ABN AMRO: Banking with Golden Building Blocks

Golden building blocks.

It’s hardly a label one would expect a banker to apply to a regulatory compliance solution.

But it’s how Koen Adolfs, ABN AMRO’s API banking product owner, describes APIs.

The Netherlands-based bank, like other financial institutions in Europe, must comply by January 2018 with PSD2, which mandates that banks provide open access to customer, transaction, and payment information via APIs.

”PSD2 was the trigger,” Adolfs said during a conversation at our recent Adapt or Die World Tour stop in London. “But then quite soon after that we looked at the opportunity beyond PSD2 compliance and found that we could improve customer interactions and gain new business models because of open APIs.”

APIs help the bank simplify interactions with its legacy systems, making it easier for internal and external developer alike to use ABN AMRO’s data to build new customer experiences. In fact, the bank has been using APIs for 15 years—but not necessarily for opening up its services to external innovation.

“We came from the branches and went to digital with internet and mobile, but all those are based on quite some old systems,” Adolfs said. “We need to speed up to compete with the big tech and the fintechs, or cooperate with them.”

ABN AMRO has already seen some success with a service it has exposed via APIs, called Gradefix. Introduced as a pilot program in November, it uses transaction data to analyze and assess risk for clients.

Looking ahead, Adolfs sees three opportunities that open up with an API platform: the creation of new customer experiences, easier innovation and interaction with fintechs, and the creation of new business models.

“We are at the start of a journey with APIs.”