Ulster Bank runs hackathons to discover future banking IT

Ulster Bank runs two hackathons to unearth some of the technology-based services the bank can offer its customers in the future

Ulster Bank will run two hackathons to try and unearth some of the technology-based services the bank can offer its customer in the future.

The bank, owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland, is holding two events in Belfast and Dublin. Developers will be given access to a simulation of customer data, APIs and data.

“Developers won’t have access to real customer data but will instead use the Open Bank Project API ‘sandbox’ to simulate access to customer data and banking services as well as other APIs and datasets,” said Ulster Bank.

The events are being organised with the Open Bank Project, which promotes the use of open APIs that enable third-party developers to build applications and services around financial institutions. The organisation promotes greater financial transparency options for account holders and the use of open-source technology.

The bank said the event, Hack (Make!) the Bank, “is a global series of finance technology Hackathons which are dedicated to realising tomorrow's banking and financial solutions. 

"This hackathon will bring together programmers, designers and members of the financial services industry to debate, design, code and pitch ideas on themes related to set challenges.”

National Australia Bank (NAB) recently opened its IT to its internal technology team and independent developers through a competition designed to help it access innovation.

It ran an event on 6-7 December 2014 in partnership with Amazon and Intel. Known as NAB iDAY, the event brought together team members, contractors and partners to compete to build products that benefit customers by using the bank's API.

The UK government recently called for evidence about how open APIs could "enable financial technology companies to develop innovative systems to allow customers to make better comparisons between different banks and financial products".

In the same way as IT platforms such as Comparethemarket.com have transformed the process of buying insurance, the government hopes technology companies can increase the transparency of their banking services through information enrichment.

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