IBM and Crédit Mutuel Arkéa have announced the completion of their first blockchain project to improve the bank’s ability to verify customer identity. The result of this pilot is an operational permissioned blockchain network that provides a view of customer identity to enable compliance with Know Your Customer requirements.

Frédéric Laurent, COO Innovation & Operations at Crédit Mutuel Arkéa, commented: “Blockchain is a transformative agent in our operational application, as proven by this project — the first of its kind in France. This pilot offers a complete view of customers’ documents across our distributed network. The project helped us to understand and master blockchain for other client uses. Now, we are ready to incorporate this technology in our ecosystem.”

Crédit Mutuel Arkéa expects to use the technology to help improve both customer and advisors experiences. Banks often have a variety of systems that separately manage customer identity for different services provided. Following this pilot, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa group and IBM are working to federate the different silos of customer data creating a single but cross-businesses KYC platform to inform all of the banks processes, with the aim of reducing unnecessary duplication of information and requests. The technology aims to simplify the administrative processes by incorporating all valid existing evidence already stored in the bank’s multiple systems of record such as from mortgage applications or life insurance enrollment and bank accounts opening.

Juliette Macret, IBM Financial Services Sector Business Development Director at IBM France, remarked: “Crédit Mutuel Arkéa applied IBM Design Thinking and agile development methods to turn a simple idea into a strategic, decentralized platform for collaboration. The availability of IBM Blockchain services and DevOps tools on IBM innovation platform Bluemix was key to accelerate the time-to-value during the development phase. As the foundation of a robust system of trust, blockchain technology can help businesses create frictionless business transactions that improve customer satisfaction and employee efficiency.”

Expertise from IBM during this project has benefitted Crédit Mutuel Arkéa in a number of areas such as IBM’s Design Thinking methodologies and the IBM Studio in Paris to shape the strategic imperatives of the project, explore the initial ideas and co-design the use case from an end-user viewpoint. Bluemix, IBM’s cloud platform, was used to accelerate the development of the project using a complete set of as-a-services components, including Blockchain-as-a-Service and DevOps. Additionally, IBM’s Global Business Services banking industry insight played a role in guiding the project and identifying the business transformation opportunity.

Using the open-source Hyperledger Project fabric, the software reinforces consistency, traceability and privacy of the information, which is critical to the highly regulated environment. Ultimately, Crédit Mutuel Arkéa could enable its customers to deliver proof of their identity to third-parties such as local utilities, retailers or regulated service providers.