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Exploring the impact of innovation on neobanks

Exploring the impact of innovation on neobanks

As a part of the Temenos Community Forum, Finextra sat down with chief commercial officer of APAC at Temenos, Craig Bennett, and CEO of Alex Bank, Simon Beitz, to discuss the impact of the cloud on the development of neobanks in the APAC region.

Banks in the APAC region have been embracing the benefits of cloud, particularly in Australia where Alex Bank is based. Bennett commented that there are developments occurring in cloud usage in the region as part of the current trends in the banking sector, with both banks and regulators becoming more comfortable with the transition. Temenos is also currently supporting banks in their cloud journey in Brunei and Malaysia.

Alex Bank, the first born-in-the-cloud bank in Australia, recently received its unrestricted banking license, which Beitz believes was a great achievement. He expanded: “The process for getting a banking license in Australia is similar to that in the UK, in which the process is first a restricted banking license. If the regulator is comfortable with how the bank is progressing in terms of resilience, capability, and capital, they will provide you with an unrestricted banking license. Alex Bank, I am pleased to say, received the unrestricted banking license in December of last year after a lot of hard work.”

Beitz noted that while Australian regulators are quite progressive, being 100% in the cloud meant there was a lot to navigate with regulators which was not an easy feat.

The big difference that comes with operating under an unrestricted banking license, is that Alex Bank is now able to take on an unlimited number of deposits, which also allows the bank to increase its loan portfolio with a healthy balance. Prior to this it was capped at two million deposits and a $100 million in lending. Currently, Alex Bank is focused on scaling and expansion, having approved over $55 million in personal loan applications to date.

Beitz and Bennett explained that the benefits of cloud lie in being able to save costs on people who manage old, on-prem, technology, and while also relying on Temenos to curate a safe and secure environment in which they can focus on banking innovation, and supporting consumers as needed. 

Cloud allows banks like Alex Bank to meet the demands of the modern consumer, which has evolved dramatically in recent years. Advanced customer experience and personalised services are now offered seamlessly and in real time by banks operating on the cloud.

Beitz added that partnering with Temenos and working with Microsoft Azure allows them to visualise their needs and deliver the customer journey that they wanted to create.

Bennett concluded: “The benefit of cloud is that it really allows banks to deliver on what they are there to do, which is to deliver the service to the customer. Our job is to deliver the platform that enables them to do that. Ensuring that we are able to do that in a safe and secure way is really important. A lot of banks in the region that we are seeing adopt the cloud understand the freedom that it gives them to be a bank as opposed to worrying about managing technology and datacentres. We take on that responsibility of managing their technology and ensuring they can operate in a safe and secure way. I think that partnership works well in that it allows each side to do what they do best.”

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