It’s been an amazing start to 2019 for Banked. Today we’re announcing that we’re now regulated as both an AISP and a PISP with the FCA here in the UK.

This regulated status has been 10+ months in the making from when we sat down and drafted our business plan, policies, and product strategy, and submitted our application to the FCA.

We were very lucky to come across and hire a brilliant compliance manager who has now also transitioned into our product manager. Josh worked with the FCA for close to 5 years and was critical in helping us to navigate the application process and giving us the focus we needed as a business seeking regulated status.

Our approach was to go heavy on the detail and our application was not light. We wanted to hit the process with a sledgehammer and try to limit our re-work or or information gaps. Remember we had someone with excellent experience of the regulation and the inner workings of the FCA. In short, there was a lot of work to do.

We were lucky to have a great case manager at the FCA. As such, we found the communication process to be relatively straightforward, albeit very lengthy for a startup business raising seed funding and building a product from scratch.

Banked was formed to help product managers and developers ship products faster.

We believe the aggregation business is not about simply providing a single API endpoint to connect to banks and deliver transactions and payments. It must be about helping businesses to access data, payments and infrastructure (starting with Banking) securely, easily, and with the consumer’s interests in mind. It’s also about helping businesses ask customers for just what they need to deliver their product or service, without pushing them into regulatory or difficult GDPR territories that they don’t need to be in.

There has been a lot said about Open Banking, with many ‘year in review’ articles, posts, consultancy reports and opinion pieces published. For what it’s worth, our view is that banks, implementation entities, the regulator, and competition and markets authorities all around the world – especially here in the UK – are doing a great job to start the race. Banks have spent considerable amounts on complying with legislation and the capable and smart banks are beginning to see this as much more than just a compliance exercise.

User Experience for connecting to banks via APIs has evolved already, and performance of APIs has already seen an uptick. This is what you want and expect from any industry facing large-scale change and is even more impressive from an industry that is facing disintermediation and competition in a way they haven’t before.

All that said we have a long way to go and it’s going to be a slow race if the focus and hysteria is placed on only watching the banks and regulators.

We are facing an inflection point, with banks knowing they need to embrace new partnerships to help them battle their legacy issues (technology and customer experience/conduct). For some this will be partnerships with new tech providers to replace existing infrastructure. For the smart banks comfortable in their role as custodians of consumer data it will also be partnerships via Open Banking with new brands and customer experience-driven organisations.

Banked wants to help accelerate the involvement from startups, scale-ups, large brands, and everyone in between to begin leveraging banking data, new payments capability, and the right to deliver new products and experiences to customers who want to get more from their data safely and securely.

We believe that it’s right for the Fintech industry to be excited about Open Banking. But we also believe it is so much bigger than Fintech, and it’s not banking and tech companies who should be leading the dialogue.

We’re opening up the invite. To those in the design community who are frustrated with past finance projects that never shipped. To the travel and retail industries that saw opportunity to work with banks in the past but have given up due to the complex engagement process. To the entrepreneurial former employees of banks who were unable to ship amazing product experiences because of internal politics, legacy infrastructure and so on. This is your time to stand up and think about what it would be like to offer products that help customers better understand their finances, their choices, and delight them with products you know are possible with voice, mobile, wearables and beautiful UI/UX.

We also invite those businesses that take payments and have cumbersome back office processes to talk to us about the changes coming your way for streamlining KYC, for new credit worthiness data points, and for cheaper payment solutions.

It’s easier to believe in what access to banking data and infrastructure could do to your product ideation than worry about where the industry is at. That’s what we do – let us do the worrying!

Our message to the product innovators, developers, chief experience officers, and data scientists at consumer brands is this:

“Banked’s job is to worry about regulation barriers, GDPR principles, banking data, payments, performance, and security. It’s up to you to focus on creating consumer products that change the game now that you have this new access!”