Banks recognise benefit of ‘open data’

Lenders have acknowledged the benefits that access to data could bring to customers and the broader economy at a symposium recently hosted by the Australian Bankers’ Association.

The event, which was held by the Australian Bankers’ Association earlier this month, brought together consumer groups, government and regulators, the fintech community and banks with international experts to discuss the opportunities and complexities of open data.

In order to ensure a good outcome for customers, presenters and attendees said that open data must be underpinned by a robust regulatory and commercial model which preserves the security of data that customers expect and rely on, otherwise open data risks being undone by a major privacy breach.

The international experience shared by experts indicates that the best way to achieve this is through a collaborative cross-industry advisory group of consumer representatives, banks and fintechs, regulators and government to devise appropriate solutions to meet customer needs.

Several steps were identified by the symposium as being necessary ahead of implementing open data in the banking industry, including:

• The education of customers on how their data may be used and its privacy implications, and ensuring that an appropriate and well-understood customer consent regime is introduced.
• Developing a thorough understanding of how open data may affect vulnerable customers including around product access and predatory lending, and ensuring that hardship support offered by Australia’s banks is also provided by new entrants.
• Ensuring that customer use cases and desired outcomes are clearly identified and well-founded early in the development of the open data environment.
• The need to work with government and regulators to introduce data security models to assure customers, data custodians and third parties of data security.
• Considering the allocation of liability for when things go wrong.

Commenting on the event, the ABA noted that the Productivity Commission has delivered its final report on ‘Data Availability and Use’ to the federal government.

“ABA members look forward to engaging with government as it considers the PC’s recommendations,” it said.

“We will bring stakeholders together to discuss the path forward drawing on the key insights of the symposium. We look forward to working with all stakeholders so the potential benefits of open data are realised.”

[Related: Banks tipped to 'benefit massively from open data']

 

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Francesca Krakue

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