As We Recover The Banking Industry Seems To Be Warming Up To APIs

by Kin Lane, API Evangelist Twitter LinkedIn Github Email

I originally started writing this post after API Strategy & Practice in Amsterdam, where I had numerous conversations with banks, about the potential of APIs, and how banks might be starting to move from talk to action, when it comes to their API programs.

After recent talks with a couple more folks, behind the scenes at banks, I’m pretty convinced, as the enterprise are doing in other sectors, banks are slowly waking up to the potential of APIs—something that has taken a long time, as they slowly come out of their bank vaults, where they were hiding during the economic meltdown.

When you Google the phase "banking API", you see the signs that the space is ripe for disruption with APIs from two open banking pioneers:

  • The Open Bank Project - an open source API and App store for banks that empowers financial institutions to securely and rapidly enhance their digital offerings using an ecosystem of 3rd party applications and services
  • Plaid - The Modern API for Banking Data, allowing developers to programmatically interact with banks and credit cards

These players do not represent movement from the banking space itself, the conversation I’ve had with Visa, Mastercard, Capital One, Rabobank, and others I can’t even mention are notoriously closed about what they are doing, but these new open banking API platforms do represent the opportunity that exists in the space.

Until I see robust, open developer areas from Chase, HSBC, Citigroup, and other banking giants, I won’t declare APIs getting traction in the banking sector, but I think the ice is thawing, and I feel we are moving from just banks talking about APIs, to banks maybe, kinda sorta considering taking action when it comes to APIs.

Hopefully I will get to talk about more of my conversations in the future, until then I will just showcase what The Open Bank Project and Plaid are up to, hopefully through public, competitive, and regulatory pressure, banks will open up more—I have little faith that they will do it on their own, without a little nudging.