BBVA: open banking pioneer

BBVA: open banking pioneer
BBVA: open banking pioneer


Open banking is transforming the way we understand finance. This revolution is opening the door to a world of collaboration and opportunities, generating value for customers and new business models. "Open banking is going to improve people's lives. Their digital lives as well as those that are not so digital," Ricardo Segoviano, Head of BBVA API Market, recently explained.

The key, he affirmed recently in the Open Banking Bilbao conference, is in putting the user in the center to create incredible digital experiences. And collaboration is a fundamental tool to do this. “What open banking and other open platforms allow is that opportunity to collaborate between companies, fintech, banks… to take advantage of data, innovation and our experience to offer better solutions”, insisted the Head of BBVA API Market.

The experience of the BBVA API platform

Open banking seeks to make life easier for people through an accessible digital experience. “By maximizing the data, value and opportunities that we give to our customers, we can create simple, creative and innovative solutions“, Segoviano insisted. Solutions that range from customer onboarding, to incorporating new paid media or market intelligence to make the best decisions about a business.

BBVA’s commitment to open banking makes it a pioneer in the industry and it already has 10 APIs available in Spain, as well as another six in beta in Mexico and USA.

Several interesting conclusions can be drawn from the experience of the BBVA API catalog, stated Segoviano. For example, that “open banking does not only include APIs” and attention must be paid “to the ‘developer UX’, compliance and legal issues, processes and sandboxes, among other things”. In addition, he said, carrying out this transformation “requires a change of philosophy in companies that cannot be done without top management support”.

The BBVA API platform stands out internationally as one of the pioneers in the sector, noted Imran Gulamhuseinwala, UK open banking implementation counselor, in Bilbao: “I think a large part of this activity undertaken in Spain has inspired what we have done in the United Kingdom in the field of open banking.”

A land in which London is now taking the lead, creating an entity to structure the development of open banking around APIs. As a result, following the entry into force of the European PSD2, the initial implementation of industry standards took place on January 13.

The goal is that “by March 2019, any of the nine large banks in the UK that decides to implement all PSD2 solutions can do so using open banking standards,” stated Gulamhuseinwala.

An ‘APIfication’ beyond banking

In Spain, Bizum is also a good example of collaboration between banks in the context of the new European payments directive. This real-time payment service, through cell phones and from account to account, groups banks that cover 96% of the Spanish market, detailed its CEO, Ángel Nigorra, in Open Banking Bilbao.

The app already has 1.6 million users, it plans to reach 2.5 million by the end of the year and its vocation is “to become a complete payment service”. Among its next challenges is to make the leap to e-commerce and open up to third parties, Nigorra said.

Because the evolution of the collaboration model points to an “APIfication” beyond banking, where the platforms include third parties such as a large retailer or a fintech. “Platform-based business models”, explained Meritxell Galbas, IBM expert in Cognitive Industry Solutions, Banking and Financial Services, make it possible “to identify digital niche markets and new businesses”, and fully enter the digital disruption to “change the economic models we have known up until now.”

The objective is to connect: sellers with buyers, suppliers with users, etc. In this model, Galbas insists, “the ability to attract people to your platform, matching and above all making the experience easy” are essential.

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