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Banking APIs: shapes, colors, and focus

Xignite

Article by Efi Pylarinou

daily fintechIs an Open API much like an 24/7 Open house? Maybe it is in some ways but it can also be gated. I actually like to think of Open APIs, as Private, Open for Distribution, Open for Business.

Pardon my thinking in progress as I watch and monitor the versioning, pivoting, and roles of APIs. It is actually in many ways, similar to the versioning we have been witnessing with Blockchains (private or not, immutable or not, etc).

Private APIs

Private APIs are by invitation only. Think of linking to a Bank’s functionalities such as basic account data, or payment initiation. Private APIs are being used by banks in B2B experiments, and less for running their businesses. Hackathons, accelerators, and bank sponsored developer portals, are such examples. A very recent example of such private API, is the dbAPI, Deutsche bank’s API which “opened” up on Nov.1. The first hackathon (open house but gated party) in Berlin was three-day competition with 750 applicants and 70 participants from 22 countries. More details on the winners which show the kind of Fintech ideas incubated, in Deutsche Bank opens its data store to external software developers. Another example also launched this month is the “opening up” of APIs from the Mastercard Labs, that will allow experiments with the private Mastercard blockchain. More details about that private party in Mastercard Wants Developers To Experiment With Blockchain.

I have to also refer to Capital One’s US Open banking platform, because it is on the programmable web and offers 3 open APIs, but is actually for developer experimentation (see DevExchange: An Open Banking Developer Platform).

From Asia I mention the recent Open Bank Project & JB Financial Group Launch Global FinTech Hackathon in South Korea, another hackathon via APIs from the Korean market. I will stop with these three examples and suggest checking out the Let’s build a list of Banking APIsconversation on the Fintech Genome, for more.

An example of a private API actually used in business is by BNY Mellon, the custodian of $30 trillion of assets! Private APIs are used in the daily reconciliation service they offer to their pension fund clients who invest in 200 different asset managers. This daily function has been transformed from one in which files were exchanged to one that is delivered through APIs.

For distribution

Open APIs for access to a bank’s distribution channels, is the second category. Banks have been distributing third party products in old-fashioned ways, through their own distribution channels for a long time. Traditional examples, range from offering funds of other institutions as investment options to clients, to payment services of cards or telco providers.

Xignite’s U.S. Mutual Funds and ETF Fundamental Data API is an example of such API, acting as a connector.

However, banks have been owning the customer and running their businesses like a fortress. They have been witnessing the growth of businesses like Paypal and Klarna (the alternative payment providers, the free-floating credit card alternatives) who are acting as distributors in the payment industry.

Within PSD2, the European regulatory enabler, banks can become third party providers themselves. They can tap into other banks and offer them initiation of payments or account aggregation. Such services would be especially valuable for mobile citizens and cross-border transactions. Open APIs for distribution of 3rd party products or for playing the role of a 3rd party provider, is an area of growth in which banks haven’t been proactive.

In Singapore, MAS is inviting banks to list their APIs on a regular basis and is also is developing itself APIs that will be used for regulatory reporting purposes to simplify the process.

For now, it is mostly Fintechs that are using the API technology and getting ready for the PSD2 or any other type of standard that gains market-wide traction (for America and Asia). OpenF2 is an initiative that aims to standardize the framework necessary for creating value via the API technology.

An example is the Australian Fintech, Simply Wall St. (visuals and infographics for fundamental stock analysis) who has built its API in a compliant way with Open F2.

For Business

Imagine a platform that facilitates others to engage in business. This a platform (as a business model) that allows peer-to-peer business transactions. This would be a true Banking Platform. An entity that does have a banking license but doesn’t have to create the financial products and doesn’t have to own the customer (i.e. access to the distribution channel) This true Banking platform facilitates third parties and their customers to do business (without using the bank’s balance sheet).

This is the kind of business that Fidor Bank or Solaris Bank, are building. This is the kind of business that Ipagoo is creating by offering a special international current account. This allows clients (individuals or businesses) to obtain a credit card from any European country of choice, a loan from any bank etc. See details of the comparison of Ipagoo vs. traditional banks.

Open APIs are the connectors of all these modular businesses. Kontomatik is a 3rd party provider in this space, that could enable for example, banks to improve credit scoring of prospect borrowers by accessing customer related data via other bank APIs. Kontomatik is part of the Kreditech group that is focused on serving the underbanked, by leveraging alternative data with machine learning (more in Kreditech and the next generation of Consumer Banking).

For now, banks are either not opening up such APIs (not being proactive ahead of PSD2) or offering low quality APIs (i.e. connectors that have bugs and are not well maintained). The adaptation of these connectors, APIs, especially in the “For business” role is nascent.

Source: Daily Fintech

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Xignite, Inc., a provider of market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, today revealed the results of its collaboration with StockCharts, a leading technical analysis and financial charting platform for online retail investors. The collaboration involved a move from an on-premise market data provider to Xignite’s cloud-native technology hosted in Amazon Web Services (AWS). Download the case study containing the full results.

StockCharts requires vast quantities of financial data to power its visualization, charting and tracking tools, which investors use to analyze the markets to help with investment decisions. The company was frustrated by the limits of its on-premise market data center, which was forcing the team to make architectural decisions based on what its data center could handle in terms of speed and storage, not on their technology. Its previous market data provider was just starting to build out some cloud offerings, but they were far away from what the business required. StockCharts decided to migrate its infrastructure to the AWS cloud and partner with Xignite to gain access to endlessly scalable market and financial data delivered through innovative cloud APIs.

The collaboration made an immediate impact as StockCharts was able to expand its offerings and customer base by pursuing growth strategies enabled by Xignite’s cloud-based approach, which provides easy access to data and eliminates architectural limits on storage and speed.

The pandemic provided further validation. Seattle-based StockCharts was in one of the first areas hit by COVID-19 and was forced to quickly shut down its office. Pandemic-driven market volatility followed and StockCharts customers wanted to visualize what was happening. The company’s ability to scale quickly and accommodate a high volume of new requests would not have been possible without Xignite.

“The move to the AWS cloud and Xignite has unlocked tremendous new potential for us in a lot of architectural ways, and has given us a lot of data options that we could not even consider before,” said Grayson Roze, Vice President of Operations at StockCharts. “It relieved us of the burden of figuring out how to source things. Instead, we know exactly where we need to go to get the data and can access it instantly. That is a huge, huge benefit for our business.”

“We are proud to have played a role in transforming how StockCharts approaches data,” said Stephane Dubois, CEO and Founder of Xignite. “The events of this year unleashed a massive spike in retail trading and a host of other unexpected forces that reinforced the need for financial services firms to leverage the cloud. Despite the disruption of this year, StockCharts was positioned for success, and we look forward to continuing to deliver our financial and market data solutions to the industry at large.”

Xignite

Xignite has been disrupting the financial and market data industry from its Silicon Valley headquarters since 2006 when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has been continually refining its technology to help fintech and financial institutions get the most value from their data. Today, more than 700 clients access over 500 cloud-native APIs and leverage a suite of specialized microservices-delivered modules to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit http://www.xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite

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Xignite, Inc., a provider of cloud-based market data distribution and management solutions for financial services and technology companies, today announced that its Market Data Management-as-a-Service solution has been named “Best New Technology Introduced over the last 12 months – Infrastructure” at the 2020 WatersTechnology American Financial Technology Awards (AFTAs). Selected by the editors of WatersTechnology, the AFTAs recognize excellence in the deployment and management of financial technology within the asset management and investment banking communities.

Xignite’s Market Data Management-as-a-Service (MDMaaS) solution enables buy- and sell-side firms to centralize the management of vendor data feeds into their own cloud environment. The solution is built around the cloud microservice-based architecture and technology stack Xignite has been refining and scaling for more than 10 years. Xignite’s technology platform has been the backbone of the company’s Data-as-a-Service business, daily supporting 12 billion API requests of financial data for their 700 fintech and financial services clients. Now Xignite is leveraging this battle-tested cloud-native data management architecture to offer buy- and sell-side firms a market data vendor agnostic offering, with connectors available for firms to load data they license from Bloomberg, Refinitiv, ICE and numerous other providers.

The MDMaaS solution includes a suite of loosely-coupled modules that enable market data user firms to control their data usage, automate entitlements, optimize their data spend and minimize liabilities by simplifying data governance and ensuring regulatory compliance.

The functionality is delivered via microservices, an architectural approach in which core functionality is handled by loosely coupled, independently deployable modules that can work together or separately. Microservices architecture stands in stark contrast with monolithic platforms that require expensive on-premise technology – that is especially hard to maintain in the context of a pandemic.

The MDMaaS microservice-delivered modules introduced in 2020 include:

Xignite Entitlements and Usage - Manage the entitlement of vendor data to users and applications to ensure compliance and eliminate excess spend.

Xignite Optimization - Streamline data consumption to avoid duplicated vendor requests, leverage cached bulk data and get recommendations to reduce data costs.

Xignite Data Lake - Centralize, catalog and connect data shapes to enable frictionless integration by consumers via unified cloud APIs.

Xignite Reference - Aggregate, normalize, store and index vendor reference data to centralize enterprise-wide access.

Xignite Historical - Provide centralized access to normalized, stitched and adjusted historical data via cloud APIs.

Xignite Real-Time - Distribute real-time vendor data via cloud APIs, eliminating on-premise infrastructure.

Xignite Fundamentals - Make simple and complex time-series data structures available via cloud APIs.

“Xignite has pioneered market data in the cloud for more than 10 years now, so we are very excited to announce – and be recognized for – our Market Data Management-as-a-Service solution,” said Stephane Dubois, CEO, and founder of Xignite. “The pandemic has reinforced the need for financial services firms to migrate to the cloud as a means of navigating disruption and enabling scalability, among other benefits. We are proud to spearhead that effort and help the industry modernize its approach to financial and market data.”

About Xignite

Xignite has been disrupting the financial and market data industry from its Silicon Valley headquarters since 2006 when it introduced the first commercial REST API. Since then, Xignite has been continually refining its technology to help fintech and financial institutions get the most value from their data via its Data-as-a-Service and Market Data Management-as-a-Service solutions. Today, more than 700 clients access over 500 cloud-native APIs and leverage a suite of specialized microservices to build efficient and cost-effective enterprise data management solutions. Visit http://www.xignite.com or follow on Twitter @xignite

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