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Insights from Polish Open Banking Day

Attending Matchi technology member firms share their perspectives on the recently held Polish Open Banking Day

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The second Open Banking and PSD2 challenge was recently hosted by the Polish Banks Association and KPMG Poland, which culminated in the 2019 Open Banking Day on 7 March in Warsaw. The 10 finalists were invited to present their solutions to decision-makers from Polish banks and insurance companies in one-on-one sessions. We asked for feedback on the event. Here’s what they had to say.

Matchi Emerging Tech Lead, Sashreka Pillay, attended the event and had this to share: “Poland is a hive of activity with key representatives in the regions advocating the opportunities which the new PSD2 regulations can bring. The Polish Banking Association and KPMG Poland teams hosted an inviting session which paved the way for insightful discussions. Findings from their report, launched at the event, underpinned the topics of conversation by esteemed panellists and speakers. Of course it was such a pleasure having excellent Matchi member firms participate in co-ordinated meetings with interested financial institutions. Their presence did well to set the tone that emerging technology was here to help.”

On the event and opportunities within the region

Dmitrii Barbasura, CEO at Salt Edge, notes that Salt Edge currently operates in CEE countries and the market is a priority to the company. “It’s been a great experience at the Open Banking Day event in Poland. I was really impressed with the organisation and time management of the event. The quality of delegates and the topics that were discussed were contemporary and relevant. Frankly speaking, it was one of the best events I have attended so far.”

John Nyström, Partnership Manager at Minna Techonologies, says that up to the event, the company had not focused on the CEE region in particular. “We were excited about the event as we knew based on our research that it could be a very interesting market for us. We were aware that open banking was being discussed more and more, and we had started to see initiatives from the banks to look for fintech partners.”

He says the audience at the event was good. “We focus on the larger retail banks, and through this event we were able to meet with several of the leading Polish banks. The client meetings were the most important for us, and we were able to have several good client meetings. The day overall was well organised, and we were given good support to also have our one-to-one meetings with the clients.”

Chris Eichhorn, who heads up business development at Investsuite NV says the company is an ambitious none-month-old start-up, but it already has a presence in eight EU countries. “Our goal is to have a pan-EU footprint in 2019, so this opportunity, to identify expansion partners in the CEE via KPMG Matchi is highly appreciated,” he says. “The event brought together a unique mix of experts on the topic of open banking and PSD2 to learn about experiences and perspectives of smaller and larger financial players, as well as discussing implications for the future. Our meetings with potential corporate matches went extremely well due to the rigorous selection process facilitated by Matchi. One top official in the meeting mentioned, ‘This is exactly what we need and I never knew this type of solution even existed’.”

Stefano Paoletti, VP of Sales at Token, says the CEE region has some excellent examples of digital adoption and is an obvious choice for any fintech looking to drive significant use-cases and scale. “We have monitored activity regarding open banking closely, especially in Poland. The local regulator has attempted to accelerate and standardise PSD2 adoption and along with significant demand from our customers, ensured it has become a key market on Token's roadmap.”

Carlos Gomez, Business Development Manager EMEA at Strands, says that the company has presence in 36 countries, as well as clients and a strong pipeline in the CEE region, so Poland is a key region. “Poland is considered an advanced country in terms of technology innovation and that’s why the event was a great opportunity to establish synergies. Innovation is in Strands’ DNA, we continuously design and create new disruptive solutions and we have the certainty that our expertise in Big Data and machine learning can bring value to financial institutions in Poland to take advantage of the PSD2.” Gomez says the Open Banking Event with KPMG and Matchi was a unique opportunity to get insights into PSD2 in the CEE region. “Listening to the panels with experts from banks, payment institutions, providers and banking associations was very helpful to understand the current situation, the needs and the challenges of the region,” he says. “For Strands it was a very positive event because it allowed us to have face-to-face meetings with banks that already highlight an interest in our solutions, making the meetings very productive.”

On how banks and financial and financial institutions should bear in mind in the context of open banking and PSD2

Barbasura believes that open banking offers new opportunities that will change the financial sector with the creation of new and innovative technology services. “However, looking ahead, we can say that open banking initiatives remain in very early stages of implementation,” he says. “More needs to be done to raise consumer awareness and reach scale, even in jurisdictions such as the UK, where open banking regulations are already fully in place. The creation of a safe and fully functioning cross-industry data sharing ecosystem will take even longer. By having a global vision and EU focus, we want to be the enablers of innovative technologies in the Central and Eastern European (CEE) region.”

He says open banking transforms banking as we know it. “The regulatory environment of open banking drives banks to create a new and more customer-centric approach to data sharing and management. Banks have to be more transparent and more innovative as they will be competing with fintech companies and other banks. The customer-orientated competition will define who wins the market in the end,” he says. “It is important to mention that open banking is not a panacea. Open banking will prosper only in combination with services that are already provided by banks and solutions offered by fintech businesses in order to come up with better ways to serve customers. Open Banking is about going beyond closed systems; it represents the juncture where the traditional banking wall really falls down.”

Eichhorn believes that PSD2 and open banking is especially relevant to the CEE region as local populations have generally had less access to favourable banking conditions, while Paoletti believes that banks need to take learnings from other regions and proceed in as open and ubiquitous manner as possible. “Standardisation is key. In addition, banks should do all they can to enable start-ups and businesses (local and non-local) to engage and participate in the ecosystem,” he says. “They should remove barriers to entry wherever possible, whether language, technical or regulatory (while remaining secure).”

Gomez believes that banks should have specific plans to take advantage of the opportunities that PSD2 provides, allowing them to offer the clients new products and services. “Digitalisation of their processes is crucial and to establish partnerships with companies like Strands that can help them to modernize the way they manage data. Certain banks in the region have a conservative approach and they will only meet the minimum requirements of the directive, however the banks that have a disruptive strategy will make a huge impact. They could become a digital marketplace embracing a network of partnerships with a huge amount of opportunities to offer products and services to their clients based on the available data provided with Open Banking.”

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