Takeaways From the 2023 Canadian Open Banking Forum

3 minute read
3 minute read

Open banking has become a significant subject of discussion in Canada since 2018, when the Advisory Committee on Open Banking was first appointed. Since then, many from the finance industry have gathered at events to discuss potential paths forward for open banking. Infonex’s Canadian Open Banking Forum was one of these opportunities, attracting participants from financial institutions, fintechs, service providers and regulators.  Hosted virtually in April, the Forum sought to provide “ideas, inspiration and know-how from the foremost leaders in the [open banking] field.” Below are some of the most important takeaways from this year’s event:

1) A made-in-Canada approach should be utilized, while leveraging learnings from other markets:

Canada’s unique position and timing regarding open banking, allows the country to look to other nations for not only best practices, but also potential pitfalls. Banco Central do Brasil’s Matheus Rauber Coradin (Senior Advisor, Financial System Regulation Department) highlighted how despite a strong uptick in user consents since open banking’s implementation in that market, difficulties still exist. He mentioned connectivity issues between participants, trouble aligning interests among participants, and delays on implementation as being major pain points. Being aware of areas where stumbling blocks can exist, combined with understanding unique national needs, can help inform the way Canada navigates its path towards open banking – resulting in streamlined processes and it’s successful adoption by Canadians.

2) Collaboration is the path forward:

Simon Lyons, Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) at Obconnect presented on how collaboration fostered the success of open banking in the UK. In his previous role as Standards Transformation Lead at Pay.UK, Lyons observed how collaboration with the private sector drove the adoption of Open Banking in that part of the world. Citing Apple’s acquisition of Credit Kudos, which could help Apple’s Pay Later feature extend to those without traditional means of credit, Lyons spoke of how the collaboration between regulators and the private sector can help consumers understand use cases for open banking.

3) Simplicity must be a priority:

During a fireside chat, Interac’s Dinaro Ly (AVP, Innovation Partnerships) spoke with Xero’s Max Nokhrin (Canada Partnerships Lead), about how partnering with innovators in the space can lead to positive outcomes. The discussion revealed how partnerships between organizations and small businesses, can solve for common pain points. For example, Nokhrin said implementation should be geared towards simple use cases at first, such as bill payments, invoice payments, lending conversations, and streamlining back-office processes for businesses. The more innovators in the space that can make open banking a tool for simplicity and efficiency, the greater success it will have in Canada.

Embracing other market’s lessons, collaboration, and simplicity are a way of ensuring that all within the Canadian ecosystem are aligned on how to move forward. Many of these are in line with Interac’s own approach to open banking; championing consumer control and trust, building simplicity into the consumer experience, and working in partnership to propel innovation. By working together to leverage the three takeaways from the Canadian Open Banking Forum, the ecosystem can help ensure that open banking is a path towards more equality, access, and opportunity for all Canadians.

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