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“The UK can lead the world in banking, but big banks will have to let others in”

Gavin Starks is CEO of the Open Data Institute, which was co-founded in 2012 by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and AI expert Sir Nigel Shadbolt to address today’s global challenges using data

The Open Data Institute (ODI) welcomes the CMA’s report, launched today: ‘making banks work harder for you’.

The UK has the opportunity to lead the world in open innovation in banking, but the future of the sector, and the development of the best possible consumer services, will depend on the involvement of startups, fintech and consumer organisations, as well as the big banks, in order for this to happen.

Further, the creation of open APIs will lead to the development of a strong, open marketplace for app development: building on the Open Banking Standard will create the best market conditions for open innovation.

Open banking is a crucial part of building the UK’s data infrastructure: the fundamental data framework that will increase interoperability and collaboration, efficiency and productivity in public and private sectors, nationally and internationally.

Last week the ODI launched the Open Banking Development Group (OBDG), welcomed by the nine largest UK banks and the Scaleup Institute, to drive open innovation around an open banking standard, on a UK and international basis.

It is asking anyone or any organisation with an interest in the future of the banking sector to join the conversation.

The ‘remedies’ put forward in the CMA report draw directly on the work of the Open Banking Working Group (OBWG), set up in 2015 by the Treasury and co-chaired by the ODI.

In particular, the recommended API will use the Open Banking Standard framework developed by the OBWG, allowing the development of new customer facing apps and services, helping consumers to share data securely and make better decisions about the banking products they use, and how they interact with banks.

When securely shared or published openly using open APIs, data can be used to build apps and services which help people quickly find what they need. For example, customers can look for a mortgage more easily, banks can find customers matched to a new product, and businesses can share data with their accountants.

People will choose services that are better, cheaper and simpler than existing services.

Open banking also offers huge financial value for banks and fintech companies as they become more efficient in their interactions and, in turn, are able to offer customers what they need, when they need it.

Building trust, increasing efficiency and open innovation in the banking sector can only be achieved when the banks, startups, consumer groups, and regulators work to a common goal.