US tech firms form alliance to drive bank data sharing

Source: Envestnet/Yodlee

Envestnet | Yodlee (NYSE: ENV), a leading data aggregation and data analytics platform for digital financial services, today announced a joint initiative with two major data platforms Quovo and Morningstar ByAllAccounts to enable secure, open data access for consumers in regard to their financial data.

The three have united to develop the Secure Open Data Access (SODA) framework, a set of consumer-centric principles for data access and financial data security to promote transparency, traceability and accountability in the financial services ecosystem.

The joint principles identify the essential components of a successful data access regime in the United States. Supported by the Consumer Financial Data Rights (CFDR) Group, the principles identify standards that financial technology companies must uphold to enhance financial data security and create more transparency for consumers, financial institutions and policy makers into who accesses consumers' financial data and for what purpose. Since their emergence, financial technology firms have created tools that arm consumers with better insight into their finances. The SODA principles provide standards to maintain this open access to financial data in a secure manner and better position the United States to keep pace with "open banking" advances around the world.

"Through our involvement in existing industry groups focused on data access standards, we have noticed that consumers are not always as top-of-mind as they should be," said Anil Arora, CEO of Envestnet | Yodlee. "The principles released today reiterate our belief that it is the consumer's right to both access their data and permit it to be referenced through trusted third-party tools and applications, and that this consumer-permissioned access should not be limited or restricted."

The SODA framework consists of four core components:

Consumers must be able to access their financial account data for the purposes of using any legitimate application;
Consumers must provide affirmative consent on the basis of clear and conspicuous disclosure regarding the use of their data;
All entities who handle consumer account information must adhere to best practices for security standards and implement traceability / transparency; and
The entity responsible for a consumer's financial loss must make the consumer whole. All stakeholders in the ecosystem have shared responsibility - this will start with traceability in the United States and move towards shared responsibility just like in Europe.

"Data sharing is a critical driver of innovation within financial services that is enabling consumers to make healthier financial decisions," said Lowell Putnam, CEO of Quovo. "As custodians of financial data, we all have a duty to ensure that consumers are empowered to access their data safely, securely, and with full transparency into how it is being used. Our joint framework provides direction for the industry on how to fulfill this responsibility."

"Transparency and best-interest practices are the future of financial services, and the SODA framework will set the bar high for consumer rights," said David Johnson, Morningstar's head of ByAllAccounts. "At Morningstar, our mission is to provide the data, tools, and insights needed so investors can make informed decisions. Secure consumer access to financial data and shared responsibility will play a critical role in bringing investors closer to their financial goals."

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