New and different banking models are emerging as the various influences in financial services today take hold. Change happens at a faster pace than ever, increasing in rate by the year, and this is very much part of the new operating norm. Regardless of the pressure for banks and other financial organisations to adapt, transform and carve a new identity out of an everchanging ecosystem and set of demands and requirements, there cannot be a lapse in the protection of systems, of customer and client data, and hence, trust. This is, after all, arguably the most valuable asset banks have.
Security, while not of itself the driver of digital transformation strategies and dialogues, underpins each and every activity, plan and transaction an institution makes or hosts. And the direction of travel that industry transformation is taking places a lot of pressure on reconfiguring systems to be robust, because that direction is branching out into the realm of myriad other players through open banking APIs. In some regions the opening of banking services is mandated, such as in Europe with PSD2; in others, a commercially-driven approach has taken hold, such as in the US. And in others still, where mobile phones have formed the basis of modern banking, it is more an innate approach than a transition or shift, such as in Asia Pacific.
APIs are nothing new in financial services, but while they have always been a back office functionality tool, they have now moved very much to the fore in being the connectors of a new, more open financial ecosystem. They have been used to connect developers to payment networks as well as to display billing details on a bank’s website. Through open banking, however, APIs are now being used to allow third parties access to certain data sets, with the requisite consents, and vice versa. They provide democratised, low fidelity, low latency ‘bridges’ between organisations to facilitate the rapid expansion of the ecosystem, competition, and hence choice and empowerment for the consumer. But with such change and opportunity also comes great risk.
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