In the lead up to Sibos 2022, Finextra spoke to Dan Globerson, head of Bank of APIs at NatWest, to explore how he is leading the bank’s regulatory commitments in the UK and Europe, driving a culture of API enablement, and collaborating across the industry by establishing standards.
The Bank of APIs was built on the foundations of open banking in the UK, the first country in the world where the initiative was regulated. It is essentially an API ecosystem that brings a variety of services to NatWest customers and partners in new ways.
Looking at how open banking will evolve in 2023, Globerson highlighted that his team’s work is based on “policy in terms of working and collaborating with industry bodies, other banks and the regulators themselves to define what an ecosystem might look like for open banking and beyond.”
Moving beyond the regulators’ basic requirements for open banking, banks saw 2020 as a year in which to consolidate their open banking strategies amid unprecedented challenges. Emerging out of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2021, the conversation on open banking in the UK rapidly evolved into areas such as open finance and smart data, and ultimately, “open everything,” as Globerson described.
In 2022, UK banks have grown from the learnings and successes of open banking and are now considering how to apply these to a broader ecosystem, while continuing to ensure we all have control over our own data.
Globerson furthered that “we are in the middle of having some deep industry and regulatory wide debates around what is going to drive the next steps. That’s the big thing in 2022. Will market forces drive open finance and beyond into open everything? Do we need some regulation or a combination of both? Do market forces create a strong enough incentive to develop services such as open finance? Maybe that’s the real question that needs to be answered,” Globerson said.
While NatWest, one of the CMA9 banks, has developed a reputation for being progressive across open banking, the bank is now recognising that the ecosystem that was built for personal finance and small business customers are suited to providing corporates with digital services. PSD2 was certainly not targeted at larger businesses, but there is an opportunity there.
Globerson clarified that there are two sides to that equation: what open banking, open finance and open data means to the business, and what it means to the corporate. “We’re working with our customers to provide them instantaneous connectivity via APIs to attach their accounts and initiate payments on a technological basis.
“From a treasurer perspective, that improves many things depending on the kind of business. It reduces operational overheads, operational risks around manual processes and optimises cash flow and liquidity in real-time. It can automate and digitalise everything around cash management, but the flip side of that is that corporate treasurers would have significant interest in how to improve their clients’ experience too. That’s the second derivative of this: what can a corporate do now with access to API services?”
This is not a new concept and is already in flight within some banks, with solutions in the market and data being utilised to improve customer experience. However, the gamechanger here will be open data, increasing how much quality data is available and depending on the digital maturity of the sector at the time, incumbent banks will start to partner with startups to leverage this opportunity.
Finextra will be covering Sibos live from Amsterdam from October 10th to October 13th. Be sure to keep up to date with all the event’s news and announcements via Finextra’s Live@ Sibos page throughout the week.