​NAB allies with Bank Leumi, CIBC for innovation

National Australia Bank has formed an 'international banking innovation alliance' with Israel's Bank Leumi and the CIBC.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

National Australia Bank (NAB) has signed agreements with Israel's Bank Leumi and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) to enable the sharing of information, innovation strategies, and open up their respective networks with startup partners.

NAB has called the new cohort an international banking innovation alliance that will give the group the ability to co-develop products and services. Executive general manager at NAB Labs Jonathan Davey said the alliance will also give NAB access to first-class international innovation initiatives and insights.

"We want to bring the best solutions from around the world to our customers and this alliance helps us to do that. We see this as an opportunity to jointly develop solutions to problems that are common to our respective customers, leveraging the diverse capabilities that we each bring to the table," Davey said.

"We're competing in a rapidly changing world. Everyday new fintechs are challenging the status-quo; we have to not just keep up, but also find ways to get in front. By combining global knowledge and insights we hope to be able to accelerate learning and the development of solutions for our customers."

NAB and CIBC have worked together in the past, with the pair partnering to explore Ripple's blockchain technology to complete international payments transfers between both banks.

"We believe that the technology has the potential to not only deliver real-time international payments, but also improved security and efficiency of our payments systems, so this is an important piece of work," Davey added.

Earlier this month, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) announced a partnership with Barclays in the United Kingdom that would see the pair connecting with each other's apps to allow mobile payments between Australia and the UK.

At the same time, CBA also opened the doors to an innovation lab in London, joining Barclays' own Rise innovation hub, which has focused on fintech since 2014.

The Australian bank said that it decided to launch a lab in London in recognition of the city's world status as the premier centre for financial technology innovation, with the lab expected to grant CBA access to the latest in fintech thinking.

NAB announced last week it had been working on a new banking app to allow its customers to turn off features of Visa debit and credit cards on the fly. Users will be able to temporarily block cards, turn off online shopping, disable PayWave functionality, and prevent cash withdrawals from ATMs.

The bank also revealed its customers would soon be able to instantly use newly approved personal Visa credit cards, with a digital contract feature enabled in its new mobile banking app.

The new app comes as the result of a partnership Visa and NAB kicked off in November, with the bank saying it was able to save around six months of development time.

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