In January, the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) gave fintech startup Volt Bank a licence to operate without restrictions as an authorised deposit-taking institution (ADI). The green light was given to the new player following APRA approval in May 2018 to act in the Australian finance market as a Restricted ADI.
The APRA approval gave Volt the title as the first digital startup bank in Australia to receive a banking licence since the early 2000s. Funds up to AU$250,000 deposited into Volt are guaranteed by the Australian government as part of this arrangement.
However, as Volt’s senior digital marketing manager Kim Kooren told Salesforce World Tour in Sydney, the company needs to build brand awareness and trust before customers can jump on the neobank without concern.
In Australia, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), the National Australia Bank (NAB), the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group (ANZ), and Westpac currently hold around 95% market share of the entire Australian finance industry. So Volt needs to get its name out there, Kooren explained.
To do that, Kooren said Volt stood up Volt Labs to create awareness and connect with customers.
“Volt Labs is a co-creation community in which you can partake in taking surveys, express your interest in events or book events, and later down the track you can help us [by] testing products and other things … Volt Labs is to basically give the voice back to our communities and have them let us know what they want from a bank,” she explained.
“What we want is to actually build the bank that makes people better off, instead of a bank that offers you products that you’re not looking for. A bank that can actually save you more, save you more time, but also protect your data.”