Five Nordic banks are developing a new utility to enhance efficiency and increase security in the region’s know your customer (KYC) processes.

DNB Bank, Danske Bank, Nordea, Handelsbanken and SEB intend to set up the Nordic KYC Utility joint venture to simplify customer onboarding and information exchange.

“We will investigate the possibilities of developing a common banking standard for KYC,” a Nordea spokesperson tells GTR. The endeavour aims to produce “a single point of entry, faster onboarding and improved quality of customer data”, the spokesperson adds. The utility would initially service large and midsized Nordic corporates.

With a focus on developing an “efficient, common, secure and cost-effective utility”, the banks hope to impact the entire Nordic region’s KYC procedures. The infrastructure would “contribute to creating a healthy financial environment, prevent financial crime and protect customers and society”, the spokesperson adds.

Although the company will be owned by the founding banks, the utility itself “will be an open collaboration and we will invite other parties to participate”, the spokesperson explains.

Citing mobile payment service Swish – set up by Sweden’s biggest banks – as another example where banks in the region have joined forces to innovate, the spokesperson says: “The overall climate for collaboration is good in the region. We have a history of reaching out and put our efforts together in this region and put the competition aside if it can lead to better customer experience.”

The joint venture is subject to approval from the European Commission, with the banks hoping the utility will launch in the second half of 2018.