CIBC, National Australia Bank, Bank Leumi Start Tech Alliance

  • Banks to focus on payments, digital banking and cyber security
  • Deal lets banks share costs, talent to speed up innovation

Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, National Australia Bank Ltd. and Bank Leumi Le-Israel Ltd. formed an alliance to develop technologies faster and cheaper amid an industrywide shift toward digital banking.

The three lenders agreed to share information, co-develop products and services and swap employees in areas of payments, digital banking, cyber security and emerging financial technology, according to Stephen Forbes, chief commercial officer at Canada’s fifth-biggest bank. An agreement was signed this week in Tel Aviv, CIBC said Wednesday in a statement.

“We’re all going to be far more active and current on things that are happening globally that we simply can’t do on our own,” Forbes said in a telephone interview from Tel Aviv. “It really helps us look at where can we co-collaborate, co-develop, share costs, share infrastructure and share talent to get to market faster, cheaper."

The idea emerged almost a year ago when CIBC Chief Executive Officer Victor Dodig approached National Australia Bank CEO Andrew Thorburn to explore a partnership because the lenders shared similar priorities around innovation, according to Forbes. At the time, Australia’s third-biggest bank by assets also was in talks to collaborate with Bank Leumi, Israel’s second-largest lender.

Collaboration has already begun: CIBC and National Australia Bank spent the past two months testing Ripple Labs Inc.’s blockchain technology to move money between Canada and Australia, becoming part of a small group of banks that have done a cross-border blockchain transfer.

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