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UK banks face 'existential' challenge with introduction of Open Banking rules, but there are opportunities too

Matthew Finnegan | March 29, 2017
Open Banking and PSD2 regulations is both a threat and opportunity for retail banks.

However, as Johnson says, this does not necessarily mean doom and gloom for the incumbents, provided they embrace the changing status quo. And there are indications that banks are increasingly open to the possibilities of data-sharing.

According to Temenos' annual TCF report, which surveyed 235 senior banking execs, 69 percent of respondents see open banking as an opportunity rather than a threat. This is compared to 52 percent the previous year. At the same time, 38 percent are happy to support third party providers on their own banking platforms, which while still relatively low is higher than the previous year (29 percent).

According to V.S. Raj, Head of Financial Services at outsourcing firm Syntel, large banking institutions face the same challenge that telcos have been grappling with since they were forced to open up their own networks.

"The big question now is how big banks can pivot from merely being a conduit for customer data to becoming a challenger to the innovative fintech companies looking to chip away at their customer base," said Raj in an emailed statement.

Although there is scepticism from the industry - such as around security implications - it is clear that the big banks are preparing the address the changes that Open Banking and PSD2 will bring. At a recent roundtable event in London, Kevin Hanley, director of design and services at RBS said that the bank wants to position itself as "the bank of APIs".

"You see the disaggregation of banking services, the disintermediation of banking services, banking becoming more unbundled, more modular," he said.

"We are moving from an era of physical banking to a connected bank of digital services. This starts to re-frame banking and our role in it as much more of a composite where we both provide services and link to other services. So we become a platform for our customers to navigate around."

Ultimately it will be those that embrace the changes which benefit most, opening up to the ability to innovate at a greater pace. As the TechMarketView report states, "there is a bright future for those that can shift from the historic 'prison' paradigm ('people can't go anywhere else') to become more of a 'hotel' ('people choose to come here because we give a great service')."


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