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CFIT-Led Taskforce to Boost SME Access to Credit through Open Finance

A new industry-led taskforce, chaired by the Centre for Finance, Innovation, and Technology (CFIT), aims to unlock the full potential of open finance.

Building on CFIT’s prior work, the taskforce will provide recommendations to the UK Government on leveraging financial data to improve SMEs’ access to credit.

The Economic Secretary to the Treasury, Bim Afolami MP, unveiled the taskforce at the 10th annual
Innovate Finance Global Summit (IFGS) at the Guildhall in the City of London.

“Open banking has been a resounding success,” he said: “It has made the UK a global leader with over nine million consumers using this technology today. It is clearly demonstrated that fintechs can use technology to deliver tangible benefits to consumers and businesses alike through drawing on customer data.

“That is why the government is working to secure the foundational framework of open banking, including new regulatory framework that you ready to frame up to oversee data sharing in financial services.

“I’m thrilled today to announce the official formation of an open finance taskforce. The taskforce will craft a clear set of recommendations. pinpointing the datasets of commercial incentives necessary to drive forward CFIT’s SME lending use case for open finance.”

The new taskforce

The taskforce will mandate identifying and prioritising more use cases for open finance, determining data sets to unlock, as well as creating APIs to facilitate better SME finance availability.

It will also identify commercially viable approaches to incentivise businesses to securely share their financial data, before considering appropriate next steps towards implementing any agreed recommendations.

Ezechi Britton MBE, CEO of the Centre for Finance, Innovation and Technology, said: “Britain has long led the way when it comes to innovation in financial services, and open finance is the next great opportunity for our economy.

“So we’re delighted to have been invited by the EST to chair a new industry-led taskforce of leading financial institutions and technology companies. CFIT was founded last year to unblock the barriers to the growth of the UK fintech industry and today’s announcement will ensure we continue to keep up the momentum.”

The Blueprint Report released by CFIT in late February highlighted the importance of advancing proofs of concept (PoCs) developed in collaboration with Citizens Advice and HSBC.

These PoCs aim to demonstrate the tangible benefits of open finance for vulnerable consumers and in boosting SME lending volumes. CFIT is actively discussing strategies with its partners to scale these PoCs and anticipates providing updates on this initiative soon.

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