Prospa celebrates progress for fintech sector

by Madison Utley08 Sep 2020

While small business lender Prospa welcomed the interim report just published by the Senate Committee on Financial Technology and Regulatory Technology, the group has agreed with others within the space that more needs to be done to support the adoption and utilisation of the new open banking system.

Prospa actively engaged with the Senate committee over the last 10 months, attending round table industry sessions and making several submissions in which the group advocated for many of the recommendations which were ultimately included in the report. 

“We’re pleased with the findings of the senate committee’s interim report... In particular, we’re impressed with the focus on ensuring regulators support competition and innovation in the market,” said Anna Fitzgerald, Prospa group head of corporate affairs.

“We support a clear consistent pro-innovation regulatory environment with appropriate levels of regulation… we’ve experienced firsthand that self-regulation is an efficient way to encourage industry to improve competitiveness by focusing on investment in innovation to deliver better customer outcomes.”

However, over the course of the proceedings, Prospa drilled down on important policy issues around open banking, advocating for an implementation committee which is “appropriately empowered” to the new system can be put to its full use in a timely manner. 

“We support maximising participation across the economy. That means sorting out how fintechs can access customer data, either directly or through third parties, sooner rather than later,” Fitzgerald explained. 

“Importantly, we strongly recommend the Consumer Data Right be expanded to include the ability to initiate payments, also known as ‘write-access’. Write access is critical to enabling fintechs to develop truly innovative products and services, and to alleviate the barriers small businesses face when switching providers. 

“A simple analogy: not having write-access is like having a new phone that can receive calls but not make them, so you need to pick up your original phone to make a call, pay two sets of monthly fees and keep track of which phone numbers and photos, for example, are stored in which phone. What’s the incentive to get that new phone?

“Australia needs to encourage technology innovation and with appropriate support, the tech sector will play a pivotal role in driving future economic growth,” Fitzgerald concluded.