Deutsche Bank to launch three tech startup labs in 2015: source

By Thomas Atkins and Andreas Kröner
People walk past a Deutsche Bank logo ahead the banks annual general meeting in Frankfurt May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

By Thomas Atkins and Andreas Kröner

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank aims to launch three technology innovation labs in Berlin, London and Silicon Valley this year designed to accelerate development of so-called "fintech" companies which could aid the banking sector and its clients.

Germany’s largest lender, grappling with an overhaul of its own technology infrastructure, aims to get the three operations up and running by the end of the year, a source with knowledge of the matter told Reuters.

The bank, which unveiled broad plans in April to overhaul its strategy and modernize its tech infrastructure, hopes to screen some 500 fintech start-ups per year, with some seeking to develop security, payments, efficiency, organization or process applications.

A spokesman for Deutsche Bank declined comment.

The move follows similar initiatives by rivals including Swiss bank UBS and Commerzbank to turbocharge tech developments that will help banks work more efficiently and stay close to clients.

American Express also recently opened a tech lab in Palo Alto, California, to focus on cloud computing and mobile infrastructure.

Deutsche Bank has not set aside a specific sum of money to invest in the firms, the source said, rather it aims to partner with chosen start-ups by either using the technology itself, fostering development, or perhaps channeling it into clients or other portions of the financial sector, the source said.

Deutsche wants to partner and work with start-ups, give them feedback on their ideas and find ways to employ their technology, not try to benefit solely from a financial perspective, said the source. “This is primarily about innovation, not investments.”

The launch, which comes weeks after board member Henry Ritchotte was named chief digital officer, marks a bigger commitment to developing a field where the banking sector fell behind similar tech advances in manufacturing following the financial crisis.

(Additional reporting by Eric Auchard; Editing by Andreas Framke and Kirsti Knolle)