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Finder hosts open banking breakfast with industry leaders


Open Banking breakfast event at Finder.

Experts from Finder, the ACCC and Allens discussed the opportunities and challenges in open banking.

Finder hosted a breakfast event at its Sydney office this week, where a panel of industry experts revealed the opportunities and challenges for marketers under the open banking framework.

Featured on the panel was Fred Schebesta, co-founder of Finder, Bruce Cooper from the ACCC's Consumer Data Right Branch, and Alex Ortner, banking specialist and senior associate at Allens. Moderating the discussion was Finder's open banking specialist, Ben King.

The audience included nearly 50 delegates from some of Australia's major banks, credit providers and fintechs, including ING, RateSetter, American Express, Citibank, Ubank, HSBC, Aussie and Volt Bank.

The discussion kicked off around the Consumer Data Right (CDR) regulation, which has now passed in both houses. This has put Australia on a six-month crash course with one of the biggest changes to banking since the Internet, but what will this really mean for both consumers and marketers?

For Schebesta, open banking means increased consumer empowerment, making it easier than ever before for customers to find a better deal. "Imagine a world where you could log into your bank account or a third-party app and see all of your financial products – your energy, super, home loan, shares, crypto – all in one place. Then you could go on to switch those products easily," he said.

Yet the issue of data sharing remains a challenge. The ACCC's rules around voluntary versus mandatory data sharing have raised questions around how much information financial institutions will be required to impart – and how much of it will actually be useful.

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For Ortner, a lack of consumer understanding around the safety of their information presents another challenge. "There are rigorous controls in place for accredited recipients to receive data, and consumers need to know this."

Cooper says that cooperation between regulators and industry service providers will be critical to ensuring there's a consistent message around data sharing. If not, this can lead to consumer fear and a lack of trust in open banking altogether.

Yet all three panellists remain optimistic about the exciting opportunities that open banking presents. For Schebesta, system automation and simplifying the product application process are the key areas marketers should hone in on – for now.

"Start positioning open banking as an opportunity, start laying these opportunities out and look at what you can take advantage of. Providers of the future will do this," Schebesta said.

The panellists were also pleased to see a change in attitude from the audience towards using open banking themselves. There was also a significant improvement in personal understanding of the open banking regime as it stands.

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