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Trust Engineering for the Financial Industry

Trust Engineering for the Financial Industry

  • Project Dates: 30/04/2021 (End)
  • Project Leader: Professor Aad van Moorsel, Newcastle University School of Computing

The FinTech industry is one of the major growth industries in the United Kingdom. These companies create new, cheaper and faster services, utilizing the latest technologies such as cloud, mobile and blockchain. To succeed they need to gain the trust of customers in a period that society's trust in the financial industry is still impacted by the mortgage crisis almost a decade ago.

Led by Newcastle University, UK, and supported by Atom bank, the UK’s first bank built exclusively for smartphone or tablet, researchers are embarking on a three-year FinTrust project that will look at the role of machine learning in banking, particularly in the context of automated lending decisions and whether these lead to bias and financial exclusion.

Professor Aad Van Moorsel, Professor in Cyber Security at Newcastle University and project lead, explains:

“Modern-day financial services increasingly rely on ‘robo-advice’, in which smart algorithms will make automated decisions about mortgages and other financial matters in seconds.

“But no-one knows if computers rather than humans making decisions increases the risk of bias against certain groups of people and whether this could lead to new forms of financial distress and financial exclusion.

“This innovative project will explore how consumer trust in banks and financial services can be enhanced while retaining the benefits of mobile banking that we now take for granted, software tools available freely and to a wide audience, training the research staff in interacting and public engagement to optimize the impact from our research.”

Dr Karen Elliott, joint project lead based at Newcastle University Business School, explains:

“Recent media reports about the exploitation of personal data and high profile technology breaches have increased public awareness of potential drawbacks of the digital age. At the same time, the success of new challenger banks like Atom shows that consumers want the convenience that the technology offers.

“The challenge is finding a way to adopt technology in a secure but customerfocused way that doesn’t differentiate between particular groups if we’re to build trust in the services and companies with whom we share our personal data.”

Project staff

  • Dr Kovila Coopamootoo, Newcastle University School of Computing, Co-i
  • Dr Karen Elliott, Newcastle University Business School, Co-i