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CIBC, Itaú Unibanco, National Australia Bank and NatWest Group announce winners of Global Open Finance Challenge

Four winners named in first-of-its-kind event seeking ground-breaking ideas to transform banking

TORONTO, SAO PAULO, MELBOURNE and LONDON, Nov. 17, 2021 /CNW/ - Today CIBC, Itaú Unibanco, National Australia Bank and NatWest Group announced the winners of the Global Open Finance Challenge, which invited teams of innovators from around the world to prototype and present ground-breaking ideas to help customers and the public at large access banking services in new and exciting ways. The Challenge was hosted by the four banks in collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS).

In total, 91 teams from 19 countries competed in the Challenge, with four teams ultimately selected as winners by the four banks' CEOs and three industry leaders.

Each of the winning teams will now have the opportunity to explore working with one or more of the banks to turn their innovative idea into a proof of concept.

The winning teams
The overall winner of the Global Open Finance Challenge is:

  • ValAi, Australia
    • ValAi developed Greenhouse, an automated sustainability rating tool and marketplace that provides customers tailored insights for their home, and fills the knowledge gap for homeowners and financial institutions on the impact of a sustainability rating on the value of the asset.

The winners of each Challenge theme are:

  • 9th Gear Technologies, USA– 'Most innovative customer experience for businesses and corporates'
    • 9th Gear Technologies developed a blockchain-powered business-to-business foreign exchange (FX) platform that allows for real-time FX settlement using tokens which represent pre-funded currency values, expediting the current process for clients.
  • NoFrontiers, Brazil – 'Most innovative and convenient channel for accessing banking services'
    • NoFrontiers developed FinPass, a newcomer/immigrant onboarding and credit solution, connected to a global network of banks, making it easier for newcomers/immigrants to access credit and establish themselves in new countries.
  • Banyan, USA – 'Most innovative solution in support of climate and sustainability'
    • Banyan developed a loan and risk management platform which digitizes the loan lifecycle for renewable energy projects, to enable financial institutions to fund an increased number of green infrastructure projects.

"Founded in late 2019, ValAi is a female founder-led startup with backgrounds in sustainability, property valuation and tech. Our novel product, Greenhouse, puts people at the heart of the global transition to net zero and challenges the finance sector to influence and guide the next phase of our community's transformational change," said Allys Todd, Founder, ValAi. "Our company vision is creating a zero-carbon, nature-positive global economy, in which finance fuels the energy transition, a healthy planet and green jobs."

The four winners were amongst the top teams selected to present their ideas to a judging panel featuring the CEOs of the four banks, plus executives from private equity, venture capital, and technology organizations:

  • Victor Dodig, President and CEO, CIBC
  • Milton Maluhy Filho, CEO, Itaú Unibanco
  • Ross McEwan, Group CEO, National Australia Bank
  • Alison Rose, CEO, NatWest Group
  • Werner Vogels, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer,, Inc.
  • Rob Heyvaert, Managing Partner, Motive Partners
  • Rick Yang, General Partner and Head of Consumer, New Enterprise Associates

"We're thrilled that so many innovators from around the world took part in the Global Open Finance Challenge, presenting new ideas and solutions to advance and reshape our financial ecosystem," said Victor G. Dodig, CIBC President and Chief Executive Officer. "Global collaboration offers immense opportunity to generate and harness ideas that can create more value for clients, which benefits all stakeholders as we shape the future of banking." 

"AWS has been a champion of startups from day one and we continue to work hard to support a global community of builders who can transform ideas. It was an exciting journey working with the teams in the Global Open Finance Challenge as they built and tested technology solutions to better serve banking customers in the rapidly evolving digital economy," said Werner Vogels, Vice President and Chief Technology Officer,, Inc. "Times of change offer opportunities to experiment and innovate, and the impressive fintechs that took part in the Challenge embraced the resources and expert advice it provided to hone their ideas and jumpstart new technology solutions."

Notes for editors:

About The Global Open Finance Challenge
In creating this event, the four banks sought solutions from global innovators in response to three Challenge themes:

  • How can we better serve our corporate and business customers, and the public at large, by delivering high-value digital services?
  • How can we help current and new customers access banking services through more convenient or relevant digital channels?
  • How can we find innovative ways to help our customers make better decisions around climate and sustainability?

To support participants with the development of their solutions, the four banks co-developed a secure sandbox environment featuring a set of shared APIs (Application Programming Interfaces), including a combination of open banking, open finance and experimental services.

During the solution development phase from 18 to 24 October, the teams also benefitted from mentoring and access to experts from the four banks to help them build and refine their solutions.

For more information on the Global Open Finance Challenge, please visit:  

About CIBC
CIBC is a leading North American financial institution with 10 million personal banking, business, public sector and institutional clients. Across Personal and Business Banking, Commercial Banking and Wealth Management, and Capital Markets businesses, CIBC offers a full range of advice, solutions and services through its leading digital banking network and locations across Canada, with offices in the United States and around the world. Ongoing news releases and more information about CIBC can be found at

About ITAÚ:
Itaú Unibanco's purpose is to promote people's power of transformation and we do it through a strategic agenda focused on client centricity and digital transformation, based also on the diversity of our people. The largest bank in Latin America, Itaú Unibanco is present in 18 countries and has more than 56 million customers, among individuals and companies in all segments, to whom we offer the best experiences in financial products and services. Itaú Unibanco has been selected for the 21st consecutive time to be part of the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index (DJSI World), being the only Latin American financial institution to be part of the index since its creation in 1999.

About National Australia Bank:
National Australia Bank (NAB) is a financial services institution. We're here to serve customers well and help our communities prosper. Today, we have more than 31,000 people serving eight million customers at more than 900 locations. As Australia's largest business bank, our business experts work with small, medium and large businesses to help them grow.

About NatWest Group:
NatWest Group is a leading banking and financial services group in the UK and Ireland.  We operate through a number of well-known banking brands. We have a presence on the high street through our customer facing brands - NatWest, Royal Bank of Scotland and Ulster Bank. We are the largest supporter of UK business, banking around 1 in 4 businesses across the UK. Our private banking customers know us through their relationships with Coutts, Adam & Company, Child & Co and Drummonds. And NatWest Markets help our corporate and institutional clients manage their financial risks and achieve their short and long-term financial goals.


For further information: CIBC: Davina Ramnarine / + 1 416 309 7956; Itaú: Paulo Sampaio, / +55 11 99884 7359; NAB: Alex Connor, / +61 452 673 651; NatWest Group: Rachael Neill / +44 77 4129 9261