Open Banking for Good (OB4G), Nationwide's big initiative to use Open Banking technology in new ways to help the UK's 'financially squeezed', is well underway. Here's an update on what it's all about, the story so far and what's set to happen next…
What is Open Banking for Good?
The OB4G project came out of our relationship with the Inclusive Economy Partnership, a collaboration between business, civil society and government departments. At the heart of OB4G is a big goal: to use Open Banking to solve some of society's biggest challenges, creating solutions that bring practical help to the 'financially squeezed' – the one in four households (12.7 million people) who are struggling financially in the UK..1.
Nationwide has worked with 17 charities and organisations to identify three key challenges for OB4G to focus on:
Income and expenditure
Money management and help
Through OB4G these challenges are being tackled by fintechs and other organisations taking part in the challenge, and they've come up with new ways of helping to improve the lives of the financially squeezed using Open Banking technology. Nationwide has made £3m available to fund the delivery of these solutions through the challenge.
What's happened so far?
In October 2018, OB4G was unveiled at an event in Westminster which included the launch of both the OB4G website and the application process. In November, this was followed by a seminar held in London that brought people together. You can see a highlights video from the opening event and hear the views of the charities and start-ups on the day.
By the closing date in late November last year, we had nearly 50 applications from start-ups across the three challenge areas.
Working with four key charities (Money Advice Trust, Citizens Advice, The Money Charity and Money & Mental Health), the OB4G team assessed each application and selected the applicants that best understand and meet the challenges we've set to go through to the next stages of OB4G. We're now very excited to be working with our final seven start-ups to develop their ideas.
The seven start-ups progressing in the challenge are all at different stages of development – some have ideas that need bringing to life, while others already have a product that just needs help to scale up, refine and made more readily available to those who need it.
Motivated by Nationwide's social purpose, the OB4G programme is all about innovators being challenged to use Open Banking for social good, as well as financial good, and for the benefit of everyday people, not just Nationwide members. Nationwide was founded on a belief in the power of collaboration, and this is an example of how we still believe that we can do more together with others, than we can alone.
Over the coming months, Nationwide, alongside participating charities and organisations, are working with the start-ups in different ways depending on their needs. We're aiming to help the start-ups to bring new solutions to the public that will have a real impact on the wellbeing of the financially squeezed as early as July this year, with further launches following in the autumn.
It's still early days but we're working at speed with a range of partners from charities and other organisations to bring benefits from OB4G to life as early as possible. Keep an eye out for more news, where we'll be able to introduce you to the start-ups and their solutions, very soon…
1 The Financial Capability Strategy for the UK (Money Advice Service, October 2015)