Open Banking for Good as Nationwide kickstarts challenge to close the growing financial capability gap

“Open Banking can benefit those who most need help managing their money. We want to help make that happen” – Nationwide Chief Executive Joe Garner

One in four households* could benefit from a challenge being established by Nationwide Building Society, aimed at creating apps and services that improve financial capability for those struggling.

Nationwide – the world’s biggest building society – has today announced how it will work with Government and business through the Inclusive Economy Partnership (IEP) – a collaboration between businesses, civil society and government departments to solve some of society’s toughest challenges.

The IEP aims to bring together willing and determined like-minded organisations to enable positive change across all communities. For Nationwide, this is relevant to how people ‘bank’, given the seismic changes impacting the way the nation transacts, such as Open Banking – the platform that enables banks and building societies to enhance their digital offerings through an ecosystem of third party applications and services.

Nationwide, which is the UK’s second largest savings and mortgage provider, will build on its social purpose by challenging the fintech community to develop Open Banking technology that helps improve the lives of the one in four UK households* who are financially squeezed – equivalent to 12.7 million people.

Launching in September, Open Banking for Good will convene some of the brightest minds in established fintechs and start-ups, through to innovators and debt and money charities. The challenge is supported by Accenture, with selection panel members including Sir John Gieve (Chairman of Nesta); Joanna Elson OBE (Chief Executive, Money Advice Trust) Rachel Coldicutt (CEO, Doteveryone) and Julian Skan (Senior Managing Director, Accenture Strategy).

Open Banking has the potential to help better connect people with their overall financial information. However, it could also leave people behind if organisations purely focus on profit rather than purpose. Open Banking for Good is looking to harness this new technology to help solve some of the biggest financial challenges facing society, such as debt, managing money and the ability to save.

The fintech community will be invited to develop Open Banking solutions that make a difference to people’s lives, in the knowledge that an estimated 85 per cent of adults either own or have access to a smartphone. The winners of the challenge, which will launch in September, could receive investment and support from Nationwide, in addition to the credibility and trust associated with the mutual’s brand. Working in partnership, the Society will look to scale up the idea and use its position in the market to ensure it is able to launch successfully – whether to the society’s 15 million members or beyond.

Joe Garner, Nationwide’s Chief Executive, said: “As a mutual we believe in the power of collaboration – that we achieve more together than we can alone. That’s why the Inclusive Economy Partnership is a welcome initiative and a natural fit for Nationwide.

There could be more than 12 million people in the country who are only just keeping their heads above water in terms of their finances. Just one or two right or wrong financial decisions can make all the difference between financial health and spiralling debt.

We believe Open Banking presents a huge opportunity to help people manage their money better and support a more inclusive financial services sector. We’re looking for innovators to come forward with ideas to help people living on a financial knife edge – with no savings or relying heavily on credit.

As an industry, we can use Open Banking to benefit those who most need help. Which is why we are focused on harnessing the latest technological innovation to help transform financial capability for millions of people in the UK.

Oliver Dowden MP CBE, Minister for Implementation at the Cabinet Office: “The Partnership presents an exciting opportunity to innovate for social good. Through collaboration we can create, test and scale ideas that have the potential to transform the lives of citizens across the UK.

Author: Yash Hirani

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