Big data, a new reality for banks


The world generates 1.7 million billion bytes of data per minute. “Now is the time to take full benefit of it by using it to transform society, generate new opportunities and make services more transparent, efficient and personalised,” said Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda in May 2014.

While data collection and exploitation has become a growing phenomenon and is expected to grow worldwide, the European Commission adopted in July 2014 a communication on data-driven economy. It describes the features on data-driven economy and sets out operational measures to support and accelerate the transition towards a Big Data revolution.

More concretely, the Commission calls for a big data public-private partnership that would develop incentives to share datasets between partners and mechanisms to facilitate knowledge and technology transfers. In addition, it is in favour of a digital entrepreneurship and open data incubator to help SMEs use cloud computing more; and to establish a series of Supercomputing Centres of Excellence to increase number of skilled data workers in Europe.

Big data is a new reality for banks, both large and small. It enables them to develop real-time and personalised services to customers, to identify fraud more easily, and to provide a more precise view of credit and liquidity risks. Most banks already have analytical systems in place, but big data takes it to a macro level with deeper insight coming from a multitude of sources.

Particular attention should therefore be given to the some specific elements of the communication which could impact the financial services sector, notably:

  • The creation of a big data public-private partnership and the development of a data processing facilities network between Member States;
  • Further legislation on personal data protection and consumer protection, security and data mining.

Europe’s banks stress the importance of ensuring that any further development in those areas strikes the right balance between consumers and companies’ interests. This condition is essential in order to reach the initial goal of the European Commission: accelerate innovation, productivity, growth, and increase competitiveness in data across the whole economy.


EBF contact: