On the Ground at FinTech API Summit 2016 – Part I

Apigee Flyer 2I just returned from a one day FinTech API Summit held on February 10, 2016 sponsored by Apigee at Nasdaq. From the awe-inspiring venue where such companies as PayPal have been listed, the tremendous turnout (it was a sold out show), to the line-up of notable speakers and even the array of fine cuisine options – it was an impressive event (this from someone who’s rarely moved, especially with the deluge of events these days!).

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The discussion centered on today’s hot topic of Application Programming Interfaces, or “APIs,” that can potentially have a huge impact on financial services in today’s digital economy. The FinTech API Summit was timely – on the heels of a recent announcement by Visa opening its doors to third-party developers to fuel innovation in payments products. (Notably Visa is leveraging Apigee’s products, though it was surprising there wasn’t any huge announcement on this at the show other than the white paper passed out at the registration desk.)


Q INSIGHTS was there for all the action and below are some observations I took away from the sessions of the day:


Banking on APIs

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Peter Wannemacher, Senior Analyst at Forrester opened the Summit with the bold announcement, “APIs will take center stage in 2016.” While I admire his enthusiasm, the traditionally conservative financial services industry known to be extremely protective of their data and processes, is unlikely to dive into embracing APIs too rapidly. Yet it must be acknowledged that there is undoubtedly a slow undercurrent of a paradigm shift of sorts happening with forward thinking organizations who have either already taken the plunge into APIs or are about to embark on the journey in 2016.


The full set of 2016 API predictions is offered below:

Prediction 1: APIs will take center stage
Prediction 2: The mobile mind shift will continue to reshape customers’ behaviors and expectations
Prediction 3: Cross-channel banking, experiences (and expectations) will surge
Prediction 4: Banks and disruptors will push into the shared finances market
Prediction 5: Executives will move resources to back-end initiatives
Prediction 6: Real-time will go prime time


Foundation for Accelerating Digital Development – Two-Speed IT

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Ed Anuff, lead product strategy at Apigee followed with a discussion on “multi-modal IT.” He urged enterprises to experiment, experiment, experiment – offering examples such as Costco with 31 apps in the U.S. market alone. He noted that the future will comprise of contextual experiences that APIs can enable (something I also discuss in my article, “Five Payments Trends for 2016”). His key takeaway – embed APIs at every stage of the development cycle.


Innovate with API Banking

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Next, Chris Hoover from Accenture’s Strategy Business sat down with Apigee’s Global Transformation Strategies, Michael Leppitsch. The talk focused on the “Everyday bank,” how financial institutions can evolve to become the center of the consumer’s lives, and the ways that APIs can enable those relationships. One prominent success story is that of BBVA Compass. Welcoming external developers to build the services, applications and user experiences has led to a sea of innovations – specifically 86 apps harnessing BBVA’s APIs! It will be interesting to watch what unfolds as more banks embrace an open platform business model.


Deliver Stronger Robo-Adivising Results with APIs

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Dan Raju, CEO of Tradier, an API-based brokerage firm and an Apigee partner, followed with an animated discussion on API strategy. Based on first-hand knowledge as an innovation springboard for financial technology platforms, he encouraged the banking industry to avoid trying to “control,” rather “enable and manage it” and “learn as you go.” He remarked on the amazing results he’s observed when financial services have opened up source bank transaction data to develop and incubate ideas.


What other nuggets of information was gleaned about APIs? Stay tuned for the next installment of the 2-part blog series recapping highlights from the recent FinTech API Summit 2016.

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