Simon Bleher (BEI) opened the event by welcoming the new member KYC Spider, which is already actively supporting the "Customer Onboarding & KYC" workshop series. Simon then gave an overview of the current activities within the OpenBankingProject.ch. These include the ongoing update and submission of the Swiss NextGen API for recognition by the Berlin Group, the cooperation between OBP and the newly founded association SOWA (Swiss Open Wealth Association) and the integration of Contovista at BEKB via Swiss NextGen API.
Samuel Stucki (BEKB) and Attila Fekete (SwissSign) then introduced the "Customer Onboarding & KYC" workshop series, which has the vision of providing standardised building blocks (e.g. API) for cross-company cooperation along the life cycle of bank customers. For half a year, around 40 participants from 30 different companies (including 10 banks) have been working on the first work package "Identification and collection of basic data from private customers". In the future, various use cases are targeted, such as simplified onboarding at banks, Age-Check as a Service or a simplified login in e-commerce. The basis for these use cases could be a harmonised trust network among market participants. The design and development of such a trust network will now be discussed in four in-depth workshops until the end of March (more on this here).
Sven Biellmann (Finnova) explained the pre-project "Open Banking Network", which pursues the vision "Efficient and sustainable connection of TPPs and banks". Basically, the implementation of Open Banking can be divided into three variants: Decentralised (peer-to-peer; e.g. Deutsche Bank, HBL), hybrid (e.g. PSD2, Open Banking UK) and centralised (central hub/platform; e.g. b.Link).
The project group chose the hybrid approach as a hypothesis for developing results in the context of the above-mentioned vision. The hybrid approach centralises only what is necessary (e.g. governance and compliance), thus creating no man-in-the-middle and the data exchange is decentralised. As further hypotheses, the project group chose the Swiss NextGen API as technological basis for the data exchange and that the connection of Cloud ERP to banks should be prioritised as first use case.
In the second part, two partners and two members had the opportunity to present their motivation and current activities in the context of Open Banking in order to show possible collaboration potential and points of contact for other partner and member of the OpenBankingProject.ch.
Partner Finstar – Patrick Vogt (CPO)
Hypothekarbank Lenzburg has already taken several steps in the context of Open Banking in recent years and is considered a pioneer in Switzerland. Through its open banking efforts, HBL has been able to build an entire ecosystem around its bank and its in-house core banking system Finstar. Among other things, several fintechs use Finstar's onboarding solution, which can be integrated via API in the sense of Open Banking. Finstar's digital onboarding solution is core banking agnostic, has already been able to complete nearly 100,000 private customer onboardings and currently handles over 1,000 onboardings per day. Through functionalities such as the automatic reading of data during the ID scan and the integration of the Post's address verification service, the solution offers a very customer-friendly onboarding that is also efficient for the involved companies. Neon uses the so-called headless variant and has fully integrated the functionalities into its own app via API. Findependent, on the other hand, uses the "Whitelabeld Frontend" variant, which runs in Finstar's frontend and has been customised with the corresponding logo and CI elements. The latter variant is characterised by a shorter time-to-market and lower costs, but sacrifices have to be made in terms of flexibility.
Member Finform – José Romero (Service Manager & Head of Legal)
Finform's goal is to increase interest in business process outsourcing in regards to compliance services in Switzerland. For the sake of aligning processes in the overall market as efficiently and harmonised as possible, standardisation and thus Open Banking play an essential role. As regards to the onboarding of private clients in banking, Finform is convinced that both standardisation and automation will become increasingly important. However, there are currently no standards for KYC processes and the efforts required for integration are relatively high. The present endeavours within the scope of the workshop series "Customer Onboarding & KYC", and more specifically in relation to the establishing of a cross-company trust network, could result in an array of potentially massive efficiency advantages. Since Finform’s solution already covers private customers, business customers will also be covered soon. José ends his contribution with Finform’s vision of their "KYC Utility", in which a completely new customer experience is created through the exchange of KYC data and the sharing of infrastructure. All KYC-related activities (updating, monitoring, change of circumstances) would be performed on behalf of the client and communicated to the relevant financial institution in line with the business case.
Partner Ergon – Adrian Berger (MD Finance & Telecom Solutions, Member of the Executive Board)
Adrian describes a current emerging trend from the consumer's point of view as "instantification". By this he means that consumers nowadays want to satisfy their needs as simply as possible, from anywhere, around the clock and most important: immediately. This trend is currently reflected in many industries. Ergon wants to support its customers so that they can meet the needs of their consumers in the best possible way, offer them a good experience and, above all, respond quickly to their desires. In Adrian's eyes, open banking is currently an important trend in the financial industry. The unravelling of the value chain and the collaboration between banks and fintechs to cover needs that go beyond the actual banking services play a crucial role. A global spread and adaptation are currently taking place and buzzwords such as "digital" and "24/7" are becoming the new normality as well as enablers for services that optimally meet consumer’s needs. Furthermore, Ergon offers a ready-to-use solution for open banking in Switzerland that meets the Swiss NextGen API standard and NextGenPSD2 as well as the highest security requirements. Ergon's Swiss open banking solution is a central part of Finnova's 'Open Banking as a Service' offering.
Member BCF – François Briguet (Project Management Office, Mitglied der Generaldirektion)
According to François Briguet, the banks are currently in a field of tension between customers, fintechs, regulators and other companies and Open banking is changing the traditional business model of banks. Customers want their user experience to be as simple and convenient as possible, but values such as "trust" and "security" remain unchanged. This poses various challenges for banks. Banks want to accompany and support their customers throughout the entire life cycle. The opening of the bank via APIs in the sense of the customer plays an important role here. For François, open banking also offers many opportunities, including the creation of new business models, more individualised customer satisfaction and the simplification of processes. François emphasises the importance of getting to know Open Banking and not being a passive spectator but an active participant in the changes. In this way, Open Banking can be used as an opportunity and not as a threat.
Panel discussion - Influence of open, international standards on business models in Switzerland - when is open banking worthwhile?
Thomas Zerndt (BEI St. Gallen) moderated the panel consisting of Patrick Vogt (Finstar), Adrian Berger (Ergon) and François Briguet (BCF). Patrick Vogt first explained the importance of Open Banking for Hypothekarbank Lenzburg (HBL). A few years ago, HBL made a conscious decision to move forward in the context of Open Banking. They are convinced that open banking will become part of everyday life in the coming years and that banks will have to adopt the trend in order to survive. When HBL started with API definitions in 2017, there were no internationally recognised standards, but they are now gradually bringing the API closer to international standards. Today, however, their APIs cover numerous needs that could not yet be covered by a standard API according to PSD2. The panellists further discussed that banks should not avoid costs in the context of Open Banking and the necessary IT infrastructures. The basic IT know-how can be outsourced, but the competent handling of the enormous amounts of data, the definition of a solid strategy and efficient processes within the bank remain important tasks of banks themselves. The panellists agreed that Open Banking is currently still developing rather hesitantly in Switzerland. It would be great if more banks would take HBL as an example and boldly move forward and step out of their comfort zone. This is the only way to ultimately generate the necessary momentum to drive open banking forward in the long term. Innovative and progressive Swiss banking also protects the Swiss financial centre from foreign competitors and thus prevents a potential loss of market share.
The 3rd members' event was concluded with an outlook by Thomas Zerndt (BEI St. Gallen). The planned key areas for 2022 are the workshop series "Customer Onboarding & KYC" and the pre-project "Open Banking Network". In addition, further use cases in the areas of payments, investments and financing should be structured and implemented. The Swiss NextGen API will continue to be updated and maintained and we are happy to support the launch of multilateral/bilateral implementation projects with the Swiss NextGen API as a technological base. In addition, OBP would like to seek convergence with other initiatives in the utilisation of standards, win new partners and members from the financial sector and beyond, further promote the development of knowledge on the topic of Open Banking and finally, network the companies at the member events, in the community workshops and at the Open Banking Summit. Thomas concluded his contribution and the 3rd members' event with a sincere thank you to all members and partners! We look forward to picking up speed with you in 2022 and taking Open Banking forward in Switzerland!
We would like to thank all participants and speakers for this successful event and are already excited about the next members' event on 26 January 2022.