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Ecosystem banking: the role of platforms in corporate banking

The needs of your corporate banking clients are changing. Demand for digital-first solutions, automation, and rich data has steadily increased over the past decade. We’ve seen some improvements to corporate banking services, but nothing to write home about. Ecosystem banking is one way that banks can get ahead. 

What is ecosystem banking? 

Ecosystem banking is a relationship model for banks that brings additional products and experiences to banking. Through partnerships with third-party banking and non-banking technology providers, banks can leverage existing, best-in-class services rather than building products and services from scratch. The aim is to deliver new products and services that make the lives of your corporate clients easier without writing the codebase from scratch. 

A corporate banking ecosystem in action 

“The partnership approach has a strong ethos at Barclays. We're very active in this space,” said David Shinkins, Global Head of Cash Management Sales at Barclays Corporate Bank, in a recent interview with Burnmark as featured in our corporate banking report. “This allows us to deliver innovative solutions that may not be core to us.”   

An example of the ecosystem in action is Barclays partnership with TransferMate. This allows Barclays clients in higher education to collect fees from overseas students easier. This makes life easier for:   

  • End customers – who have an easy way to pay university fees locally   
  • Universities – who can track and reconcile their receipts easily   
  • Barclays – who leverage TransferMate’s ready-made solution rather than building one themselves.  

Where to start with ecosystem banking 

After determining where and how you want to compete, search for best-in-class tech partners who already provide what you are looking to build. The aim of your ecosystem should be to deliver new propositions that meet the unaddressed needs of your clients.  

Ecosystems are driven by open APIs, which act as an interface between applications, enabling them to communicate with one another. While it is possible to integrate modern tech with a legacy core banking platform, this is an expensive, time-consuming approach. You may need to look beyond your existing tech stack to make the most of this opportunity.  

At the moment, legacy tech makes it challenging for banks to give their clients a clear, accurate, and timely picture of their overall banking relationship. This challenge needs addressing before more technology (and additional data points) are integrated. If banks struggle to create a view of what’s happening across their products and services, what hope do they have of including third-party technologies?  

Cloud-native core banking platforms enable ecosystem banking through ready-made integrations and open APIs, enabling the seamless incorporation of current and future technologies. At the same time, a core platform moves banks from batch processes to real-time analytics. Intraday reporting means better optimization of funds, more accurate insights, and faster decision-making. 

A cloud-native core banking platform makes it faster and easier for banks to integrate with many technologies – from third-party Fintechs to gateway partners.  

Take the integration with the card issuing platform Paymentology. A market-leading technology that we integrate with so that the functionality feels native to users on our platform.   

The same applies to payments. Processed in-market through a payment platform such as Form3, who connect to the local payment scheme.   

With our payment rail, scheme-specific requirements are abstracted from the core via an adapter that integrates with our APIs. The scheme-specific logic sits at the adapter level. The core isn't customized each time a new payment scheme is added. Banks can plug in as many adapters as needed, serving multiple markets without adding complexity to the core each time.  

The focus for us is the core. It’s cloud-native. It’s real-time. It’s open API-enabled. And by integrating with companies who have already built amazing financial solutions, banks can use the best tooling for their needs at all levels. 

Banks can apply the same logic to their digital transformation efforts – why build something in-house when there are already leading solutions out there?

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