Building on the release of six public APIs for developers to use last April, Hellenic Bank has taken a new step towards making Open Banking a real commercial opportunity. As of the 29th of September 2017, developers will be able to take their products live via the API Developers’ portal and promote them through a Marketplace (proprietary store) built into Hellenic Bank’s business web banking channel.
Hellenic Bank’s new API development environment is an information-rich microsite that lets developers trial the new apps they build using realistic data supplied by Hellenic Bank. The platform includes extensive support and documentation, and provides an entry-point for Hellenic Bank’s approval to take new apps live.
Hellenic Bank’s Group Head of Digital Banking and Innovation, Natasha Kyprianides, suggests that the development will open huge opportunities for customers. ‘As a firm believer that the future of banking is ecosystem-based, Hellenic Bank is working towards utilising the launch of the live environment and integrated marketplace to deliver true lifestyle banking to customers.’ ‘The first use case will enable corporate customers to do their banking directly through their Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems,’ she explains.
‘Integration with an ERP provides a perfect fit with the customer’s current business processes.’Similarly, ERP vendors can plug in their products to the API platform and drive more customers towards Hellenic Bank and potentially agree on a revenue sharing model. This methodology eliminates the traditional B2B need to exchange files or build customised private APIs per customer.
Briefly, API Banking via the ERP use enables the following:
• Seamless integration with Hellenic Bank’s underlying technology by transmitting payments in real time from within an ERP;
• Over a simultaneous API call, the response of the API provides customers with the status of the transaction rendering auto-reconciliation at their end;
• Hassle-free banking and reconciliations with no need to manually export/import electronic bank statements or payment confirmations;• Operational efficiency and financial planning with real-time balance inquiries.An ‘ecosystem’ for banking
Hellenic Bank is building an ecosystem of the most popular ERP solutions and investing in motivating these partners to integrate with their APIs. The vision entails the provision of a Marketplace to business customers, allowing integration into the business web banking service and, importantly for ease of access, accessible via existing online banking credentials. Customers will, then, be able to activate already-integrated apps and platforms of their choice with just a click. These initial platforms will be the most popular ERP systems and will eliminate the need for the customer to directly engage with integrators.
Removing barriers to participation
API banking removes many of the barriers to third-party developers offering digital banking services. Initial figures of our Sandbox reveal that over 4 months there have been 395 registered developers, 155 registered apps, a transaction value of EUR 78 million and 153,000 calls to the back end through the new API environment. ‘It lets non-banks quickly build and offer financial products without having to deal with banking regulation and set-up requirements’, says Ms. Kyprianides. ‘And with the clear interface, support and documentation we’ve provided online, we think third parties, even those who haven’t done anything like this before, will be able to create things that consumers genuinely want’.
Adding Marketplace for business customers
Hellenic Bank’s integrated Marketplace within business web banking acts as a proprietary app store for potential users to browse new apps as they become available. Hellenic Bank business customers can access this using their usual online banking credentials, and activate apps from within their online banking environment.