The line-up this year included some known experts and companies in their field:
Paolo Sironi, Global Research Leader Banking and Financial Markets, IBM, Institute for Business Value
Simon Torrance, Independent Advisory, Embedded Finance, World Economic Forum
Luiz Moncaus, Nubank
Kate Cloud, PLAID
Iryna Agieieva, Group Product Manager Payment, Booking.com
Héctor Arias, Head of Open Banking Operations, BBVA
Just to name a few. The full list of speakers is available here.
All discussed topics are related to open banking and open finance. When talking about these subjects, platformification, embedded, contextual and conscious banking must not be missing. A crucial aspect when thinking about data-driven business models is of course data access and privacy. A key point to consider here is trust. During the congress, the focus was also put on opportunities for new revenue streams, customer centricity 2.0, and other very important considerations and takeaways for practice and especially for banks. Frankly speaking, it’s all about solving bank and customer problems!
OpenBankingProject.ch (OBP) had the chance to represent Switzerland with a presentation and the following Q&A. The speakers Simon Kauth (Finnova) and Fabian Lehner (BEI) showed insights in Switzerland’s open banking approach, in the initiative OpenBankingProject.ch and in the power of partnerships.
Fabian started with an impressive fact about Switzerland: 25% of the global wealth is managed by the banks of this comparatively small country, with 8,6 million residents. Because of the resulting great importance of the financial sector, the government does not want to force the banks to open up in terms of open banking. Nevertheless, the potential is recognized, and support is expressed with consideration in the financial market policy of Switzerland.
In Switzerland, there do not exist any rules for data sharing but a marked-based approach with fixed key thrusts. The Federal Department of Finance wants to see an industry-led standardization of data interfaces and a market, which is attractive for new players and has good conditions to enter the data-driven business. All these initiatives, which work together on open banking, have a certain purpose in common: adding value for the end customers. Fabian clarifies that to reach this the key lies in embedding the banking services into the value chain. A customer’s need is not to pay or finance something, a customer’s desire is to consume or buy a good or service. But the job has to be done! Therefore, the best case would be that the user does not even notice the interaction with the bank.
In the second part, Simon continued with a presentation of OpenBankingProject.ch. The main reason for building the initiative was the missing established standards in Switzerland. Therefore, one of the important aims is the development of a framework for API standards. Additionally, the community of OBP wants to make actors and activities more visible, spread the knowledge about open banking, and build a network of different organizations. To reach these goals, the values of being transparent, being international, following the open-source approach, and focusing on the end user’s perspective should always be respected.
Regarding the mentioned aims, Simon presented three achievements of the initiative:
In the third part, Simon focused on the partnership in open banking in Switzerland. Due to the “open room” in Switzerland the initiatives of the financial sector are very important to drive open banking. The contributors are composed of organizations for standardization, overarching organizations, the government, business agnostics, and business specific initiatives.
In December 2020, the relevant players of Switzerland came together to meet with the Federal Department of Finance to discuss about open banking. The responsibilities for the different parts and next steps were clarified and the government showed its care and involvement in open banking. The community of OpenBankingProject.ch is very motivated to take the next steps on the roadmap to continuously drive open banking.
The presentation was completed by a Q&A with exciting questions:
Do you think other countries could follow a similar approach, or is there something about Switzerland that makes it work?
Simon and Fabian are both convinced that other countries could follow this approach, and they even recommend it as the benefits have outweighed the critical aspects. However, the prerequisite for this is the cooperative will of the market participants and the support of the banks and the government.
How and why do you find it necessary to adopt standards specifically for Switzerland?
Fabian pointed out that it would not make sense to have hundreds of standards. The best case would be a worldwide standard to expand businesses and companies can connect to international banks. Nevertheless, it is important to notice that each country has its regulatory requirements and specifications that must be followed.
At OpenBankingProject.ch existing standards were adopted from the Berlin Group and customized to the Swiss requirements while keeping the adjustments to the minimum. This approach is also considered for other use cases.
You mentioned that you are also in contact with international organizations. Where can an international organization approach you?
The marked-based approach gives a great chance that one can be inspired and learn from the outside. Especially in these times, when the whole world is looking at open banking, the global exchange is important. OpenBankingProject.ch follows the open-source approach and is therefore always open to contact and cooperation with international organizations.
You talked about customer-centricity: How are the end customers involved in open banking in Switzerland and how is the demand for this kind of service?
The focus in open banking lies on providing the functionalities to the user in a secure way, even if there is no direct collaboration with the end customer at OpenBankingProject.ch. However, with the involvements of banks as members and partners of the initiative, insights into the end customer needs are provided. In addition, the OBP benefits from study results of the Business Engineering Institute St. Gallen (initiator OBP). For example, in the study Smart Citizen, a lot of information about the needs of the government and society are obtained.
To see the session of OpenBankingProject.ch we have included the link here. Please feel free to ask any questions.
Thank you, Open Future World, for this opportunity and the realization of this great event.