Itaú opens open banking hackathon with international banks | finance

On Monday (16), Itaú announced the Global Open Finance Challenge in partnership with CIBC banks, from Canada; NAB; from Australia; and NatWest, from the United Kingdom. The four institutions, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), will hold a virtual event that will receive open banking solutions for Brazil and the world – that is, ideas made possible thanks to the sharing of financial data by customers .


Itaú on Apple Pay (Image: Tecnoblog)

Rafael Heringer, superintendent of technology in open banking at Itaú, explains in an interview with Techblog that the alliance with the three international banks began to take shape thanks to Project Carbon, a carbon offset market announced in July this year – the pilot project has the participation of CIBC, NAB and NatWest.

Each country is at a different time in open banking: the United Kingdom was a pioneer in the area in 2018, and regulation of the sector in Australia took effect in July 2020. In Brazil, data sharing between banks began in the last year Friday (13), authorized by the Central Bank. Meanwhile, in Canada, the matter is still under discussion.

Challenge participants will have access to a sandbox that replicates a bank’s infrastructure, allowing them to perform tests in a protected environment with simulated data. Each bank will share APIs that combine open banking and services on a trial basis to enable application creation.

Heringer points to Techblog that there will be more than 20 APIs available, and they will be basically the same in the sandbox of the four banks, but with the necessary adaptations: for example, for Itaú, the customer identifier will be the CPF.

And according to the executive, Itaú will not only open the APIs required by BC: open banking resources will be available for payments, offering products, exchange, fraud prevention, credit score, among others.

How the Global Open Finance Challenge works

Registration for the event is open and can be made through the website globalopenfinancechallenge.com. Fintechs, startups, large companies, universities and other teams of innovators are invited to participate.

In the first phase, teams will create and test solutions with mentorship from leaders from the four banks and AWS. There are three areas of concentration:

  • better serve corporate customers and the general public through digital services with high added value;
  • help the existing customer base and new entrants access banking services via more convenient or relevant digital channels;
  • find innovative ways to help clients make better climate and sustainability decisions.

Then, 12 groups will be chosen to present the ideas to a panel of judges, including the CEOs of the four banks and executives from the sector of private equity, venture capital and technology organizations:

  • Milton Maluhy, CEO of Itaú Unibanco
  • Victor Dodig, President and CEO of CIBC
  • Ross McEwan, CEO of NAB (National Australia Bank)
  • Alison Rose, CEO of the NatWest Group
  • Werner Vogels, CTO at Amazon
  • Rob Heyvaert, Managing Partner at Motive Partners

The final phase of the Global Open Finance Challenge will be in November 2021. Winning teams will be able to participate in an incubation program after the event, with one or more banks running the challenge.

This includes: a proof of concept (PoC); a pitch for the Venture Capital teams of all banks; meetings with internal bank teams to understand regional markets; contact senior leadership to help with networking; and AWS support for functional and technical projects.

Itaú and open banking

Heringer explains to Techblog that the awards will not be cash because the focus is on providing an experience that gives access to training webinars and APIs that are not available to the general public; in addition, the 12 selected teams will get in touch with senior executives from various banks.

He claims that there are relatively few global hackathons, and none related to open finance so far. Therefore, this would be an interesting solution for fintechs and startups in general that want to gain scale with the bank in their own country or in other geographies.

For the executive, Itaú would not be adopting a defensive posture in relation to open banking because the market is still very large, and because this allows the development of new products as more customer information flows to the bank. In addition, this is an opportunity to open more accounts and issue more credit cards.

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