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Progress Through Technology – Castlight Financial and HSBC UK Join Forces

Progress through technology. Castlight Financial support HSBC UK to deliver their first open banking loan

Ask any car enthusiast why their dream car might be an Audi and they’re very likely to say the brand has a reputation for innovative design and cutting edge technology. Dig a bit deeper and they’re also likely to rate Audi’s reputation for reliability and customer service.

So, I have to admit to being pretty delighted that the very first HSBC UK customer using Castlight’s affordability technology secured a loan to buy their dream Audi.

This is clearly a customer who knows a thing or two about design, technology, reliability and customer service!

Open Banking in Action

So what has actually happened here? As you’ll know, PSD2 or open banking came into force in January this year. Many UK banks weren’t ready for the revolution that is open banking. But some were and the Castlight team have been working closely with HSBC UK to get ahead of the game. So this week we were ready – our affordability technology CaaS or “categorisation as a service” was tried, tested and ready to go. So when the HSBC UK customer took up the offer to be the first customer to apply for a loan using open banking technology, it was all systems go.

The customer securely linked their bank account to HSBC UK, who used their open banking technology to pull down all the transactional data. HSBC UK then ran the transactional data through the CaaS engine, which categorised income and expenditure into 155 categories, summarising income streams, credit commitments, essential costs and discretionary spending to reveal a monthly disposable income. The information was then merged with credit performance data and in under 10 minutes HSBC UK had all the information they needed on which to make a highly informed lending decision. The process also eliminated the need for the customer to produce bank statements and payslips to comply with money laundering regulations as all the information was there in the CaaS report.

CaaS was able to provide their underwriters with enhanced data direct from the customer’s bank account, whilst giving that customer a better, faster service. And its good news for Castlight, as more and more lenders both in the UK and globally start to recognise the importance of enhanced affordability technology like CaaS, and use it to ensure that loans are safe and affordable for both lenders and borrowers.

Progress through technology. It’s an approach that works for Audi and it’s certainly working too for Castlight.

Traditional Banks Have a Head Start in the Open Banking Space

The banks are in the media spotlight just now as open banking starts to roll out and the debate gathers steam. Are the banks ready? How are they faring in the brand new open banking space where everyone is jostling for room? Read more

Open Banking And A Light Bulb Moment

When new technology bursts onto the scene it is almost always received in two different ways, by two different camps of people – those who are excited by the new opportunities it opens up and those who are resistant to change. Read more

Open Banking – Giving Consumers Control of their Finances

Where we stand today the Big Four Banks have more than 70% of the personal current account market and 85% of the business current account market. I’m sure most people would agree that there’s room for some competition in this market. In pretty much every area of life, the more competition there is, the better it is for the consumer. Read more

The Bank of Mum and Dad Ends Tomorrow

Last week, it was reported in the press that British parents will lend or give more than £6.5 billion this year to help their children buy their first home. This figure is up from £5 billion in 2016. And it seems that the phenomenon is here to stay. It already has its own acronym. BOMAD. The Bank of Mum and Dad. Read more

It’s Time for the Banks to Play Catch Up

This month, Facebook launched Messenger Day, a feature that lets you post pictures and videos with a 24 hour shelf life. Snapchat may have got in there first with the broad concept, but Facebook has given it a twist by formatting the feature to encourage users to get together offline. A billion people worldwide use Messenger and Facebook has identified a way to deliver additional value to them. Read more

Tumbleweed Rolls through the Branches as Banks go Digital

Last week in this blog I flagged up Radio 4’s The Bottom Line’s interesting debate about the impact of fintech on the banking scene. If you had time to tune in, you will also have heard Anthony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclay’s Bank talk, in almost apocalyptic terms, about the accelerating fall in branch traffic. He quoted customer traffic as falling by 15% per annum and said: “If you walk into a branch in central London now, you can see the tumbleweeds rolling through the aisles.” Read more

PSD2 is Speeding up the Tracks

On Saturday afternoon’s The Bottom Line on Radio 4, Evan Davis asked Anthony Jenkins, former CEO of Barclay’s Bank, what he thought the next big thing in banking would be. Jenkins replied: “In the very short term I think the better use of data to make lending and credit decisions and marketing decisions.”

Of course I couldn’t agree more, as this is exactly what we are already doing with The Affordability Passport. Read more

Envelopes and Einstein

Richard Branson is a big fan of the back of an envelope approach to creativity and I agree with him that “if you can’t write your business idea on the back of an envelope – it’s rubbish.” And he’s not saying anything new. Einstein was making the same point when he said “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.” And who wants to argue with Einstein? Read more

New Dimensions for Astronauts and Banking

Hidden Figures, in cinemas now, is the story of Katherine G Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson, three female African-American mathematicians, or “computers”, working behind the scenes at Nasa in the 1960s. The story is set in Virginia where racial segregation meant that black and white Americans working for Nasa had to use different entrances, different toilets and different coffee pots. Read more