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Sibos 2019: Commercial banks look to adopt more retail APIs

Vinay Prabhakar, Volante

Vinay Prabhakar, VP product marketing at Volante Technologies

Commercial and retail banks are seeing a growing convergence as businesses are demanding the same technologies they see as private consumers, according to Volante Technologies.

In an interview with IBS Intelligence at Sibos 2019, Volante’s Vinay Prabhakar, VP product marketing, said the growing interest in “cool” APIs is a growing trend across banks and ecosystems.

He said banks talk to Volante about commercial payments but often end up asking about a number of aspects related to retail payments. “Open banking ultimately applies to all participants, it applies to consumers, SMEs, corporations, and they are all going to be using many of the same APIs.”

Peter McKenna, global marketing director at Volante, noted that another factor is that in a business-to-consumer world, a lot of people work ordinary jobs, outside of finance.

“But a lot of them actually work for the city, for banks, they work in financial institutions. What happens is that these people work for corporates, and those corporates push the banks to give them the same cool technologies they get when they go to retail,” he said.

Prabhakar added: “They see that they can walk into Tesco or Starbucks and wave the magic wand of a phone and make a payment.

“They then go into the corporate treasury world and see they have these old systems – it takes three days to send money to Japan. And when the Japanese partner receives it, they don’t know exactly what the payment is for and they have look at their bank statement. It’s very old fashioned.”

The Volante VP said that one of the key reasons behind this is the shift in demographics, and that the new generations, millennials and near-millennials in particular, want payments to be done in a different way. “And that’s good for all of us.”

“This is pushing all the way through,” McKenna said. “You got this bleeding from the B2C world into the B2B world. They say ‘I want this cool stuff. I know we have a business relationship, it’s about payroll, it’s about import/export bills in Japan, but I need it to be really cool. I expect to see you serve me like I’m served by some really cool retail outlet’.”

Volante recently announced the launch financial message validation on the cloud, creating the first of its kind to provide API-based access to validate SWIFT messages, without the need for in-house configuration and deployment.

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