River City lands BOQ for startups

James Riley
Editorial Director

Bank of Queensland (BOQ) has signed a two-year corporate partnership with Brisbane’s River City Labs (RCL) which it says is part of next steps to prepare for the federal government’s open banking regulatory regime.

“We’re very mindful of the open banking space…[and] obviously the environment we’re setting up is to support that type of future,” BOQ chief digital operations and information officer Donna-Maree Vinci told InnovationAus.com.

The draft new open banking regime outlines how people will have the right to take their data from one financial institution or FinTech to another when they change providers, easily and seamlessly, much like how a customer can take their telephone number with when they change telco.

Donna-Maree Vinci: Building BOQ bridges to the startup community

This is expected to put pressure on banks to ensure their systems are setup to enable for it and in a secure way.

For BOQ, its strategy is to turn to RCL startups for help. Under the partnership, BOQ employees will partner up with RCL startups where they will work one day a week with the startup over a 12-week period to develop new business opportunities.

Both BOQ and RCL will also have residence set up in each of their respective offices, and BOQ will become the banking partner of choice for RCL startups, by offering its products, services and advice.

River City Labs chief executive Peta Ellis said it’s positive to see more commitment from BOQ after more than five years of working together.

“This exclusive partnership will allow RCL to implement further programs and solutions for our startup community. As a resident at RCL, the partnership with BOQ is already delivering benefits with a small team currently developing a creative new business idea, demonstrating just how quickly this partnership is fostering new thinking,” she said.

While the relationship between BOQ and RCL is not entirely new, Ms Vinci said it would be a “step up from the relationships we’ve had in the past to be a much more structured corporate partnership where we’re investing in them and they’re investing in us.”

Ms Vinci added the work that would come from the partnership would further advance BOQ’s digital strategy and ability to work with more FinTechs down the track.

“There’s always been innovation in financial services but what I see now is a real sense of urgency and pace of that change. The environment that entrepreneurs and startups are able to operate in is able to get closer to the customer gap and expectation; we certainly want to leverage that,” she said.

“Equally, we’re focused on the changing innovation culture in BOQ. We’ve seen that shift in the last 18 months quite significantly, which is part of this immersive experience where at all levels people are collaborating internally and externally to understand customer, and understand the solutions we can create and enable together.”

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