Category Archives: Digital, NEO and Open Banking

Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?

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Sifted | Isabel Woodford | Jul 22, 2020

open banking US vs UK and Europe - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?

It's been a slow journey to get UK customers meaningful control of their bank data. Is the next phase of "open finance" the answer?

It’s a noble task to want to help users control, access and utilise their financial data better. The problem is, users aren’t convinced they want a third-party poking their nose into their data, or if it’s really of much use to them.

Here are their top four top takeaways about what it will take for open banking to take off, and why open finance is an important next step.

1) Success relies on building awareness

The panellists agreed that one key obstacle to open banking so far has been a trust-gap; fuelled by poor communication around user-benefits.

See:  3 examples of what open finance can do right now

Roisin Levine referenced research that still shows “very, very low percentages” of people say they’re willing to share their data in exchange for “more personalised services.” She said these vague concepts are unhelpful and apps need to “explain this stuff…don’t use these big, high-level generic terms.”

She recommended products leveraging open banking get more specific about the benefits to boost awareness.

“[We should ask]; do you want to ensure that the cash you have is in a high-interest account? Do you want to compare pricing on your insurance or… purchasing your energy? Then all of this stuff seems really common sense, and suddenly that applies to everyone.”

She added that trust in open banking is slowly “moving forward” and that seeing a value exchange is key in this respect.

“It’s kind of early days, but they will begin to get more and more used to it as time goes on.”

Another goal is to make open banking services so helpful that users don’t just want to use it; they want to pay for them. In particular, that might come from analytics tools currently being developed to give users intelligent insights into their future cash flow, for instance.

“Now I can see all [my accounts], but then you can show me what my actual cash flow is looking like in the next six months. What kind of decisions then can that drive?” Levine said.

2) The data is yours — but expect leaks

Another dilemma around open banking is uncertainty about what fintechs do with the data shared with them; again feeding into the trust question.

On the bright side, there are protections in place and limitations; overseen by the regulator. Users completely own their data and can revoke the access they give to third-parties at any time.

See:  The Clearing House Releases Model Agreement For Sharing Financial Data

There are also restrictions on companies’ ability to sell the data directly to third-parties.

Instead, companies holding the data can monetise it by recommending new pension providers and taking a commission fee, for instance, or charging consumers for the service (like Monzo has done).

“What’s going to make or break the success longer term is ‘do you feel confident that you know where this data is going?'” Grose noted, highlighting the need to educate users on their data rights and companies’ use of their data.

Nonetheless, Levine warned that some companies might be tempted to charge a so-called ‘privacy premium’, whereby consumers get a worse deal or product based on their financial data.

“It only takes one kind of major loss of trust or issue that we find ourselves in a place where actually the whole industry is hurt, and we may be going backwards,” Levine said.

Meanwhile, Vans-Colina added there’s a big risk that open banking and finance data will get hacked and leaked.

See:  New regime needed to take on tech giants

“I think that’s probably inevitable,” he warned. “But the regulatory framework in place is strong. And it means that only regulated companies are able to process and hold the data. And I think it’s a trade-off as a society we have to decide. Do we want to take this step?”

He also emphasised that open banking had big security perks overall, explaining that the amount of fraud and cybercrime will “go down massively because of open banking.”

3) A cross-generational project

Apps like Moneyhub — which aggregate users’ various bank accounts — have proven most popular with the over 55s.

Yet Grose is confident that open banking rules are already benefiting the younger audience too.

“I recently saw someone did a survey, and a lot of Gen Z would actually use a bank account inside of TikTok,” he said. “You’re going to see a lot of companies start to access and provide financial services using this type of [banking] data and they can meet different generations and different groups where they are already. I think that’s going to be incredibly valuable for people.”

Incidentally, Vans-Colina’s new startup, Fronted, will also use open banking tools to help young renters get cheaper deposit loans, by accessing their bank data and assessing their affordability.

See:  Open Banking just got its own App Store

However, the inter-generational benefits may be less applicable to open finance. The fundamental benefit that open finance adds is being able to aggregate a wide array of different accounts and assets, which arguably millennials — the main audience of fintech apps — have less use for, given they generally have a smaller financial portfolio.

Still, Levine argues that pensions are important regardless of age, as well as is having a grasp on your investments and savings.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Hey bank, get onto my cloud!

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The Finanser | Chris Skinner | July 21, 2020

fintechs banks and cloud - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?I’ve seen a few big deals signed this month to get banks onto the cloud, such as National Australia Bank (NAB) switching to Microsoft’s Azure, and Deutsche Bank moving to the Google Cloud.

McKinsey expect that cloud usage will rise from less than a quarter of banks business being cloud-based to anything between 40 and 90 per cent of banks’ workloads globally moving to the cloud over the next decade. Bankers believe coronavirus will accelerate that shift dramatically which is why companies like IBM made a big announcement of renewed Cloud for Financial Services offer yesterday.

This is a development building on when Bank of America and IBM announced their collaborative efforts in creating the first public cloud specifically designed to address the requirements of financial services institutions late last year.

See:  4 Digital Transformation Lessons that Banks Need to Learn from Covid-19

Bank of America’s Cathy Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Bank of America described the new partnership with IBM as “one of the most important collaborations in the financial services industry cloud space. This industry-first platform will allow Bank of America to use the public cloud, putting data security, resiliency, privacy and customer information safety needs at the forefront of decision making.”

Interesting.

There’s a number of interesting points here.

First and foremost is why didn’t they do this before? They didn’t do this before because it was too risky. They worried about security and how data in the cloud would be protected.

Second, why are they doing it now? Because of COVID19. Plain and simple, banks are being forced into the cloud because their staff are all stuck at home. Tough.

Third, why Google and Microsoft? Because everyone else is really busy. I spoke the other day to a leading cloud services provider, and they said: every bank is knocking on our door to move to our platform now, but we are too busy and told them to join the back of the queue? Cool.Doing Digital cover 152x225 PRESS 1 - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?

However, in the press releases, the picture is different.

See:

“For more than 150 years, Deutsche Bank has been an industry pioneer, with a strong record of innovation in the financial services sector,“ said Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet. “We’re excited about our strategic partnership and the opportunity for Google Cloud to be helpful to Deutsche Bank and its clients as they grow their business and shape the future of the financial services industry.”

This is the bank that’s worth less than half a Stripe, has completely lost its way, has taken serious body blows in the last decade and has a questionable future.

Nevertheless, the new Deutsche Bank leadership team is at least committed to technology and may see a way out. It announced a strategy in 2019 with a key line I use in all my presentations today:

At its heart, our technology strategy empowers our businesses to control “what” is produced, while technology has control of the “how”.

In other words, banking is what we do but technology is how we do it.

This is a critical statement and it encourages me that the new Deutsche Bank leadership team has finally got it.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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As the digital economy grows and the world increasingly moves online, the future of digital identity will deliver new frameworks and infrastructure to support digital commerce, online interactions and social identification in more secure and robust ways than ever thought before. This future is here today where individuals and businesses can establish digital representations of their identities to serve as the gateway to store and protect sensitive data, manage permissions and ultimately enable the future of Convergence Marketplaces.



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Open Banking – North American Style

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Fintech Talents | Lisa Moyle  | Jul 14, 2020

open banking north america style - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?Open Banking is taking shape in different ways across North America. From driving the development of new providers to enabling existing institutions to keep pace with a fast changing industry, the impact on financial services is significant. As the current crisis demonstrates, the swift change in the economic outlook and the situation of consumers and business alike, not to mention a rapid move to digital channels, the ability to understand, pivot and serve customers is so crucial and can be supported by open access to vital market data.

Open Banking is coming to North America but is taking shape in different ways across the continent. From driving the development of new providers to enabling existing institutions to keep pace with a changing industry, the impact on financial services will continue to grow in significance. That impact and the innovations that open banking initiatives support and catalyse, no doubt, will vary depending on the structure and regulatory framework of the financial services sector and the needs of economies/communities. It both opens the gateway to opportunity and flags challenges and jobs to be done.

See:  Digital IDs Help Open Banking Reach Its Fullest Potential

Open Banking in the US differs greatly, for example, from the European approach which was propelled by technology trends and solidified through regulatory initiatives (PSD2, The Open Banking rules in the UK). There is no single regulatory framework in the US compelling existing institutions to share data through an open API standard and no broad-based accompanying rules protecting consumer data or mandating security standards. According to a 2018 report by the US Treasury, although there is a will to avoid fragmentation and remove regulatory/legal uncertainty, a mandated and coordinated approach is not supported or deemed feasible.

As the report notes, “There are significant differences between the United States and the United Kingdom with respect to the size, nature, and diversity of the financial services sector and regulatory mandates. Given those differences, an equivalent Open Banking regime for the U.S. market is not readily applicable.”

While open finance in North America will not look like it does in the UK or Australia, the need for it here is not unique,” said Steve Boms, executive director of FDATA North America. “And with millions of families and small businesses struggling to keep afloat, there is no time to waste. Consumers will have improved access to capital, financial tools, and sound retirement options once they gain full control of their own data. North American economies simply will not be able to build back until open finance is a reality.”

See:  3 examples of what open finance can do right now

Open banking is coming to America but it will be driven by the private sector and State and Federal regulators will get involved as required rather than being in the driving seat. That may well be the American-way but market forces will continue to drive the adoption of Open Banking.

The Financial Data Exchange (FDX) is a prime example of how the financial industry has come together rapidly around a common, interoperable and royalty-free API standard to make the open finance concept a reality regardless what type of regulatory framework may be in place,” said Don Cardinal, Managing Director of the Financial Data Exchange.

“FDX is a big tent with financial institutions, consumer groups, fintechs, financial data aggregators, payment networks, financial industry groups and other permissioned stakeholders of all sizes at the table and working to ensure that consumers have secure and reliable access to their own data,” added Cardinal.

New entrants will seek access to key troves of consumer data held by banks and other financial institutions and those very same institutions will need to keep pace with the rapidly evolving technological landscape and equally fast changing customer expectations and needs.

According to Alex Yang, Director, CashPro API and Global Open Banking Strategy Bank of America Merrill Lynch, “Absent the ‘letter’ of open banking, organizations like Afinis, SWIFT, and FDX have stepped in to help lead conversations on behalf of the North American corporations who seek access to commercial or retail data and services in the ‘spirit’ of collaboration and innovation. It is this spirit that will help improve the financial lives of businesses and consumers alike.”

See: 

Looking North and South from the large US market. Canada and Mexico are also seeking to create more competitive, responsive and inclusive financial services sectors through exploring/supporting government-led initiatives. The Department of Finance Canada established an Advisory Committee in 2018 and published an initial consultation into whether a UK Style approach should be adopted.

Further plans have been delayed due to the Covid-19 pandemic and progress has been stalled. Whilst the lack of a mandated open API may not block innovation, it may well make a concentrated banking sector slower to move and create barriers to faster innovation.

The current crisis is illustrative as the swift change in economic outlook and the situation of consumers and business alike, not to mention a rapid move to digital channels, further highlights the extent to which the ability to understand, pivot and serve customers is so crucial and can be supported by open access to vital market data.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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As the digital economy grows and the world increasingly moves online, the future of digital identity will deliver new frameworks and infrastructure to support digital commerce, online interactions and social identification in more secure and robust ways than ever thought before. This future is here today where individuals and businesses can establish digital representations of their identities to serve as the gateway to store and protect sensitive data, manage permissions and ultimately enable the future of Convergence Marketplaces.



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3 examples of what open finance can do right now

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Yapily | Joe Terry | Jun 19, 2020

Open Finance image - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?The average Briton's relationship with their bank lasts longer than their marriage - and this inertia can be costly. Banks have always been the one-stop shops for all things finance, but thanks to open finance that has changed.

Digital offerings in the financial services sector have changed the way we expect to interact with our banks and manage our finances. Gone are the days where switching is difficult, opening a new account takes weeks or applying for a loan means printing out bank statements.

Open finance is enabling a new wave of innovative financial services. The access to data made available by open banking connections is more versatile than originally imagined. The majority of sectors can now benefit from access to the API links created during the open banking era, meaning that customers can easily share their financial data. From mortgages and pensions to payment solutions, open finance encapsulates the idea of accessibility and removes barriers for banks, firms and consumers to interact more efficiently.

See:  Open banking in Canada - Interview with Senator Deacon at FFCON20

How could open finance change the credit process?

Businesses could benefit from a new, more accessible way of accessing credit. Using open finance could increase efficiency as opposed to the traditional methods used when assessing a businesses loan or credit application. Choosing to use this option means businesses could share their financial data instantly, meaning the lender could:

  • Carry out faster eligibility checks.
  • Assess affordability and credit worthiness instantly.
  • Gain immediate access to historical transaction data.

Businesses would in turn benefit from access to faster funds without laborious checks and waiting times. Open finance would transform credit assessments and could be automated, ensuring less human error, ultimately improving overall lending efficiency.

Open finance can solve the inefficiencies in money management.

How many finance apps do you have on your phone?

The odds are, if you have a credit card, more than one bank or accounting software on your phone, then you have a few different apps. Usually, all of the platforms or apps have different login details (you’re lucky if you only ever use face ID). It can be a nightmare, checking balances, transferring funds and managing accounts.

Open banking provides a secure and scalable method, whereby innovative firms can create money management apps that could collate all of your data in one place. Given the consumers consent, financial data from different accounts and financial institutions can be pulled together and be managed within one platform or app.

See:  UK: Open Finance: The FCA Consults On How To Transform The Financial Services Market

Open finance enables the automation of financial management. Innovative firms could create platforms to enable applications to make financial decisions based on consumer information and preferences. A great example of this is moving money to the best interest rate available, maximising the return on savings and the opposite for debt, where moving debt to the lowest interest rate for overdrafts and credit cards could be automated.

Do you check and compare prices for utilities or insurance online?

Today's online comparison sites play a big role in what financial product customers end up purchasing. The quotes are usually generated by the user going through roughly 4 or 5 pages, typing in the relevant information to that product. Customers are then presented with many different quotes or estimates based on the information they have typed in.

Of course, typing in this information presents various challenges. Fraudulent entries being the most frequent. This may be in an attempt to reduce the cost of the product or service or it could be due to human error. However, comparison sites, pension providers, utility companies, insurers and more can utilise open banking data to see the real financial picture, automatically increasing effectiveness and reducing risk. The data made available through open banking could help simplify the process for firms and consumers.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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As the digital economy grows and the world increasingly moves online, the future of digital identity will deliver new frameworks and infrastructure to support digital commerce, online interactions and social identification in more secure and robust ways than ever thought before. This future is here today where individuals and businesses can establish digital representations of their identities to serve as the gateway to store and protect sensitive data, manage permissions and ultimately enable the future of Convergence Marketplaces.



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Digital IDs Help Open Banking Reach Its Fullest Potential

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PYMTS | July 10, 2020

Open bankingdigital ID aids access - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin? comes in several flavors, yet its rise requires robust Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) procedures, Zac Cohen, chief operating officer at identity verification firm Trulioo told Karen Webster in a recent interview.

As financial institutions (FIs) work with FinTechs, they need to know that these tech-nimble startups are not only enabling access to customers’ account data but also in a manner that embraces KYC and AML. The end goal: to speed innovation toward new products and services while keeping fraudsters out.

Regulation Vs. Market Forces

The need for both innovation and security comes at a time when open banking is gaining a foothold in the United States due in part to the pandemic. It’s also growing across the pond in the European Union, albeit with some important distinctions.

“In recent years, we’ve seen the heavily regulated version of open banking in the E.U.,” Cohen said. “It’s been a coordinated effort — regulatory-driven, highly standardized and thrust upon the banking community. In the U.S., it’s been an organic-but-inevitable exercise, driven primarily by innovation and consumer demand.”

That’s due in part to the fact that America has a more fragmented banking and regulatory landscape, he said. But despite the differences, Cohen said he believes open banking is here to stay in the U.S.

Just consider all the recent acquisitions from major payments players. For instance, Mastercard last month bought Finicity, while Visa earlier this year acquired Plaid. Through those acquisitions, the networks have shown their interest in serving as intermediaries between banks, their customers and FinTechs that want access to important account-related data.

See:  Refusal to embrace open banking puts Canada behind yet another curve

After all, the financial services ecosystem is striving to give consumers access to their financial records and leverage tech-driven innovations to improve their lives.

Cohen said that if banks don’t jump on board with those goals, they risk losing significant numbers of customers. Consumers want to share and access data to make such things as applying for a mortgage or tracking spending across various accounts easier.

Protecting Consumer Data

But with an ever-greater exchange of data must come an increased FI focus on data privacy, data ownership and how information gets used, he said. At a high-level view, banks must have robust ID verification procedures in place, making sure that the right people are showing up at the right time to do the right thing.

Webster noted that KYC and AML procedures aren’t governed by global standards. However, Cohen said that in the U.S., various forms of privacy legislation have been making headway. For instance, he pointed to statewide initiatives in California and Illinois that have focused on biometrics.

“It’s a good move for organizations that are involved in open banking and driving that innovation to have similar high privacy standards in that regard,” said Cohen.

Checks And Balances

He recommended that organizations have checks and balances to make sure consumers are protected and data is secured via coordinated efforts between banks and FinTechs.

Along those lines, financial services players — banks and FinTechs among them — are entering into data exchange agreements that operationalize tenets around what can be done with data, what information is needed and how long it can be stored.

See:  FFCON20 DIGITAL Attendees to Receive Exclusive Digital Icon and Early Access to Liquid Avatar

“You’re confirming pieces of information on demand, but you’re not maintaining an open channel, nor are you retaining information nor sharing it or using it for any other purpose other than strictly what has been stated,” he said.

Generally speaking, firms shouldn’t retain data in searchable format, but should keep it in anonymized formats and quickly expunge it, Cohen said.

“When you feed that information back or you provide that connectivity and access, there’s no reason to retain it,” he said. “As long as you’re following strong data retention principles and as long as you’re securing those networks and channels, that’s the basic foundation that you want when operationalizing open banking.”

The Pandemic Is Speeding Innovation Up

Dialogue and close coordination between financial services players have spurred the equivalent of three years of innovation during the pandemic’s past three months, Cohen said.

“There’s been a huge amount of volume and demand for these types of digital journeys, as opposed to being able to walk into a branch and do things in person,” he said.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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JOIN US THUR, AUGUST 6 DIGITAL IDENTITY & CONVERGENCE MARKETPLACES WEEK!


As the digital economy grows and the world increasingly moves online, the future of digital identity will deliver new frameworks and infrastructure to support digital commerce, online interactions and social identification in more secure and robust ways than ever thought before. This future is here today where individuals and businesses can establish digital representations of their identities to serve as the gateway to store and protect sensitive data, manage permissions and ultimately enable the future of Convergence Marketplaces.



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Montreal’s Flinks raises $16 million

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Montreal in Technology | Steve La Barbera | Jul 6, 2020

Flinks celebration - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?Perhaps Montreal’s best known fintech, Flinks has today announced another $16 million flowing into its coffers. That includes just over $5 million in debt, and and $11 million series A round led by National Bank’s corporate venture capital arm, NAventures, which was also the source of the loan. The round also included participation from Intact Ventures, Luge Capital and Panache Ventures.

“The digitization of financial services is more than just a trend. It’s a profound reshaping of the industry, driven by rapidly changing consumer needs in a global context. Flinks is uniquely positioned to help businesses accelerate their digital transformation,” said Flinks co-founder and CEO, Yves-Gabriel Leboeuf.

“This investment from our strategic partners allows us to jumpstart the next phase of our mission: consolidating our position in our home market and building new innovative data products that will allow us to tackle global demand.”

The funding will be used to help Flinks bring its services to new verticals, such as wealth management, and continue its geographic expansion to establish itself as a market leader in those new geos. By developing and leveraging a powerful, secure data exchange network, Flinks plans to continue to improve the experience of all of its stakeholders.

See:  In the Future, Home Will be Wherever Consumers Choose to be

“NAventures firmly believes in democratizing innovation. That is why we are proud to support Flinks as they continue to establish their vital role in fintech ecosystems, both in Canada and abroad,” said Philippe Daoust, Managing Director of Venture Capital at NAventures.

“We see great alignment between Flinks’ mission and our own focus on helping our clients manage their finances by providing them with innovative and reliable digital solutions.”

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

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Refusal to embrace open banking puts Canada behind yet another curve

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Financial Post | Kevin Carmichael | July 10, 2020

Adam Feleskey Portag3 ventures - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?Adam Felesky, chief executive of Portag3 Ventures LP, the venture-capital arm of Power Corp. of Canada, was primed to put his home country on the leading edge of finance at the end of last year.

“We’re on a mission to build global champions from a Canadian base,” Felesky told the TechCrunch website in early December when Portag3 announced it had raised $427 million for a new fund aimed at digital finance startups.

The “majority” of that money remains unallocated, Felesky told me this week, but that could soon change. The social distancing demanded by COVID-19 has sped up the shift to a digital economy, a boon for outfits such as Toronto-based Portag3, which specializes in identifying startups that have plans to disrupt finance. The pandemic caused a terrible recession, but anyone focused on digital technology barely noticed.

“We’ve been playing offence,” Felesky said during a Zoom interview organized by the National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association. “We’re excited about the environment right now. There are lots of opportunities.”

Without access to data, digital upstarts have little chance of stealing market share from legacy institutions, even if they offer a better service

Unfortunately for Canada, which, like most countries, will need all the investment it can get to recover from the coronavirus crisis, most of the opportunities that Felesky sees are elsewhere.

See:  Open banking would help the recovery

That’s because we Canadians — and, by extension, our elected representatives — refuse to get excited about open banking, the industry term for a regulatory regime that grants control of financial information to clients rather than the financial institutions that serve them.

Without access to data, digital upstarts have little chance of stealing market share from legacy institutions, even if they offer a better service. The United Kingdom, European Union and Australia are among the jurisdictions that have adopted open banking over the past couple of years and will benefit from a first-mover advantage as a result.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, meanwhile, keeps postponing a decision on whether it intends to follow, which probably suits the established banking oligopoly just fine.

Around the time Portag3 closed its latest round of fundraising, an expert committee appointed by Finance Minister Bill Morneau was finishing up a report that was relatively enthusiastic about open banking. In January, Morneau released the review and announced additional consultations would be held in the spring. Those meetings were postponed until autumn because of the pandemic, meaning regulatory clarity is at least a year away, if not longer.

As a result, Portag3’s money probably will end up in places where governments have decided to embrace the future, rather than serve the interests of legacy interests by dallying. Canada will have exposure to the digital shift in financial services thanks to the ownership stakes Portag3 and others take in various international firms. But the actual champions of global finance will continue to come from elsewhere, and their clients in Europe and Asia will be first to enjoy the benefits of better service.

See:  NCFA Open Letter: Government should collaborate with Fintechs

“Unfortunately, we’re spending more time outside of Canada than inside of Canada because of some of these (regulatory) headwinds,” Felesky said. “It’s difficult to make some of these investments believing something may occur. We just don’t have any capital in businesses that are dependent on open banking.”

A new generation of finance entrepreneurs think decades of coddling have left the big banks too risk averse to be successful in the digital economy

There is a strongly held view among fintech advocates that the big banks are using their influence to delay regulatory changes that would entice new challengers for as long as they can.

Given the banking oligopoly’s outsized role in the federal government’s COVID-19 rescue, it’s fair to wonder if it will have even greater sway over Ottawa once the emergency is over. The argument that the guarantee of financial stability justifies protecting the largest institutions from competition will be strengthened by Bay Street’s ability to keep many mortgage holders and smaller companies afloat during the crisis.

See:  NCFA Announces Updated Virtual Interactive Programme for FFCON20 DIGITAL, the 6th annual Fintech and Financing Conference

There will need to be more urgency in Ottawa, too, and some of that will have to be directed by us, so call your member of Parliament. The opportunity cost of letting the banks and their regulators sort out open banking is too great.

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NCFA Jan 2018 resize - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin? The National Crowdfunding & Fintech Association (NCFA Canada) is a financial innovation ecosystem that provides education, market intelligence, industry stewardship, networking and funding opportunities and services to thousands of community members and works closely with industry, government, partners and affiliates to create a vibrant and innovative fintech and funding industry in Canada. Decentralized and distributed, NCFA is engaged with global stakeholders and helps incubate projects and investment in fintech, alternative finance, crowdfunding, peer-to-peer finance, payments, digital assets and tokens, blockchain, cryptocurrency, regtech, and insurtech sectors. Join Canada's Fintech & Funding Community today FREE! Or become a contributing member and get perks. For more information, please visit: www.ncfacanada.org

Latest news - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?FF Logo 400 v3 - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?community social impact - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?

JOIN US THUR, AUGUST 6 DIGITAL IDENTITY & CONVERGENCE MARKETPLACES WEEK!


As the digital economy grows and the world increasingly moves online, the future of digital identity will deliver new frameworks and infrastructure to support digital commerce, online interactions and social identification in more secure and robust ways than ever thought before. This future is here today where individuals and businesses can establish digital representations of their identities to serve as the gateway to store and protect sensitive data, manage permissions and ultimately enable the future of Convergence Marketplaces.



GET TICKETS NOW
More Info



Week 5 Digital Identity and Convergence Marketplaces resize2 - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?



NCFA COVID 19 letter to government to support Fintechs and SMEs - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?

NCFA Newsletter subscribe600 - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?

 

share save 171 16 - Is Open Finance worth getting excited about, or is it just spin?