NAB and global banks launch world-first Open Finance Challenge



First-of-its-kind event promotes innovation for a global financial ecosystem

Today NAB, CIBC, Itaú Unibanco and NatWest Group launched the Global Open Finance Challenge, a virtual event encouraging innovation and the development of new solutions for a global open finance ecosystem.

The event is the second in a series of joint initiatives by NAB, CIBC, Itaú Unibanco and NatWest Group aimed at building a stronger, more progressive global banking and financial industry.

The four banks, in collaboration with cloud computing leader Amazon Web Services (AWS), are inviting entrepreneurs and innovators to prototype new customer solutions on a global scale. The ideas will address some of the most pressing challenges in the financial services industry, cultivating an open finance ecosystem that allows secure data sharing among financial institutions, and enabling the banks to deliver more choice and customised product offerings for clients around the world, and the public at large.

“The Global Open Finance Challenge will help transform our industry around the world by encouraging innovation and advancing our common goals: to support our clients in an evolving landscape through value-added digital services, more convenient access to the financial ecosystem through the channels customers want, and a continued focus on sustainability.”
– Ross McEwan, Group CEO, NAB; Victor Dodig, President and CEO, CIBC; Milton Maluhy Filho, CEO, Itaú Unibanco; Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest Group.

NAB CEO Ross McEwan added: “A competitive and innovative financial services industry is critical to ensuring great customer outcomes, with opportunities for further innovation and to establish new business models.

“Collaboration between established financial services providers, big tech and fintechs has never been more important, as we respond to rapidly changing customer needs and expectations.

“This event will open up new ideas, drawing from a global talent pool, which could provide significant benefits for our customers.”

The launch of the challenge comes at a time when NAB is growing its engineering capability across Australia and expanding on its world leading cloud and engineering Guilds; seeking to deliver innovative, personalised, digital experiences to serve customers.

Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer,, said: “Financial services companies across the globe are going through rapid digital transformation. 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.

“We look forward to collaborating with the builders in the challenge to deliver tangible solutions that help people around the world meet their financial goals.”

About the Global Open Finance Challenge
The banks have collaborated with Oolys, a leading API infrastructure platform for financial service providers, to develop a sandbox environment that securely runs on AWS. This environment replicates a bank’s existing infrastructure, enabling rapid testing with third parties in a safe and secure environment.

To aid in the development of applications, each bank will provide a set of shared APIs, including a combination of open banking, open finance, and experimental services. Participating teams can test, build and validate solutions, with mentorship from leaders within the banks and event partners.

AWS will collaborate with the four banks to provide participants with advisory support to help them build their concepts in the lead up to the judging event, which includes access to coaching and resources on innovation and product development.

The top 12 teams will present their ideas to an executive judging panel with the CEOs of the four banks, plus executives from private equity, venture capital, and technology organizations:

  • Ross McEwan, Group CEO, NAB
  • Victor Dodig, President and CEO, CIBC
  • Milton Maluhy Filho, CEO, Itaú Unibanco
  • Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest Group
  • Werner Vogels, Chief Technology Officer,
  • Rob Heyvaert, Managing Partner, Motive Partners

The participating banks have identified three areas Challenge participants may choose to focus on, posing the following questions:

  • How can we better serve our corporate and business customers, and the public at large, by delivering high-value digital services?
  • How can we help current and new customers access banking services through more convenient or relevant digital channels?
  • How can we find innovative ways to help our customers make better decisions around climate and sustainability?

There will be four winning teams selected from the Global Open Finance Challenge, one winner for each of the three key areas identified, and an overall Challenge winner. The winning teams will each have the opportunity to participate in a post-event tailored incubation programme with one or more of the banks, which will include:

  • Proof of concept with the banks: a dedicated in-bank team to collaborate and support a proof of concept, including feedback from front-line and customer research groups
  • Ventures pitch: post-event teams will have the opportunity to pitch to all of the banks’ ventures teams
  • Local market guidance: post-event teams can receive exclusive meetings with in-bank teams for education on local market environments
  • Senior leadership: exposure to internal decision-makers for networking relationship support and partner discussion
  • Media coverage: the winning teams will be featured in press releases across global and local banking, fintech, and technology media channels
  • Solution architecture: expert consultants from Amazon Web Services (“AWS”) will provide support on functional and technical designs

How to register
Fintechs, large global organisations, early and late-stage startups, universities, and other teams of innovators are encouraged to join the Challenge. Event registration is open from August 16th:

The Global Open Finance Challenge grand finale event will take place in November 2021.

Customers, banking & finance


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