As technology and social media become more tightly integrated to the lives of everyday users, their needs and requirements rapidly evolve.Unfortunately, most banks have not been able to meet these demands especially when compared with what customers are used to in terms of social media apps, etc.
The rise of financial technologies is meant to ameliorate these problems by providing APIs and other technologies to allow innovative financial applications and services to be built. Nevertheless, because of the lack of standards and reference points, the implementations have been mostly misses than hits for banks and fintech.
A group of industry players came together to form Open Technology Foundation (OTF); the not-for-profit organization driving the development and adoption of Open Banking standards in Nigeria.
The primary objectives of the OTF are to:
The Open Technology Foundation is working with banks, seasoned individuals industry professionals and Fintechs to define an open and non-partisan set of Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to design the API standards.The design and review process has involved 8 commercial banks, OFIs and top Fintech players in the country. The OTF has scheduled the APIs to be released into Alpha by January 2018.
The second Payment Services Directive standards designed for the European Union is geared to go live by 2018. While the Open Banking Nigeria APIs are open and are designed to be a standard, they are not PSD2 APIs.
Security is a big concern for every financial institution, especially in Nigeria. Taking from experience of OTF members, security has been designed right into the API standards from the grounds up.