Moneytree to bring Japan bank revolution to Aus

  • By Christine St Anne

Moneytree will bring the lessons garnered from its experience in Japan’s developing API market to Australia as it aims for a launch date later this month. 

Founded in Japan five years ago, the fintech is backed by Japan’s megabanks: Mizuho Capital Co, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co and SMBC Venture Capital. 

“We are looking to adapt our experience what we have learnt from Japan’s API market into the local market, Moneytree founder Paul Chapman (pictured), told AB+F

Under new drafted banking legislation, Japanese banks are likely to be obliged to open up application program interfaces (APIs). According to a UBS report Japan Bank Revolution, banks have already experimented with a number of API measures, opening up their platforms to fintechs such as Moneytree. 

Given that Moneytree’s digital proposition gives people full portability of their financial data, the business is well placed to provide services that can effectively “plug into” a bank’s API. 

Bridging the gap

The business has been able to secure partnerships with Japan’s banks including its backer Mizuho Bank for its permission-based, data-sharing platform. 

It also has emerged as the number one data partner for accounting-related software in Japan and is currently offering API design support to regional financial institutions. 

The business will bring its experience from Japan to Australia in a number of areas, most notably its knowledge of operating in an API market. 

Its alliances with Japanese banks has positioned it to respond to an open API regime, which will eventually be reality in Australia given the Government’s decision to move to an open banking framework. 

“It is going to take time for all these things to happen. It could take years for all the systems to get into place and, as a result, what Moneytree hopes to do is to make that future a reality sooner,” Chapman said.

“The direction is extremely clear and we stand as a middle ground bridging between bank customers and the institutions themselves. We believe financial institutions in Australia can see which way the wind is blowing and so they feel confident enough to start trying these 

Australian expansion 

Chapman also believes that Japanese banks were a first mover in partnering with fintech and again this experience will be timely in the Australian market. 

“The partnership model is really what fintechs around the world are now turning to but Japan got there first," he said.

“That (the partnership model) basically means, let banks, let large financial institutions do what they’re good at, and the smaller fintechs, let’s do what we’re good at, or the things that banks won’t do or can’t do.” 

Chapman said the business was already in talks with three to four Australian financial institutions and is optimistic about the outlook for the business in Australia. 

“Institutions in Australia and Japan are both interested in having a closer relationship with their customers and one way to do that through the digital spectrum is to provide useful features and information in a timely and respectful manner.”