Lab co-hosts Open Banking Convention 2018

On 1 May the Lab is co-convening the Open Banking Convention in partnership with the Open Banking Implementation Entity and Level 39. Marloes Nicholls, Head of Programmes, explains why it’s an important opportunity for leading fintechs and civil society representatives to exchange ideas about how Open Banking can deliver better outcomes for consumers and citizens.

Open Banking, some say, is the post-crisis regulatory change that finally challenges the power of the UK’s banks. By forcing the nine biggest banks and building societies to ‘open up’ their data, customers can – for the first time – share the wealth of information banks have long held about our finances and spending habits, in a standard and secure way. But will customers feel the benefits and share in the value of their data?

As our work with fintech experts, consumer groups and policymakers has uncovered, the current state of regulation, imbalances in the market and low public engagement mean that the data revolution could jeopardise people’s financial health and exacerbate inequalities. We’ve called for urgent, concerted action on a number of fronts, including strengthening government oversight, launching a public awareness campaign, and investing in non-commercial use of people’s data.

We’ve also called for greater collaboration between fintechs and the wider community of experts in financial health – especially end-users, grassroots organisations, the voluntary sector and policymakers – on the design of new products and services. That’s why we’re excited to partner with the Open Banking Implementation Entity, the organisation responsible for overseeing the initiative, to run a Convention for leading fintechs and civil society representatives to exchange ideas about how Open Banking can deliver better outcomes for everyone.

The Lab’s approach to innovation emphasises the importance of listening to a range of voices, to ensure the future of finance really works for the people it serves. Innovators always benefit from outside input, especially from those experiencing financial ill-health and those who work closest to them. At the same time, innovators have valuable technical expertise to share. There are potential opportunities to use Open Banking in the third sector, such as debt advice, that need to be further explored and developed.

By using the Lab’s expertise in building dialogue between different groups, we hope to develop greater understanding about people’s hopes for the Open Banking revolution, as well as how new fintech solutions can support them. We will launch the new Consumer Manifesto, co-developed by a number of industry and consumer groups, which outlines a new vision for Open Banking. We’ll also explore the value of a new Code of Conduct for fintechs working with Open Banking, to ensure fair and transparent use of a person’s financial data.

By working together to put social purpose at the forefront of Open Banking, we want to realise the potential for the initiative to result in better products and services that support financial health and consumer power.

Find out more about the Lab’s work on Open Banking and financial health here.