Deutsche Bank is leading a coalition of firms looking to create a universal digital identity in Germany.

The project is designed to create a single online registration for users across a number of industries, Deutsche Bank said. Other companies involved in the initiative include Allianz; Axel Springer; Daimler; Postbank; the technology think tank Core; and Here Technologies, a location services provider.

Deutsche Bank sign

The platform is intended to be open and compatible with ongoing projects “managed by authorities under the German government and German federal states, even at local government level, for example, for citizen portals,” Deutsche Bank said in a press release Monday. Additional uses for the project may include digital access to public authorities and digital payment services and financial services, the bank said.

Deutsche also cited the security of the digital identity, which “aims to guarantee the highest standards in data security and data protection,” as a key motivation for the project.

The move comes at a time when there is a building consensus that the way digital identity is managed is broken. Some industry observers see a natural role for banks as the stewards of people's digital identities, and indeed some U.S. banks are already experimenting in this area. JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon last year even floated the idea of a universal, shared database banks could use for know-your-customer compliance purposes.

“In the digital era more than ever, banks have a key role and are responsible for supporting their clients as they make their way into the digital future,” Postbank CEO Frank Strauss said in the release.

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