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Akahu aspires to be the "plumbing" of open banking

Kiwi startup Akahu is hoping to become like the plumbing which facilitates open banking.

Friday, October 20th 2023, 8:20AM

by Jenny Ruth

“It's really important for someone to do it really well in this country,” says founder and chief executive Ben Lynch.

He compares what Akahu is doing to a phone lines company such as Chorus or the marketplace website Trade Me, saying if Akahu does its job well, there should be no need for another in New Zealand.

“There's only one Trade Me for a reason,” Lynch says.

Akahu is doing what accounting software company Xero did when in launched in 2007 in establishing connections with the banks in NZ that will allow a consumer to share their banking data with trusted third parties, such as their financial adviser.

Lynch used to work for Xero and he notes that its new chief executive, Sukhinder Singh Cassidy, was a co-founder of Yodlee in 1999 and says Akahu is the NZ version of Yodlee.

Akahu has just completed a $1.4 million investment round which has resulted in Westpac NZ slightly increasing its stake to a third with KIWI and NZ7 Investments owning smaller stakes – the latter is the venture capital vehicle of Peter Masfen who built the Montana wines business.

While Xero is now a large company with the resouces needed to build personal relationships with banks, a lot of other smaller companies don't have such resources and will be able to depend on Akahu to make the connections for them, Lynch says.

And in Britain, under new open banking protocols, Xero is now using that country's version of the Akahu business, OpenWrks, to provide its bank feeds.

Lynch has founded another company, Dolla.nz, which gives its customers “access to the most advanced fraud and scam protection, payment automation and spending insights all from our secure mobile app,” as the website say, which is using Akahu to provide its bank feeds.

The name Akahu is just made up and doesn't mean anything, Lynch says, but notes that kahu means guardian or custodian in Hawaiian.

In announcing the investment in Akahu, Westpac's venture capital fund, Red Bird Ventures, said the partnership will provide the bank with “valuable insight to support Westpac's design and delivery of open banking solutions.”

Red Bird senior manager Mark Colley says Akahu “has demonstrated its strength in innovation over the last few years and we believe it is well-positioned to grow as industry commitments and consumer data right legislation bring open banking to NZ.”

Westpac first invested in Akahu in December 2020.

The outgoing government introduced draft legislation in parliament and it's likely the incoming government will progress it into becoming law.

Tags: Open Banking

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Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
AIA - Back My Build 6.19 - - -
AIA - Go Home Loans 8.74 7.14 6.75 6.39
ANZ 8.64 7.74 7.39 7.25
ANZ Blueprint to Build 7.39 - - -
ANZ Good Energy - - - 1.00
ANZ Special - 7.14 6.79 6.65
ASB Bank 8.64 7.14 6.75 6.39
ASB Better Homes Top Up - - - 1.00
Avanti Finance 9.15 - - -
Basecorp Finance 9.60 - - -
Bluestone 9.24 - - -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
BNZ - Classic - 7.14 6.79 6.65
BNZ - Green Home Loan top-ups - - - 1.00
BNZ - Mortgage One 8.69 - - -
BNZ - Rapid Repay 8.69 - - -
BNZ - Std, FlyBuys 8.69 7.74 7.39 7.25
BNZ - TotalMoney 8.69 - - -
CFML Loans 9.45 - - -
China Construction Bank - 7.09 6.75 6.49
China Construction Bank Special - - - -
Co-operative Bank - First Home Special - 6.79 - -
Co-operative Bank - Owner Occ 8.40 6.99 6.79 6.65
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Co-operative Bank - Standard 8.40 7.49 7.29 7.15
Credit Union Auckland 7.70 - - -
First Credit Union Special - 7.45 7.35 -
First Credit Union Standard 8.50 7.99 7.85 -
Heartland Bank - Online 7.99 6.89 6.55 6.35
Heartland Bank - Reverse Mortgage - - - -
Heretaunga Building Society 8.90 7.60 7.40 -
HSBC Premier 8.59 - - -
HSBC Premier LVR > 80% - - - -
HSBC Special - - - -
ICBC 7.85 7.05 6.69 6.59
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Kainga Ora 8.64 7.74 7.35 6.99
Kainga Ora - First Home Buyer Special - - - -
Kiwibank 8.50 7.99 7.79 7.55
Kiwibank - Offset 8.50 - - -
Kiwibank Special - 6.99 6.79 6.65
Liberty 8.59 8.69 8.79 8.94
Nelson Building Society 9.00 7.65 7.25 -
Pepper Money Advantage 10.49 - - -
Pepper Money Easy 8.69 - - -
Pepper Money Essential 8.29 - - -
SBS Bank 8.74 7.74 7.09 6.95
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
SBS Bank Special - 7.14 6.49 6.35
SBS Construction lending for FHB - - - -
SBS FirstHome Combo 6.19 6.14 - -
SBS FirstHome Combo - - - -
SBS Unwind reverse equity 9.95 - - -
Select Home Loans 9.24 - - -
TSB Bank 9.44 7.79 7.55 7.45
TSB Special 8.64 6.99 6.75 6.65
Unity 8.64 6.99 6.79 -
Unity First Home Buyer special - 6.55 6.45 -
Wairarapa Building Society 8.60 6.95 6.85 -
Lender Flt 1yr 2yr 3yr
Westpac 8.64 ▼7.49 7.35 6.99
Westpac Choices Everyday 8.74 - - -
Westpac Offset 8.64 - - -
Westpac Special - ▼6.89 6.75 6.39
Median 8.64 7.14 6.82 6.65

Last updated: 15 July 2024 11:47am

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