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OCBC opens new fintech and innovation unit

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OCBC Bank is staking its claim on financial technology (fintech) territory with its new fintech and innovation unit called The Open Vault at OCBC.

OCBC Bank is staking its claim on financial technology (fintech) territory with its new fintech and innovation unit called The Open Vault at OCBC.

Through this units, fintech startups can work with in-house OCBC Bank experts such as its credit risk management specialists and wealth management advisers to come up with solutions for its employees and customers, the bank said on Monday.

The Open Vault at OCBC will focus on five key areas: wealth management, credit and financing, insurance, cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

The unit is led by Pranav Seth, OCBC Bank's head of e-business and business transformation.

"We are investing heavily in the areas of mobile, data and analytics, bio-metrics and security to provide superior customer-centric solutions," said Mr Seth. "At The Open Vault at OCBC, we seek to experiment with a larger set of new technologies, business models and applications in a controlled environment to find tangible, value-added services that our customers can benefit from."

OCBC's fintech unit is housed in a 2,400-square foot space on New Bridge Road that the bank said had been specially created for the division.

"Our key focus is to deliver tangible outcomes and value; without this, we would not want to play in the fintech arena," said Samuel Tsien, OCBC's CEO. "The Open Vault at OCBC has great potential. I see it helping us to come up with digital solutions that will make banking with OCBC even simpler, faster and more secure, our internal banking processes more efficient, and our banking systems even more robust."

The fintech unit has also struck up a partnership with Nest, an investment and startup incubation firm, to draw local and foreign innovators to the bank's inaugural accelerator programme that begins in April. This programme will give selected startups access to business mentorship and technical expertise from OCBC, as well as guidance from Nest experts and partners.

Innovators and fintech start-ups can apply for OCBC Bank's accelerator programme at www.theopenvaultatocbc.com. Applications will close on March 17, 2016.