Financial inclusion in focus as TSB launches latest fintech innovation scheme
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Under the bank’s Innovation Labs programme, selected fintech businesses will officially partner with TSB to offer “innovative services and money-saving solutions” to customers, as it expands its fintech partnership scheme. The bank said the programme, which is now taking applications for its third annual round, was helping to boost the UK’s fintech sector. Between 10 and 20 successful applicants will develop their proposition under the guidance of TSB business leaders and experts in the lender’s Edinburgh tech hub to ready themselves for market.
This year, TSB is encouraging fintech applicants to develop propositions across four key areas: “money confidence”, helping people better manage their finances and make more of their money; “inclusive services”, where successful applicants will develop inclusive financial services both for TSB customers and staff; “delivering differently”, with the bank aiming to deliver partnerships that create “positive career experiences” for its workers; and “wildcard”, where fintech applicants are being encouraged to deliver “creative propositions” to meet an array of customer needs.
The programme, hosted in the group’s Edinburgh technology centre, will run until the end of the year. The George Street facility houses technical specialists, data engineers, analysts and other IT experts to help develop and deliver services for customers across the UK.
The push to develop new tech comes as more of us embrace digital banking and use apps to manage a range of services such as investments and pensions. That has come at the expense of branch closures, with many towns and local communities losing a physical banking presence as the major players downsize their branch networks.
Aruna Bhalla, head of partnerships and open banking at TSB, said: “Scotland is home to more than 200 fintechs and, with access to world class talent from Scottish universities, this is an excellent opportunity for TSB to bolster its position in the fintech landscape and provide even more ‘money confidence’ to our customers.”
Nicola Anderson, chief executive of Fintech Scotland, added: “We are excited to join forces with TSB once again to discover and accelerate some of the most innovative fintech companies. This initiative not only reinforces TSB’s commitment to fostering fintech collaboration but also its involvement in developing the fintech ecosystem in Scotland and across the UK.”
Applications for the latest round are due to close on September 4. Previous winners ApTap, Snugg Energy and Lightning Reach are currently providing customers with utility switching, energy efficiency and financial hardship services, respectively.
Robin Peters, chief executive of Snugg Energy, said: “TSB’s Labs programme has been invaluable in enabling us to develop our proposition and cater to the needs of TSB customers. Thanks to our collaboration with TSB, we are now able to make energy efficient homes simple and affordable for thousands of homeowners.”
Ren Hoi, founder and chief executive of Lightning Reach, added: “The partnership is now fully operational, and we’re excited to have empowered thousands of TSB customers to find personalised financial support to help them during the cost-of-living crisis.”