B2B Payments

Hong Kong Eyes New Phase of Open API Project

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority is set to launch the second phase of its Open API project. Separately, digital banking in Europe eyes corporate clients, and cloud banking gets an FI adherent.  

Open banking continues to make progress, as the Hong Kong Monetary Authority said this past week that phase two of its framework, out of four, is set to launch.

Financefeeds reported that the HKMA, in its latest update to implementation of the Open Application Programming Interface (API) Framework for the banking sector, which dates back to July 2018, is readying for the second phase, known as Customer acquisition.

In Phase I, 20 banks made 500 APIs available spanning mobile and website-based services tied to loans and FX data. This time around, according to the site, the banks will commence the second phase by October of this year, and there already exists collaboration between banks and FinTechs for the exchange of data and various financial services functions.

As reported earlier this year, Hong Kong regulators awarded three digital banking licenses. The first license, as reported, went to Livi VB, a joint venture between the Bank of China (Hong Kong), JD Digits and Jardines. The second license went to SC Digital Solutions, a company that includes Standard Chartered, HKT, PCCW and Ctrip Financial, and the third was given to ZhongAn Virtual Finance, which includes ZhongAn Online and Sinolink.

In a statement this week, Howard Lee, Deputy Chief Executive of the HKMA, said, “We are pleased to see the encouraging progress of banking Open APIs in the past year. As we move on to the next phase, with more sensitive data and complex functions covered, it is even more important to ensure security and safeguard customer interests. What the HKMA now sets for Phase III and IV will lay a solid foundation for further opening up of banking data and functions in a prudent manner while balancing the industry needs for API development.”

Corporate Banking, Done Digitally

Separately, say the words “digital banking” and you might be forgiven for your mind’s eye summoning millennials checking their account balances over smartphones.

The lion’s share of headlines may be centered on transforming the bank branch visit, but there are some FinTechs, funding and FIs eyeing providing digital banking services to corporate clients, and in some cases, are collaborating through joint efforts or funding.

In one example from Europe, Penta, which focuses on bank accounts for smaller firms, has gotten more than $8.9 million in new funding led by Holtzbrinck Ventures, says TechCrunch. According to reports, the FinTech expects to broaden its customer base and strengthen its partnerships.

And a bit closer to home, in a bit of FinTech and FI collaboration, WRAL reports that Columbia Bank, which has $7 billion in assets, has chosen cloud banking software company nCino to help streamline and digitize end to end processes. The company has deployed the nCino Bank Operating System, and per a statement by Thomas J. Kemly, Columbia Bank’s president and CEO, “we are in an industry where your competition is no longer just the bank down the street, but rather technology and analytic-driven entities.”

In India, Too

In India, Payoneer, focused on global cross border B2B digital payments, said it partnered with PayTabs.

As noted last week. ports in The Hindu Business Line the companies are collaborating on a solution for B2B vendors selling on proprietary websites. That model differs from selling across rather than large online marketplaces and Payoneer and PayTabs are collaborating on integrating payment gateways and the ability to receive funds even when making cross border sales

The solution is currently in beta phase, reports noted.

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