lloydsbankflickrcckingofdaventrythumb800100752472orig Alex Donohue/Flickr

Lloyds software lead James McLeod on 'innersourcing' the 250-year-old bank

With the advent of open banking, challenger banks and fintech startups are taking on the traditional British financial institutions like Lloyds of London – but that's not to say the old guard aren't paying attention. It's quite the opposite, says James McLeod, software engineering lead at Lloyds Banking Group.

Post financial crash, banks might be more likely to dredge up associations of casino-style speculation, fraud and scandal. But their tradition is in keeping financial assets safe under lock and key.

"Hands up if you belong to a startup company that's 250 years old," McLeod asked the audience. "I actually do. The history of Lloyds is huge, it's probably the oldest company I've ever worked for. I have a background in startups, [and] the startup I was a part of, as part of my whole introduction to software engineering, certainly wasn't 250 years old.

"As you can imagine banking is built around keeping things safe. Its heritage is keeping money safe, so everything is tightly controlled: where you keep your savings, where you keep your mortgage, how you make your banking transfers – it's all tied up and regulatory."

While that fundamental security is naturally still vital, the open banking initiative – which forced UK banks to open their data through secure APIs – began in earnest this January and is necessitating a different approach. Throw the UK's strong fintech scene with its challenger banks, blockchain startups and crypto currencies into the mix and Lloyds had to take notice.

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