Westpac enlists Generation Y to find the next Uber

By Nicole Miskelly | 26 May 2015

Australian bank, Westpac is hoping to find the next big fintech start-up by asking people aged 18 to 35 to pitch their ideas on digital disruption.

The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reports that the bank has previously admitted it needs to be more proactive in the face of growing competitor from technology-based firms and while other banks consider the impact of technology and start-ups, Westpac is hoping to gain a competitive advantage over rivals by tapping into the ideas of young, non-bankers.

As a part of the Westpac-sponsored, China Australia Millennial Project, senior executives will this week be presented with proposals on digital disruption in finance from a group of young non-bankers from China and Australia.

The project, which involves universities and governments, brings together young people from both countries and encourages them to think about common challenges such as disruptive innovation, infrastructure and trade.

Westpac general manger of premium banking, Damien MacRae, will help to judge proposals on digital disruption and is encouraging the young people pitching to come up with left-field ideas that the bank would want to invest in.

“We’ve been very clear we don’t want them to be constrained by current financial services thinking. We want them to be bold, we want them to be challenging, we want them to question how we do things today,” MacRae said.  He also wants participants to find the next ‘big thing’ in fintech. “How so we get these guys to come up with the next Uber?”

Accoridng to SMH, many banks have come to realise that technology firms are intending to takeover the financial services space, which has previously been dominated by banks, and these firms often have lower costs, less regulations and can adapt to new situations more quickly.

The project is an example of how banks are trying out new methods to become more agile and find ways to counteract rising threats from technology firms.


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