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New digital bank will provide first genuine alternative to Big Banks

Australians will soon have a genuine alternative to the Big Four banks, with the launch of 86 400. Worked on under stealth for the past two years but finally it have been publicly announced. 86 400 has been investing heavily in proprietary technology to build a more efficient, digital bank. Among its 60-strong team, it boasts UK neobank veteran, Anthony Thomson, former ANZ Japan CEO Robert Bell and former Cuscal CIO Brian Parker.

Anthony Thomson, 86 400’s incoming chair said: “Australians deserve more from banking. They expect better treatment and a better experience, and that’s exactly what we’re here to provide.”

86 400 will launch in beta towards the end of 2018 and intends to launch to the public in the first quarter of 2019, complete with a transaction and savings account from day one. Further financial products will be added over time. The company has been working closely with The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) and is already well progressed into the process of obtaining a full banking license.

CEO, Robert Bell, said: “In order to compete with the big banks, we not only need to offer the full range of services, but we also need to do things differently. 86 400 will have a beautiful, intuitive app, but that won’t be where it ends. We’ve invested a huge amount of energy into building a bank that is technology-led from the start.

The crucial thing is the interplay between the core banking ledger and the technology. The technology has to work with the ledger, not for it. Only then will customers have a bank that’s working for them. That’s exactly what we’re building.”

86 400 will help Australians simplify their finances and make better decisions, it will learn how to service customers in increasingly personal ways and use technology smartly to get them to what they value most, every second, of every minute, of every day – all 86 400 of them.

Anthony Thomson continued: “And because 86 400 will ultimately have a lower cost ratio than a traditional bank –  completely free of expensive, cumbersome legacy technology and physical branches – we’ll be able to provide better value products for customers and better returns for our investors. For too long, banks have put profits before their customers – that’s become the great malaise of the industry. We firmly believe that profit is a by-product of doing something great for the customer.”

Robert Bell is an experienced leader from the banking and payments world, a former CEO of ANZ in Japan, and chief-of-staff to ANZ’s former chief executive, John McFarlane. Anthony Thomson has already built two successful banks in the United Kingdom. Metro Bank, the UK’s first new bank in 150 years, and Atom Bank, its first digital-only bank, which last year also became its most recommended bank (BDRC). Anthony has raised more than $1 billion AUD through his businesses to date, but calls 86 400 his “best prepared, most capable and well-funded venture to date.”

The company is fully funded and backed by Cuscal, Australia’s largest independent provider of end-to-end payments solutions. The business plan for 86 400 is focused on building the first real alternative to the big banks and anticipates requiring in excess of $250m of capital over the first three years of operation, with additional shareholders expected over that period.

Craig Kennedy, Cuscal MD, said, “86 400 has been set up and funded by Cuscal, as a separate entity, with a separate board, and completely separate team. We’ve backed 86 400 because nobody in Australia is leveraging all of the capabilities available to maximise the banking experience on your mobile.”

The rest of 86 400’s leadership team will be comprised of former GM of Digital at Westpac, Travis Tyler as Incoming Chief Product and Marketing Officer; former Head of Operations at Australian Unity Banking, Matt Chan as Chief Operating Officer; CBA’s former International Chief Risk Officer, Guy Harding, as Chief Risk Officer; Cuscal’s former Head of Finance, Neal Hawkins, as Chief Financial Officer; and former Westpac and AMP Project Director, Caroline Milner, as Program Director.

About 86 000

86 400 is building the first genuine alternative to the big banks in Australia. Led by incoming chair Anthony Thomson, former founder and chairman of Atom Bank and Metro Bank in the UK, and Robert Bell, former CEO of ANZ Japan, 86 400 uses data, technology and machine learning to deliver a bespoke, mobile first banking experience designed to get people to what they value, every second, of every minute, of every day.

86 400 is well capitalised and currently fully funded by payments business Cuscal. A growing team of 60+ has been assembled to get the bank off the ground.


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