital identity and consent management initiatives would support the development of Open Banking.

CBA Group executive of Retail Banking Services, Angus Sullivan, said: “As Australia’s largest bank, with our leading digital services including the CommBank app and NetBank, we are excited by the opportunity to deliver greater industry leading products and services to even more Australians.

“The investment in Open Banking will allow a well-regulated and secure framework for the sharing of customer data in Australia and a substantial improvement over other, unsafe practices.”

The bank added that it would keep up its scale of investment in the Open Banking regime to help reach its full potential.

Sullivan added: “Coupled with the nation’s most powerful Customer Engagement Engine and data capabilities, we will be able to provide new experiences to our customers.

"On top of existing features such as Benefits finder – which during coronavirus alone has helped 500,000 customers by connecting them to government money and rebates they are entitled to – we are investing to be able to roll out new initiatives in the future.

“At CBA, data security and privacy remains our number one priority and we know that our customers want to engage with organisations that take cyber security seriously.

"We have more than seven million digitally active customers who trust CBA with their financial information; ensuring their data is treated safely and securely is core to how we protect their financial well-being.

“Cyber security is a growing, significant issue and the constant threat of online fraud underpins the need for consumers, organisations and government to take data and account security seriously.

"CBA will continue to invest more than $5 billion in technology in the next five years to maintain its digital leadership position.”

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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