A new Australian bank led by UK neobank veteran Anthony Thomson, former ANZ Japan CEO Robert Bell and one-time Cuscal CIO Brian Parker is getting ready to challenge the dominance of the country's Big Four banks with the aid of a suite of proprietary app-based technology tools.
The banking startup, dubbed 86 400 and fully funded and backed by Australian payments processor Cuscal, has been operating in stealth mode over the past two years, building its technology suite while awaiting approval from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority for a banking license.
The ambitious plan for 86 400 requires in excess of $250m of capital over the first three years of operation, with additional shareholders expected over that period.
The incoming chairman of the venture is Anthony Thomson, the man behind the launch of both Metro Bank and Atom Bank in the UK.
Commenting on the new venture. Thomson says: "86 400 will ultimately have a lower cost ratio than a traditional bank - completely free of expensive, cumbersome legacy technology and physical branches - we’ll be able to provide better value products for customers and better returns for our investors. For too long, banks have put profits before their customers - that’s become the great malaise of the industry. We firmly believe that profit is a by-product of doing something great for the customer.”
A growing team of 60+ has been assembled to get the bank off the ground, led by an experienced leadership team recruited from among the country's top banks. Alongside Bell and Parker, the rest of 86 400’s executive team will be comprised of former GM of digital at Westpac, Travis Tyler as chief product and marketing officer; former head of operations at Australian Unity Banking, Matt Chan as chief operating officer; CBA’s former international chief risk officer, Guy Harding, as CRO; Cuscal’s former head of finance, Neal Hawkins; and former Westpac and AMP project director, Caroline Milner, as program director.
CEO, Robert Bell, says: “In order to compete with the big banks, we not only need to offer the full range of services, but we also need to do things differently. 86 400 will have a beautiful, intuitive app, but that won’t be where it ends. We’ve invested a huge amount of energy into building a bank that is technology-led from the start.
£The crucial thing is the interplay between the core banking ledger and the technology. The technology has to work with the ledger, not for it. Only then will customers have a bank that’s working for them. That’s exactly what we’re building.”
He says 86 400 will launch in beta towards the end of 2018 and intends to open to the public in the first quarter of 2019, complete with a transaction and savings account from day one.