Macquarie to give customers data control with new open banking platform

The open banking platform will give third-parties API access, providing the customer consents.

Macquarie Group has kicked off the pilot of its new open banking platform, touted by the company as giving customers control over their banking data, which includes the ability to manage how it is shared.

In a statement on Monday, the banking giant explained it has opened its application programming interfaces (API) up to third-party providers -- providing the customer consents -- to allow other players to use the data to potentially offer more competitive services.

Information the new platform can share includes personal banking data such as a customer's transactions and home loan balances, as well as their business and wealth information. It can be plugged into third-party providers like budgeting apps and accounting software, not just competing financial services providers; however, the third-party provider must meet Macquarie's open platform standards and security criteria before it will turn over the data.

The platform, which will be made available in the "coming months", allows customers to manage access to their data in real-time through the Macquarie banking app.

"APIs are being used by leading digital companies like Amazon and Google to transform consumer experiences, and we're excited about the opportunities the technology will bring to financial services," said Ben Perham, head of Personal Banking in Macquarie's Banking and Financial Services Group.

"We've built a highly personalised digital banking experience, so empowering our customers to securely manage how they want to use their own data is the logical next step."

Macquarie has also launched devXchange, a developer portal with a test sandbox that allows third-parties to play with the bank's customer data.

By 2018, banks in the United Kingdom will be required to open up their APIs to enable consumer data to be accessed by competing banks, startups, and other financial institutions -- providing the consumer consents. This is a move the Australian House of Representatives Standing Committee on Economics is eager to see implemented in Australia.

A report from the committee, tabled in November, recommended that banks be forced to provide open access for third parties to customer and small business data by July 2018, almost identical to what Macquarie has announced, and would include information on a customer's transaction history, account balances, credit card usage, and mortgage repayments.

Throughout the banking probe, committee chair and federal Member for Banks David Coleman touted the initiative as an important measure that not only provides more control to the consumer, but one that has the potential to make a strong contribution to the country's economic growth.

The federal government took this on board, announcing in July that it is looking into implementing an open banking system regime, having announced that it is seeking advice from law firm King & Wood Mallesons on how to boost competition and innovation in financial services.

Speaking at Australia's Asian Future Summit 2017 in Sydney earlier this month, Australian Treasurer Scott Morrison said the open banking initiative is one that will change the country's economy.

"One of the biggest changes we can make, which links into the broader technology in this space, is consumer data rights and the Productivity Commission -- that is one of the big rocks in the jar for really lifting Australia's productivity over the next 20 years, and that is giving customers control of their information," he said.

"That is the building block that every fintech, that every technology company -- every company -- needs to be able to find a better deal and deliver a better service.

"That will change our economy."

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