Salesforce makes an open banking move

Salesforce makes an open banking move

US technology giant Salesforce is seeking to exploit Australia’s “consumer data right”, investing alongside Westpac Banking Corp and National Australia Bank in open banking platform Basiq, which could provide users of its software with a more comprehensive view of customers’ financial position.

Salesforce said its investment was driven by its users – which include Westpac, NAB and ANZ, and other big corporates including Telstra – who are exploring how to use financial data, which customers can access under the consumer data right, to gain new insights that could help them sell more products and personalise experiences.

Some of the major banks are considering how Basiq can help improve loan assessments by tapping real customer spending data, which can help them meet heightened expectations around responsible lending following the Hayne royal commission.

Salesforce’s investment comes after the former Microsoft CEO in Australia, Pip Marlow, left Suncorp last month to join Salesforce as its new CEO in Australia. Basiq has not revealed the size of its Series A round, which won support from Salesforce Ventures’ new $50 million Australia Trailblazer Fund, and the VC funds of Westpac and NAB, which also supported its seed funding round in mid-2017.

“Software is truly eating the world and data is becoming the new oil,” said Rob Keith, head of Australia for Salesforce Ventures.

“All companies need to use data on their customers to offer personalised experiences, and Basiq can help provide a holistic, 360-degree view of customers. It helps fill that profile with financial data, which is a huge asset, that helps provide insights on customers and provide more personalised products.”

The follow-on investment in Basiq by Westpac’s Reinventure Group and NAB Ventures reflects how banks are shifting their mindset about open banking, from a defensive stance, which has seen them fret about having to publish previously proprietary customer data, to a more strategic outlook as they are working out how to benefit from being a data recipient.

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