- Don’t bank on Google Bank, bank on banks becoming Google-like
- Google’s influence
- “Our platform is designed for tier one banks and is built for scale.”
Read about how the financial services industry is not just being shaken up with cosmetic changes, but is about to go through the process of being stripped down and rebuilt. We also feature an interview with a former Google tech lead about how his new company, which already has Lloyds Banking Group as a customer, is approaching legacy replacement at banks. Could it be the nearest thing to banking on Google available today?
Some of the big banks are beginning to realise that is what they might need to replace archaic, but reliable, systems if they are to prosper in the future. Not an easy decision. Just look at what happened at TSB – which you can also read about in this eguide. Also to learn more read The Future of Financial Services Part 1.
Don’t bank on Google Bank, bank on banks becoming Google-like
After three years working at Google in what he described as being “in the kitchen of a master chef” for a software engineer, former Google tech lead Paul Taylor is now serving up the fruits of his learnings to the banking sector.
Taylor is co-founder and CEO at Thought Machine. The fintech company has developed a cloud-based banking platform that could create the closest thing to a “Google Bank” possible, save Google itself having a mid-life crisis and becoming a bank.
Back in 2014, when he left Google where he headed up text-to-speech, he set up Thought Machine, a firm applying the engineering principles of Google to provide banks with an alternative to their legacy systems and Financial Services.
The company, which launched in 2014 currently has 125 staff based in London. Its customer growth over the past 12 months will see it increase its headcount to about 300 by the end of this year.
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Thought Machine has already had an impact. Lloyds Banking Group plans to move 500,000 Intelligent Finance division customer accounts from its legacy IT onto the fintech’s cloud-based platform, known as Vault. After that, who knows how far the banking giant will go with it?
Digital-only UK challenger bank Atom is another customer looking to migrate to Vault. Atom is 40% owned by Spanish bank BBVA, which has an option to buy the rest of the shares. If the implementation is a success at Atom, BBVA, which has over 50 million customers, could consider it an option for its other businesses stuck on legacy systems.
“Our platform is designed for tier one banks and is built for scale,” said Taylor. Thought Machine has already run a trial and proved it could run a bank Financial Services with 100 million customers.
Google’s influence over Thought Machine comes from Taylor’s time at the internet giant, which honed his engineering skills. He was an academic at Edinburgh University in the 1990s and focused on search technology, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning.
He then moved on to set up two companies, and one of them, Phonetic Arts, was acquired by Google in 2010, which became the text-to-speech system for Google. This is the system behind the driving directions and voice search from Google.
“Google didn’t have an expert in that area so they made an offer,” said Taylor. He became Google’s head of text-to-speech.
Three years at Google gave Taylor an insight into how the company goes about its business of tech. “I considered myself a pretty good engineer when I got there, but Google takes it to a different level. It’s like working in the kitchen of a master chef,” he said.