The keys to fighting fraud?

September 8, 2016
/   Insights

We're constantly being warned that fraud is one of the biggest threats facing the banking industry, but the true scale of this was revealed by a recent survey that suggests it could make up...

Cause and Effect: If you build it, will they come?

July 23, 2014
/   Spotlight

Many financial institutions assume that digital banking is lucrative because the most valuable customers happen to bank online. While there is certainly a correlation between online bankers and higher profitability, quantitative evidence suggests that...

Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services

April 11, 2011
/   Insights

Today, Intuit released the latest edition of the Intuit 2020 report, Intuit 2020 Report: The Future of Financial Services, which identifies and examines four key trend areas that will  transform the financial services industry...

Fast Facts: Student Loans

January 22, 2013
/   Insights

The Financial Services Roundtable recently released another iteration of its Fast Facts, reliable, bullet-point research about issues facing the financial services industry. Topics span TARP, Dodd-Frank, insurance, lending, retirement savings and more.  Below are some updated Fast...

The Top 10 Trends in the Digital Banking Industry

December 18, 2013
/   Spotlight

2014 is rapidly approaching and as the year wraps, the Digital Insight team has pulled together the top 10 trends in the digital banking industry based on data and trends from studying financial institutions....

Making Banking Fun: Gamification in Financial Services

August 5, 2013
/   Insights

Recently, the team sat in on American Banker’s webinar, “Gamification in Financial Services: Five Proven Ways to Get an Edge,” which shared how leading brands in financial services have applied gamification to reach...

Technology M&As: The Beats Go On

May 29, 2014
/   Insights

The ongoing fascination with Apple’s $3 billion purchase of Beats Electronics is entirely understandable, because it’s a cool story. However, it also says a lot about what’s going on between finance and tech.

What We’re Reading

May 5, 2011
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below. Virtual Banking Worlds Provide Tangible Lessons American...

Small Business: Perception vs. Reality

November 21, 2012
/   Insights

In the most recent election cycle, like most others before it, the one sector of the economy that got the most attention was small business.  This is the future, we were told by every...

What We’re Reading: Thanksgiving Edition

November 22, 2012
/   Spotlight

Below are interesting stories the staff has been reading over the past week. What have you been reading? Let us know in the comments section below or Tweet @bankingdotcom. Mobile Thursday? Plans for Thanksgiving...

Former Intel executive David House once famously proclaimed an amended version of Moore’s Law, predicting that computer chip performance would double every 18 months. Regardless the accuracy of the statement, an industry standard was set as engineers at tech companies around the world pushed harder to gain a competitive edge over one another, and marketing departments constantly fretted over how to sell the new technology once it arrived. We upped the ante for scheduling innovation.

When a new technological solution does become available, there are often numerous versions, brands, types and more to choose from, before standardization is implemented to harness that solution for more widespread use by the public. We saw this to be true when Bluetooth standardized the way we connect our devices and when Blu-ray came out on top as the new standard for high-definition home entertainment viewing.

Right now, major players in the open financial web are working together to establish a standard for global banking connectivity. The open financial web is an ecosystem of traditional financial institutions, progressive financial app developers and data aggregators — the latter building APIs that serve as data hubs between the first two.

Companies in all three areas are working to make a global financial data sharing standard a reality, and there’s certainly no absence of demand for this. Consumers have come to increasingly rely on third-party financial apps that integrate with their bank. Financial management apps like YNAB, Level Money, Mvelopes and MoneyDesktop do a better job of helping customers manage their money than traditional bank portals, while payment apps like Venmo, PayPal and Google Wallet make certain payment use cases easier than traditional, bank-offered solutions.

Interestingly enough, banks are the original data aggregators. Years ago, they leveraged customer data to gain insight on their spending and saving habits. Such information wasn’t generally shared with third parties because there simply wasn’t a need for that. This was the era of the financial “walled garden.”

This financial walled garden of the past is being replaced by the aforementioned open financial web, where banks, aggregators and financial apps create an ecosystem of financial products for their joint customers. With the days of the walled garden behind us, banks that want to compete in the era of the open financial web must embrace aggregators and financial app providers to create a much broader solution set than financial services of the past. The name of the game here is “coopetition,” and establishing this standard for global banking connectivity will raise the bar for all parties involved.

The popular opinion right now is that the world of banking is ripe for disruption. While this is true, larger banks like Chase have been innovating for years, providing fintech products to make their customers’ lives easier. Truly, I believe we’re at a cross-roads where the industry is ripe for collaboration. An ecosystem of products and information sharing between banks, app developers and data aggregators will be to the benefit of all. In the vast financial ocean, rising tides lift all ships.


Steve Smith is the chairman, CEO and co-founder of Finicity, a leading financial data aggregator enabling innovation in the fintech industry through its modern RESTful API and Finicity Platform.


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James W. Gabberty

Gabberty is a professor of information systems at Pace University in New York City. An alumnus of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and New York University Polytechnic Institute, he has served as an expert witness in telecommunication and information security at the federal and state levels and holds numerous certifications from SANS & ISACA.

Zachary Ehrlich

25-year-old writer, and as a native San Franciscan, I am unreasonably loyal to Bank of America, if only for their superhero-like origin story, involving the 1906 earthquake and Italian fruit vendors.

Marisa Mann

Marisa Mann brings over 15 years of experience in consulting and financial services industries to the Solstice team, working on large scale enterprise initiatives across many technologies, including specializing in the digital space – Internet and mobile. Mann is passionate about mobile and the endless possibilities for the enterprise, delivering business value through strong brand recognition and driving to excellence in the consumer experience. Prior to Solstice, Mann worked at JP Morgan Chase, Diamond Management and Technology Consultants, Washington Mutual, Inc, and Accenture.

Brad Strothkamp