Open Banking Exchange (OBE), the non-profit global movement for industry stakeholders which has enjoyed tremendous success in Europe and the United Kingdom, launched its Asian arm to increase financial inclusion in the region through Open Finance and Open Banking.
OBE’s strategy of linking member companies with financial institutions as well as providing tools, platforms, and guidance that help form responses to industry challenges will enable thousands of Asian Micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME) and startups to scale and expand their markets. OBE’s partner in Asia, Brankas, Southeast Asia’s leading Open Finance technology company will help promote and advance financial accessibility and services across these markets.
During their public webinar, OBE Asia Director and Brankas CEO Todd Schweitzer said OBE’s establishment in Asia will bring an easier and yet more comprehensive understanding of what enables the more sustainable kind of Open Banking across nations. As he described it, “This is the first time that the OBE has brought together use cases, terminology, taxonomy, technical standards, lessons learned — good and bad — and put them in a single place.”
Stakeholders such as governments, financial institutions, MSME, and other organizations are enabled by OBE’s efforts across Asia. As examples, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the Bank of Thailand (BoT), or the Thai Bankers Association can readily assess “the balance of policies and frameworks that they can actually learn from a single repository.”
Schweitzer also pointed to the Philippines as an example of a country setting up guidelines that encourage innovation in governance and the framework rollout of Open Finance regulations. He also acknowledged the leadership of the Open Finance Oversight Committee (OFOC), which was established by the BSP, and the National Privacy Commission in the upcoming development of regulatory sandboxes for new technologies and solutions.
OBE has been facilitating collaboration, discussion, and learning, specifically about Open Banking and Open Finance, with its members in various continents such as Europe, the Middle East, and Latin America. Meanwhile, OBE managing director John Broxis emphasized that the continuing development of technology can open this same opportunity to many MSME in Asia. He also explained what institutions in the region need to do to move forward, as many of them still have significant differences in their respective definitions — and by implication, practices — of Open Banking.
“They have to be brought together… allowing them to have that conversation, and that is what we are trying to do here,” Broxis said. “It’s really about coming to us for good straightforward information of what’s going on in language they can understand, in this case across Asia.”
Broxis further added that the ongoing collaboration is vital because technology and industry are always changing and evolving. “With different countries having different aims and reasons for doing Open Banking such as financial inclusion, competition, stimulating innovation, there will be different use cases, and different actors and roles. Over time, during 2022, we will share these with you as members come in to discuss them.”
Wearing his Brankas hat, Schweitzer also commented on the differences between the development of Open Finance in the different regions, saying, “With Europe, it’s a very top-down approach, and it’s the regulators that decide competitiveness and who are basically requiring banks to comply. However, in Southeast Asia, it’s primarily bottom-up, commercially led with regulators setting industry guidelines.”
As the CEO of Brankas, a technology company that provides financial services to various countries throughout Asia, Schweitzer shared their diverse situations, challenges, and opportunities.
Indonesia has a very ambitious and top-down approach towards payments regulations. Thailand’s BoT is working behind the scenes for an Open Banking Roadmap in 2022. Singapore lends itself as a very good commercial model that has a lot of guidelines and initiatives, while still remaining an early use case for Open Banking.
Following the launch, Broxis stated OBE will form their own road map for 2022, a distinct program customized for Asia and consisting of educational webinars, training programs, and country-by-country rollout. It is intended to tech up organizations and systems in the region, creating an environment conducive to the growth of Open Banking and Open Finance, doing for Asia what OBE has successfully accomplished in Europe and the Americas.