Imagine being able to secure loans with some of the lowest interest rates in the banking industry. Or conveniently transferring funds from one bank account to another, or perhaps, experiencing the best possible customer banking service around.
To get all these and other “perks”, most financial institutions would require one to become their preferred client. But in today’s digital technology and in the global banking industry, getting access to all these benefits is simply a matter of banking customers securely sharing their data with other financial institutions. This is the beauty of open banking.
Open banking enables financial services customers such as companies, entrepreneurs and ordinary depositors and borrowers, to have access to various products and services from competing banks and other financial institutions by allowing the latter to digitally and securely access their financial information. Customers can compare product offerings and avail of the best ones that suit their needs and fit their capabilities, thereby helping them earn more from bigger savings interest rates, avail of loans more easily, and pay more conveniently, towards managing and improving their finances.
With the concept of open banking, financial institutions such as banks—big and small—fintech companies, and other players, can share their respective clients’ data through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs). These APIs enable customers or the data subjects to share only data pertinent to the product or service they are looking to avail and not the account credentials.
The European Union (EU) initiated PSD2 (Revised Payment Service Directive) as an emerging Open Banking standard. This is a game-changer in the industry as banks’ monopoly on their customer account details will soon disappear. This required European banks to provide Open APIs which does not need additional customized developments. It reduces barriers to innovation and limits the big banks’ “walled gardens.” In fact, even the Philippines’ data privacy law was influenced by EU’s stringent data protection regulation, including the adoption of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
Open banking can enable banks and other financial institutions to have access to data that will enable them to process loan applications quicker or better advise their clients on their finances. This encourages banks to be more competitive, leading to more affordable products, faster services, better customer relations, and investing in digital technologies, to the benefit of customers.
This is what Rizal Commercial Banking Corporation (RCBC) hopes to spearhead in the industry as it recently became the first local bank to advocate and implement open banking, affirming its position as a digital trailblazer in the financial industry.
But more than encouraging competition among banks, RCBC aims to lead the way to open banking in the country to become the Filipinos’ prime financial inclusion partner.
“With open banking, we can power the transactions of rural banks, cooperatives, micro-financial institutions and other small players, giving their customers access to a wide array of financial services using RCBC Open APIs,” said Lito Villanueva, RCBC Chief Innovation and Inclusion Officer.
Already, RCBC has beefed up its open banking capabilities by establishing API partnerships with leading fintech companies; local payment networks PESONet and Instapay; and IBM Blockchain World Wire remittance.
Through open banking, RCBC aims to serve the global financial services needs of more than 30 million customers of fintechs, rural banks, cooperatives, and micro-financial institutions all over the country.