The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is set to change the role of banks in the financial services space. PSD2 aims to increase competition, innovation, and transparency in the EU banking sector, by opening up banking APIs to various trusted third-party services. PSD2 mandates banks and payment service providers to facilitate access to user account data and payment initiation via API, meaning that banks may no longer be the sole providers of online banking services, and instead begin acting as back-end utilities for other financial and non-financial service providers.
The adoption of open APIs by banks and financial institutions has been steadily growing, as has the ecosystem delivering these services. Companies providing KYC products rank among the most well established services to help financial institutions cut cost, increase scalability and help comply in a more scrupulous regulatory environment. A Thomson Reuters global survey reveals that banks are taking as long as 48 days to onboard a new customer. Also, the banks are spending in excess of $60 million per annum on KYC and client onboarding.
Compliance is a necessary staple for any successful business venture. Critical to the success of any type of digital finance platform is a comprehensive identity verification process which usually require to meet both domestic regulatory requirements and sustainable business objectives.
Commenting on the announcement that the OCC intends to design standards that will allow fintech companies to be chartered as special-purpose national banks, Controller of the Currency Thomas Curry said: “More than 85 million young adults in America are entering the financial world with the majority of their financial lives still ahead,” he said. “They want technologies and services that provide better, faster, more accessible products and services, and they are willing to switch providers or use multiple providers to get what they want.”
Speaking with a peer from the banking industry, a claim arose that the problem with banks nowadays is that in the contemporary fast-paced environment, they are not able to compete with fintech disruptors and are paying for decades of missed investments in innovation.
It’s no secret that markets gravitate toward greater efficiency with financial services being no different. As we often cover market segments ranging from peer to peer lending, wealth management / robo advisory and online syndication / crowdfunding marketplaces, the innovation emerging is multifaceted and rapid. It’s directed towards reducing friction and better overall service quality or user experience in financial services contexts. But what does this really mean - a future where software developers replace bankers as the architects of financial services?
Fintech is a booming industry, but how do you launch a concept? It’s like everything else right, research and testing? It might be attractive to do the full concept across from a whiteboard, but technology has come a long way with the API economy and iterative development that allows a minimum viable product to be put in front of the stakeholders before the average procurement process within a large organization would be completed.
Recently I had the privilege to discuss changes and macro trends globally in different industries with a group of change management executives. While we discussed various topics, including incumbents abilities to innovate in new markets, cannibalization among other topics, we got talking about the changes of financial services institutions becoming the new effective ‘bit pipes’ (comparison from telco’s) and more so, if this is actually a bad thing?
We’ve written about the API Economy previously and expressed our optimism toward specialization of service providers in the financial services market. It looks like frameworks and proposals being put in place may speed up that development, by forcing uniform standards and requirements on the market.
The revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) may have a long term effect and catalyze the banking sectors position shift to piping from certain high-value services.
The word “API” and “White label” are often used within the same breath in FinTech. They are used to describe a way in which companies can leverage a pre existing framework to more efficiently deploy an application. Really, they are two separate directions into the market, which we should understand more clearly. Both have advantages and limitations.