API Strategy in FinServ – What Can Banks Learn from Startups?

Removing integration problems, enabling best-of-breed approach to building products and services, turning competitors into partners, improving the customer experience, making customized solutions possible… APIs will allow businesses to leverage technology with greater velocity in the future, avoiding stumbling blocks of the past and allowing them to seize opportunities for growth.

Traditionally, banks have built, owned and controlled the channels and applications through which customers access their services – be a retail customer checking their balance online or undertaking a mobile transfer, or a corporation initiating a batch of cross-border payments. With open APIs, third-party developers can gain access to banks’ systems and build their own channels and interaction screens for customers to use.

As a result of banks actively opening their APIs to third-party providers, customers are able to see and manage their banking transactions and accounts through portals that the banks haven’t set up and can’t directly control. More often than not, those channels are of a greater preference and use to customers than traditional channels. For comparison, while Chase’s banking app has 10+ million installs in Google Play, Facebook Messenger surpasses 1+ billion. Even adding up JP Morgan app doesn’t make the competition any closer – the app has just 100K+ installs in Google Play. The average US consumer, for example, are spending five hours a day on mobile devices, and 50% of that time is spent in social, messaging, media, and entertainment applications.

For banks, open APIs became a wa ...

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