By Malaika Ademola-Majekodunmi
The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) recently approved the operational guidelines for open banking, signaling an exciting time for our country’s financial industry. Open banking is a collaborative and innovative approach to financial services that will provide customers with more control over their financial data and enable fintechs and banks to create more innovative products and services.
With this at hand the banks, financial service providers and customers all win.
Underpinning every open banking regime is an API standard. Open banking in Nigeria is not different. Which is why Open Technology Foundation (Open Banking Nigeria) has played a key role in designing and drafting the contents of the API standard in this guideline. The Foundation has been working tirelessly with key stakeholders to ensure that this new framework becomes a reality.
With the release of the operational guideline, the natural question is what’s next and when do things start happening? Yvonne-Faith Elaigwu, a trustee at OBN, provides some perspective on the next steps following the approval of the operational guidelines in our recent blog post. API consumers and providers are already asking valid questions about what this means for the industry and the various players involved. Other partners of the Foundation, like Mono, clearly break down what each component of the guideline means, to help the average Joe make sense of what is to come.
The standard that the CBN has released is robust and can compare with similar standards from other jurisdictions. However, the CBN has left some gaps for the industry to fill. These gaps are important and without them being addressed, open banking in Nigeria would be a fiasco.
OBN is providing guidance for these pieces and have been working on finalizing the API documentation, among other initiatives. And we have completed the API specifications required for the implementation of the CBN regulations for open banking in Nigeria.
This updated API documentation serves as a guide for the implementation of open banking APIs and is open to the industry for review.
The open banking framework is expected to drive competition, increase innovation, and enhance financial inclusion in Nigeria. The API standard is a critical component of this framework, as it enables different banks and financial institutions to share data and offer new products and services seamlessly. The API standard will help to create a level playing field for all players, both big and small, by providing a secure and standardized way to share data.
Open Banking Nigeria is inviting the industry to review the proposed API standard that will drive open banking in Nigeria. This exercise is a crucial step in ensuring that the API documentation is clear, concise, and user-friendly. The Foundation encourages companies to approach this exercise as if they were implementing open banking, and the API they are reviewing is what their counterparty has provided.
The Foundation is eagerly awaiting feedback and invites interested parties to send their thoughts to [email protected]. The feedback received will be used to refine and improve the API documentation before it is finalized and pushed forward for further development with the core stakeholders driving the regulation and implementation of open banking in Nigeria.
The approval of the operational guidelines for open banking in Nigeria is a significant milestone for the country’s financial industry. OBN is proud to have played a pivotal role in this achievement and is committed to ensuring that this new framework is successfully implemented. The Foundation is urging industry players to review the proposed API standard and provide feedback to ensure that the final API documentation is of the highest quality. With open banking, Nigeria is well-positioned to become a leader in financial innovation and inclusion.