Regional Australia Bank is the first Accredited Data Recipient of Australia’s Consumer Data Right (CDR), as open banking trials continue to progress towards the scheduled July launch.

The ACCC, which is overseeing the testing, announced on Friday all participants have entered industry testing which began in September 2019.

So far six data recipients and all four data holders have now completed connectivity testing, meaning the data is passing from one party to another via APIs.

A managed rollout of the scheme — essentially a controlled go live process — is scheduled to take place in May and June so a robust system is up and running before the official launch of CDR on July 1, 2020.

“The proposed approach to managed rollout is based on progressively opening up the ecosystem in production with increasing levels of exposure to real customers and monitoring usage and issues at each stage as we prepare for full launch on 1 July,” Paul Franklin, executive general manager of the ACCC’s consumer data right division wrote.

Coronvirus contingencies

Franklin also acknowledged the impact of coronavirus on the testing process, noting CDR participants’ staff will increasingly work remotely, minimise travel and reduce attendance in-person at meetings and events.

“The ACCC expects that responding to the COVID-19 pandemic will require changes to our ways of working across the CDR community (for example, by utilising video and phone conferences), and we are currently in discussions with participants to determine what measures are appropriate to ensure we continue to deliver the program schedule,” he wrote.

The open banking timeline was already tight before remote working procedures were put in place.

Rob Hale chief digital officer at Regional Australia Bank told Which-50 all of his team are working remotely now. He hopes it won’t delay the start date but said it’s hard to foresee what the impact will be.

Hale said it was important to push ahead with the CDR launch, which will ultimately benefit consumers as more reliance is put on financial technology platforms.

“Part of me feels this is the right time to be pressing ahead because the need for access to quality credit remotely will come very soon,” Hale said.

“Platforms and processes whereby that is possible will be really important for us, not only right now but when we start to recover and get things back on track as well.”

Regional Australia Bank’s initial CDR use case is for personal loans; consumers provide consent for the bank to access their transaction histories in order to process their application for a personal loan more quickly.

The bank has partnered with fintech platform Basiq to use their loan affordability assessment report for its own customers, but under CDR Regional Australia Bank will be able to pull transaction data from the major banks participating in the first phase of opening banking.

“As many do, some of our existing customers may have a banking relationship with one of the majors, so we’re expanding the breadth of transactions that we’re able to analyse to include them.”

The ACCC said it is working closely with data recipients to provide information and assistance on accreditation and testing.

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