The virtual event, taking place in October, aims to encourage innovation and the development of new solutions for a global open finance ecosystem.

The four banks, in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS), are inviting entrepreneurs and innovators to prototype new customer solutions on a global scale. 

The CEOs of the four global Banks released a joint statement about the event:

"The Global Open Finance Challenge will help transform our industry around the world by encouraging innovation and advancing our common goals: to support our clients in an evolving landscape through value-added digital services, more convenient access to the financial ecosystem through the channels customers want, and a continued focus on sustainability," – Ross McEwan, Group CEO, NAB; Victor Dodig, President and CEO, CIBC; Milton Maluhy Filho, CEO, Itaú Unibanco; Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest Group.

NAB CEO Ross McEwan added: "A competitive and innovative financial services industry is critical to ensuring great customer outcomes, with opportunities for further innovation and to establish new business models."

"Collaboration between established financial services providers, big tech and fintechs has never been more important, as we respond to rapidly changing customer needs and expectations."

The participating banks have identified three areas participants may choose to focus on.

The first area is delivering 'high value' digital services to clients and the public.

Second is helping current and new customers to access banking services through convenient digital channels, and third is helping customers make better decisions around climate and sustainability.

The top 12 teams selected from all participants will present their ideas to an executive judging panel with the CEOs of the four banks, plus executives from private equity, venture capital, and technology organisations. 

Four winners will then be chosen from this shortlist, one from each category, and an overall winner.

The state of fintech in Australia

The fintech sector has been gaining momentum in Australia with the launch of independent competitors such as Nano forcing the big four banks to invest in their own fintech ventures.

CBA's own annual report provided a clear indication that digital finance is also a priority for the big bank, with the launch of its own BNPL platform and 'Advance Pay' for customers. 

However smaller banks may be lagging behind the big four. 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission revealed at the end of July that there were 55 ADIs "not providing the required service" in regards to open banking and the Consumer Data Right (CDR).

In the wake of the launch of CDR, big banks continue to grow their fintech ventures, either developing their own digital products, or leveraging successful smaller lenders - such as NAB's acquisition of 86 400, or Bendigo Bank's continued development with Tic:Toc and Up Bank.

Photo by Marvin Meyer on Unsplash