For FinTech And FIs, APIs Everywhere (It Seems)

Teamwork is the name of the game when it comes to open banking.  Traditional FIs are joining with FinTech outfits to bring faster payments to the masses.  Amid the marquee names in banking combining efforts with tech-savvy upstarts: Deutsche Bank and Fifth Third.

Payments are getting ever faster and global in nature. Real-time payments are becoming part of the landscape. PSD2 is reality and open banking is fostering demand for open APIs.

To that end, collaborative efforts between banks and FinTechs are on the rise, where joint programs seek to hasten the availability of technology that dovetails with open banking.

Deutsche Bank is moving ahead with its API efforts, and has put out “a call for 100 enterprises” to aid in those efforts. The company has invited FinTechs and other entities, including “established players,” to work with Deutsche. Partners will be able to develop solutions in pilot programs and can then use the dbAPI for free for as long as six months.

In a statement, Joris Hensen, who serves as Deutsche Bank’s co-head of the company’s API program, said that “We want to have the broadest possible range of applications linked to our API that also go beyond traditional finance services. The more dialogue between us and our partners, the more appropriate solutions we can develop.”

The latest news comes on the heels of last month’s announcement that Deutsche has bought a Mumbai-based startup, Quantiguous Solutions, to help build an open banking platform – itself a deal that adds to the global API program.

Separately, as American Banker reported, Fifth Third has formed a strategic partnership with Intellect Global Transaction Banking, itself a unit of Intellect Design Arena, with the initiative to develop digital projects. The pairing gives a nod to some of the services offered by the latter, including predictive analytics. The report said that Fifth Third has been ramping up technology investments, with recent efforts aimed at controlling some of those costs. The bank has also brought in outside consultants to improve efficiencies.

Finastra said this week at Money20/20 Europe that it is making the trio of core components tied to its platform available for open innovation, eyeing the drive to open banking. The announcement is geared toward the company’s 9,000 bank and FI clients, as per an announcement Wednesday.

In reference to the components, the company said that FusionCreator lets FinTechs program applications through APIs, with application development time shortened to weeks where it once took months, as spotlighted by the firm in its announcement. FusionOperate, as the name implies, offers a management system to deploy and operate the applications via cloud infrastructure. FusionStore offers an online marketplace for trying and buying applications.

The company said that the initial API focus is on payments and retail banking, in order to satisfy the immediate needs of PSD2. Finastra also said that research from Celent shows that roughly 40 percent of banks have been investigating platforms, or are using them outright.

Separately, ING said it is boosting its presence into online marketplaces, linking with Funding Options in the Netherlands and FinCompare in Germany.

According to the company’s announcement, the partnerships will create platforms that allow for the comparison of finance products, including those focused on asset and invoice finance, spanning ING and other providers. ING is also planning an innovation hub that will be based in Amsterdam and will cater to FinTech.

In other partnership news, IOTA said it is joining with DNB, Norway’s largest financial services firm. The pairing in Norway, said the firms at the end of last month, will explore options made possible by the former’s “Tangle.” The companies are looking at distributed ledger technology. DNB has said that such offerings may prove useful amid the continued emergence of the Internet of Things, machine-to-machine communications and payments for microservices.