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Deutsche Bank is preparing to launch a series of ‘innovation labs’ alongside IBM, Microsoft and Indian outsourcing firm HCL in a bid to improve its digital banking services.

Deutsche Bank is preparing to launch a series of ‘innovation labs’ alongside IBM, Microsoft and Indian outsourcing firm HCL, in a bid to improve its digital banking services and fend off competiton from tech firms.

The German lender is expected to set up labs in Berlin, London and Palo Alto, with the aim of partnering with local start-ups, according to sources close to the Wall Street Journal. 

The bank also intends to send staff from across all business units to the labs in order to provide to provide insight in how to enhance customer experience and improve internal processes.

It is believed that senior banking officials are keen to spend on upgrading digital capabilities in the face of increased threat from alternative payment systems such as Paypal and Apple Pay.

The bank said earlier that it plans to invest €200 million on digitising client facing systems, and has overhauled its senior technology team, with a string of hires within the space of 12 months. This includes Kim Hammonds joining from Boeing as CIO, Scott Marcar as head of IT infrastructure, and, most recently, JP Rangaswami as chief digital officer.

It also completed a major overhaul of core banking systems in recent years, replacing its legacy systems with an SAP platform. 

Deutsche Bank is one of many banks which are shifting their focus to digitisation in the face of new competition. This has often meant looking externally to smaller and more agile start-ups, with the likes of Barclays and Santander creating accelerators and launching investment funds to bring them closer to these innovative companies.