2020: A YEAR OF BREAKTHROUGHS
2020 was the year the public first saw a range of open banking-enabled propositions that could deliver real value for them.
The ecosystem grew strongly in 2020. In January 2020, 204 regulated providers were enrolled in our OBIE Directory; at the time of publication that number has grown to 301 firms.
Since its launch in July 2020, our Open Banking App Store now lists 101 open banking-enabled propositions.
End user adoption also grew strongly across 2020. Monthly active users grew to one million in January and then reached two million in September. Notable highlights included the growth of charitable donations made via open banking payments – the very definition of working for the public good.
CREATION OF THE FINAL ROADMAP
On 15th May 2020, the OBIE’s revised Roadmap was published following a comprehensive and structured consultation process that OBIE managed at the instruction of the Trustee.
The process included two distinct phases of consultation, open workshops and the assessment of over 75 pieces of feedback, received from a cross-section of stakeholders including the CMA 9, non-CMA 9 banks, third party providers and end user representatives.
DEVELOPING THE ECOSYSTEM
The OBIE supported multiple initiatives to encourage user adoption and grow the open banking market during 2020.
The OBIE sponsored the Nesta Open Up 2020 programme, a £1.5m prize challenge to promote open banking solutions. Following a competitive application process, the challenge provided financial and operational support to 15 finalist teams, with 4 named as winning finalists in October 2020.
In Q3 and Q4 2020, the OBIE undertook SME Financial Landscape research to quantify the impact of open banking solutions on the small business community. Published in December, the research highlighted the extent to which a growing proportion of SMEs (around 50% of respondents to the survey) reported adopting open banking solutions during the pandemic. Respondents also outlined the benefits they experienced, and their intention to further use open banking as a means of increasing productivity, efficiency, and profitability.
We began work on the Consumer Evaluation Framework (CEF) at the instruction of the Trustee. This initiative will be a framework through which the success of the CMA’s remedies can be assessed. Work was commenced on the CEF in 2020 and will be further developed in 2021.
We worked extensively with Government to support HMRC’s £3 million tender for open banking enabled services. While we had no input into the deliberation process, the contract was subsequently awarded to ecosystem participant Ecospend. We also supported HMRC on wider opportunities for using open banking to automate and simplify the calculation and collection of tax, as well as reducing reconciliation risk. HMRC has subsequently issued a Request For Information.
ACHIEVED IN 2020:
- Revised Roadmap launched on 15th May, with ongoing delivery of each Roadmap item
- Versions 3.1.5, 3.1.6 and 3.1.7 of the Open Banking Standards released
- Dispute Management System launched
- Improved user experience accessing Open Banking Standards via dedicated microsite
- Allocated funding to develop Extended Customer Attributes
- Nearly 6bn AIS calls in 2020 up from 66.8m in 2018, and 4m PIS payments in 2020 up from 320k in 2018
- Successful launch of the Open Banking App Store
- #PowerOfTheNetwork campaign amplified the open banking ecosystem’s response to COVID-19
- Convened quarterly SME Forum and Consumer Forum events throughout the year
- Confirmation of Payee Phase 1 delivered in partnership with Pay.UK
- Security & Counter-Fraud team launch Fraud Self-assessment tool
- Delivered solution to address EBA / eIDAS, including Brexit-readiness updates to the Directory made without issue
- Updated National Competent Authority releases
- Marked significant PSU (user)adoption milestones
- Implemented End User Computing and Office 365 migration across the OBIE in parallel with move to 100% remote working
- Migrated Directory delivery to 3rd Party Managed Service Provider
- Incident Management process migrated to 3rd Party Provider
- Permanent transition / recruitment underway across the OBIE
- Roll out of Employee Value Proposition – Pension, Healthcare, Dental, Life Assurance, Group Income Protection, Benefits presentations, and Benefits Booklet
- Payroll solution implemented with 3rd Party Provider
- Completion of HR policies
RISK & SECURITY
- Maintained ISO 27001 accreditation
- Process and control framework established
- Security Strategy and Roadmap developed
- Established the End User Risk Committee to review risks to end users and escalation to IESG
THE TRANSITION FROM SCREEN-SCRAPING
March 2020 marked the end of an adjustment period, applied by the FCA, for TPPs to implement the regulatory technical standards for Strong Customer Authentication under PSD2. For firms in the open banking ecosystem, part of this meant change was coming in regard to screen scraping - the practice by which users shared their credentials with providers that then impersonated them to their banks. For their PSD2-covered bank accounts, open banking APIs provided a safer and more secure alternative.
The OBIE carried out a number of key activities to minimise detriment to customers of these firms as they managed the rollout of the new standards. The OBIE’s Insight, Experience & Support Team played a central coordination role. We held frequent meetings to ensure market participants had the most relevant information and worked with affected participants to identify solutions. We managed the ‘Transparency Calendar’ and made sure the most up to date information was available to all participants. Most issues were resolved, and the final transition was uneventful.
COVID-19: A HELPING HAND IN A CRISIS
The OBIE has been committed to offering as much practical support in the face of COVID-19 as we can to reduce uncertainty for our people and ecosystem participants.
The #PowerOfTheNetwork initiative we launched in April 2020 showcased our participants’ response to the crisis – by raising awareness of existing beneficial propositions, and by highlighting the potential of new propositions to address the pandemic.
MINIMISING BREXIT DISRUPTION
The European Banking Authority (EBA), a regulatory agency of the European Agency, announced in July 2020 that eIDAS certificates would be revoked from UK TPPs on the 31st of December 2020. This created another ‘cliff-edge’ for the open banking ecosystem. The OBIE worked tirelessly to host explanatory webinars, drive engagement with an FCA consultation, coordinate detail of identity requirements on a per-bank basis, and ultimately to update our Directory with the final list of regulatory permissions on Brexit day. The relatively smooth transition on ‘Brexit day’ highlighted the unique value the OBIE delivers back to the ecosystem.