Australian banking group Westpac has announced plans to develop a cloud-based banking-as-a-service platform to further accelerate its digital push.

To develop this platform, the lender has collaborated with UK-based fintech firm 10x Future Technologies.

The banking-as-a-service platform will enable third parties to deliver Westpac banking products to their customers. The services will be offered by the businesses via application programming interfaces (APIs).

Initially, the distributers will include some of the bank’s institutional customers and fintech partners.

The platform is expected to become operational before the end of next year.

As a part of the agreement, Westpac may also acquire a minority stake in 10x Future Technologies.

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While announcing Westpac annual results, Westpac Group CEO, Mr Brian Hartzer said: “We’re preparing for our digital future by investing in a new digital-only banking platform that will complement our existing banking businesses.

“This will initially operate a ‘bank-as-a-service’ model and we intend to bring new digital products and services to market through fintech and institutional partners.

“This will allow Westpac to reach a new group of customers as well as create value for our partners by enhancing the service offering to their own customers.”

This year, Westpac announced a statutory net profit of A$6.78bn ($4.69bn), a fall of 16% from 2018 levels.

The bank’s cash earnings also dropped by 15% to A$6.85bn.

Westpac efforts come at a time when major lenders are stepping up efforts to boost their digital capabilities.

As part of its digitalisation, Westpac partnered Coupa to facilitate SMEs payments in August this year.