What you missed at the Open Banking Expo 2018

By Olly Betts | Dec 7, 2018 |

It’s been well over a week since the movers and shakers from the Open Banking community got together in the America Square Conference Centre to attend the inaugural Open Banking Expo.

As lead sponsors, we really enjoyed supporting the Open Banking Expo team in crafting the agenda and attendee list and loved how the day turned out… I hope you did too.

The day was full to the brim with debate, insight and industry updates from the best in the biz.

Didn’t attend the event? Don’t worry. Here’s a download of everything we learnt at the Open Banking Expo.


Failure to accelerate = failure to succeed

‘Open Banking is on the S curve of innovation… at first, adoption is slow. Then it either accelerates fast or fails to take off’ - Dan Cobley

Dan Cobley, former MD of Google UK and current Managing Partner of Fintech at Blenheim Chalcot took to the stage as the morning keynote to give his view of the current position of Open Banking for consumer adoption.

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Cobley stated that Open Banking is currently in the bottom of the S curve of consumer adoption. Meaning that adoption is slow.

He then posed the question to the audience - how’s the Open Banking platform going to accelerate rather than fail.

This is a question that we all need to answer and one that I believe carried on throughout the day.


The glaringly obvious but hard to navigate - collaboration

Collaboration will make or break Open Banking. It might sound obvious but the banks, regulators and TPPs need to work together to build a great platform.

This need for collaboration was echoed within the panel I chaired alongside leading experts such as Imran Gualamhuseinwala OBE, Trustee at the OBIE and Beck Moffat, Head of Personal Banking at HSBC UK to name but a few.

Banks know that they need to do more, but it’s happening too late in the game to control the transition to Open Banking, so now all they can do is embrace it.

Willing collaboration and alignment on motives and core values will ensure TPPs and banks focus on the consumer value and make sure that Open Banking empowers consumers financially instead of holding them back.

This empowerment of consumers is exactly the takeaway that I wanted to leave the audience with during my personal keynote. I believe current success metrics are wrong. It’s not about making people richer or helping the banks protect their margins. Instead, we should be measuring the success of Open Banking on the financial inclusion of consumers, making people confident about their money.

Let’s think BIG. Open Banking can be so much more than a quick loan application or streamlined I&Es. It can be a force for good that goes about solving global issues.

Take event attendees Yolt and Tully as examples. Yolt are leveraging Open Banking to build a smart money platform that provides consumers with the application they need to manage their finances in one place. It’s all about getting the best deal for their customers, encouraging switching to alternative energy providers to save a little bit here and there.

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Open Banking is enabling Tully to change the way people deal with debt. By building realistic budgets Tully offers people a new way to control all of their debts, and provide those that need it, a flexible repayment plan that they can actually afford.    

The UK is leading the way, setting an Open Banking standard before the rest of the world. Keeping the focus on the benefits for consumers should be echoed throughout the world. But as Imran so rightly put it ‘the UK is setting the pace and best practice - it’s not perfect but we’re getting there.’  


Worldwide adoption

Many countries are looking to the UK as a example of how to build and implement a standard including the less mentioned countries of Mexico and Nigeria.

Mexico have a ‘go big or go home’ attitude, as showcased by Claudia Del Pozo in the Global Spotlight talk. Mexico are going beyond just banking, they’re also mandating APIs for energy and around 20 other sectors. They aren’t waiting around for Open Banking to prove the foundations of Open Data and consumer demand. They’re confident that Open Banking and Open Data will be adopted and will prove valuable.


Straight from the horse's mouth

We heard from Matt Cox, Head of Open Banking at Nationwide, during the future of Open Banking talk, who shared some truthful insight into the inner workings of Nationwide itself. He mentioned that the launch of Open Banking in January and the entirety of 2018 was perceived as an MVP (Minimum Viable Product) but was a massive undertaking nonetheless. In 2019, V2 and 3 will be ramping up the action with Cox stating that these versions will be ‘5-7 times bigger than anything they’ve delivered within 2018’. These versions will unlock even more value and insight, including ‘more account types and greater payments capability so that PISP moves beyond single payment’.

The biggest challenge that Nationwide face within 2019 (and I’m sure the same can be said for the remaining CMA9) is that it’s a moving feast. Nationwide will be rolling out iterative changes to meet the Open Banking spec and requirements, whilst maintaining and supporting the existing live services. Which is no mean feat for an incumbent.  


Overview of the overview

We’re 11 months down the line and Open Banking’s a reality.

Yes, we might be on the start of the S curve but the investment and effort from both banks and Fintechs (that have a strong platform) gives Open Banking the chance to complete the S of consumer adoption.

But in order for this to be achieved, we need to focus on the right success measures and take a page out of Mexico’s book to be more ambitious.

Open Banking can improve everyday lives.

We simply need to collaborate as an ecosystem to make Open Banking work.

Phew. That was a long one...

Now all I need to say is keep your eyes peeled for the interviews the OpenWrks team held with thought leaders at the Open Banking Expo - which will be shared on our social media soon - and finally cheers to a day full of insight, debate and vision for a better financial future for all.  

 

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