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10 October 2016

Data Action Levels the Playing Field at the 2016 COBA Conference

We were excited to return to the annual COBA Conference this year at the Adelaide Convention Centre, held on September 24th to the 27th. The Customer Owned Banking Association (COBA) is an industry group representing independent customer owned financial service providers across Australia. Having supported the event as a Silver Sponsor for a number of years, we were once again pleased to be continuing our Silver Sponsorship support, and this time we only had to make the short walk from our offices.

On Sunday afternoon we set up our stand amongst a multitude of sponsors, ready for the three-day festivities. Following the welcome reception, a relaxed atmosphere set in as scores of enthusiastic attendees weaved through the stands to chat and catch up with others. At our ‘Silver 4’ stand location, the ‘DA heroes of Bank Tech’ of 2015 had swapped their superhero capes for supporter scarves to fit in with this year’s theme of ‘Leveling the Playing Field’. We wanted to continue this theme on from our own Client Conference, held in early September, to reinforce the messaging that open data and APIs can help financial institutions compete with the bigger players in the industry.

Amid of sea of sponsor stands exhibiting basketball games, coffee machines and even massage tables, we managed to stand out with our resemblance of Adelaide Oval. The historic scoreboard with the words ‘Levelling the Playing Field’ featured as the stand’s backdrop, notably an image we had captured from inside the Oval during our Client Conference. The scoreboard was framed with a traditional white picket fence and towered over a field of artificial grass, while TV screens displayed a slideshow of DA Service Offerings. Our stand attracted many inquisitive onlookers, amassing to find out what the scoreboard was all about.

Back at the Convention Centre early Monday morning, we had the chance to wander the area and see what the other sponsors had to offer. We even had a go at a golf competition, but much to our surprise, none of the DA Team even made the top ten. Joining us at our stand was Glenn Seri from Bill Sumo, who informed our visitors on the good work carried out for Queensland Country Credit Union, Coastline Credit Union and Credit Union SA. Damien Mair from Fusion, our Digital Agency and DA Banking App partner, also joined us. Multiple sessions ran throughout the day and one of our Relationship Managers, Vijender Shah, managed to attend a session on ‘Strategic Partnerships’, ran by Simon Cant of FinTech Australia, Rob Goudswaard of CUA and Dave Taylor of G&C Mutual Bank. The session showcased the opportunity for Mutuals to gain advantage, or level the playing field as we would say, by forming agile and strategic partnerships.

Tuesday was the final day of the Conference and despite starting to tire, partly due to unforseen coffe shortage, we were back at the stand. Vijender would like to give a special mention to our partners, Cuscal, for saving the day by providing us with coffee from the machines at their stand. Throughout the duration of the event, we were fortunate enough to be visited by our clients, the majority of our Board Members, interstate Mutuals, vendors and suppliers, and even those who just wanted to put their card in the bowl for our business card draw. Relationship Manager, Laura Troia, really enjoyed the opportunity to ‘talk to a lot of different people’. We held the business card draw in the afternoon where one lucky winner from Maritime Mutual & Power Credit Union received two passes for the Adelaide Oval Roof Climb.

To cap off the fantastic event, we attended a conference dinner that encompassed a ‘Get Rocked’ theme. We were sat amongst the coloured hair, leather and denim of a crowd of costume-clad attendees, though unfortunately we had left our costumes behind this year. As we adorned ourselves with glow-sticks we were thoroughly entertained by comedian; Dave Hughes, party band; Chunky Custard, and an exhilarating air guitar competition.

We were really pleased with the interest in Data Action at this year’s COBA Conference as well as the positive comments received from many organisations. We had a great time over the three days and can’t wait to do it all again next year.