For several years now, the banking industry has been undergoing significant changes. The emergence of neo-banks, digitalization through the use of the internet and mobile applications, and the replacement of physical branches... Banks are now ushering in a new revolution with open banking.
Open banking is the requirement for banks to make a portion of their banking data available to third parties through a communication channel that can offer new services to customers. This new concept of open banking has been introduced, on one hand, through the European directive PSD2 and, on the other hand, through the maturity of the technological offering facilitated by APIs (Application Programming Interfaces).
Open banking: what is the PSD2 directive?
The Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is a regulation applicable in the European Union aimed at promoting innovation, competition, and efficiency in the banking market, including banks and fintech startups. Transposed into French law in 2018 through ordinances, PSD2 not only strengthens consumer services (strong authentication, enhanced rights) but also places a strong emphasis on opening the market to new players by providing access to account information through a secure communication channel.
This secure communication channel primarily relies on Application Programming Interfaces (APIs). An API is a computer interface provided by one application to be used by another application, and it operates based on a standardized method of communication (functions, classes…).
Banks: how to take advantage of open banking?
These communications via APIs will facilitate the creation of bridges and provide new services to customers through new actors, and even other markets such as tax advisors, financial advisors, brokers, insurers, and more. The primary stakeholders in this revolution are the banks themselves, who must reinvent their commercial and economic strategies.
There are four strategies available to different players in the banking world:
1. Full-Service Provider: The provision of banking products and services is carried out end-to-end in-house, without intermediaries, and therefore without APIs.
2. Open Servicing (BaaS, Bank as a Service): The bank provides its infrastructure and services without relying on its products and makes these services available to other companies through APIs. Any company, even if it’s not from the banking sector, can thus offer banking services to its customers through the provided APIs.
3. Bank as a Platform: The bank offers its customers the services of other actors to enrich its own products and retain its clientele.
4. Banking Marketplace: The bank offers an aggregation platform for services and products, coming from its own company as well as other partners. Customers thus have access to the best market offers through a single entry point.
The bank, as the owner of the marketplace, retains its customer base, which, in turn, benefits from a wide range of products and services. Third-party partners also gain better visibility. Actors can, therefore, focus on what they consider their added value to the market.
What are the challenges of open banking?
The valuation and monetization of this added value become crucial in a world where interest rates are close to 0 and are expected to remain so in a sustained manner.
Indeed, banks have traditionally relied on these interest rates for their funding and now need to find other factors for profitability and growth through additional services and products.
The entirety of making products and services available must therefore go through these APIs brought by open banking.
Behind these strategies, there is a subtle recognition of the importance, regardless of the model, of data mastery. Data becomes key in the customer relationship, enabling the creation of personalized products and value-added services. The control of customer data will become a conquest and customer loyalty challenge by reinventing customer services and creating new ones.
Hence, the need for proper training in Data Science to master data analysis and utilization, which is becoming increasingly valuable in the economic strategy of companies, regardless of their industry.