Sibos 2019: Banking experts on how APIs improve efficiency
APIs enable frictionless interactions across a variety of platforms, and the connective capability helps cut costs and improve efficiency for financial services, writes Alara Basul.
If you put experts from Bank of America Merrill Lynch, BNP Paribas, ClearBank and Lloyds in one room, chances are the topic of APIs will be brought up. In a panel discussion focused on APIs creating thriving ecosystems at Sibos London, experts from these businesses discussed how to use APIs to build new products and improve operational efficiency.
“Uber and WhatsApp are a great example of real-time, valuable APIs that solve consumer needs. The payments industry needs to work in the exact same way,” says Andrew Smith from ClearBank.
Discussing how APIs drive value services for banks, Paud O’Keefe from BNP Paribas Securities Services points out two main reasons: efficiency and cost as the driver from a business perspective, and openness and visibility of data as the enabler from a client perspective. “Every business should be investing heavily in automation and machine learning, especially if you’re bank. And then there’s APIs – if you don’t use them, you’re not at the table.”
Andrea Melville from Lloyds agrees: “APIs are the backbone that helps us deliver a frictionless service. We also look at how to improve our internal systems to efficiently interact between one platform and another.”
According to Melville, APIs helps Lloyds make its business offering “friction-free”, and enables clients to work smarter, simpler and faster. “The question is what we don’t do with APIs,” says Andrew Smith from payments startup ClearBank. “It’s at the root of everything we do. If you want a real digital experience you’ve got to use APIs.”
Whether a business operates in technology, banking or payments, business have similar pain points when it comes to driving value from APIs. “Improving API tagging and outlining is one issue – moving data from an unstructured platform to a structured one is another,” says Tom Durkin from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
“It’s important to be on the right side of security and regulation in order to provide rich insights for customers. Legacy infrastructure is a hurdle we need to overcome,” says Andrea. “Clients interact through different products and channels. Take Netflix for example – it’s not about the channel used, i.e. mobile or laptop, it’s the content that matters.”
“The same goes with financial services,” adds Andrew. “Ensuring we have the right products and services is the golden opportunity.”