The Nordics have the potential to become the most successful open banking market in Europe thanks to the region’s highly digital society and quick adoption of new technologies, according to a report launched today by open banking platform Nordic API Gateway. But how is the Nordic region driving new opportunities across industries and leading the changes with open banking? How have businesses leveraged open banking to create value and meaningful products? And are there any further learnings here for other European regions?

The report includes new research, conducted in January 2020, which found that in less than six months since the final deadline of the EU’s Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2), more than half (53%) of those interviewed have invested in new technology and infrastructure, and 50% have already developed new products and services, indicating the speed of adoption across the Nordics.
The research, which was conducted with more than 100 decision-makers in financial institutions, accounting providers and Fintechs across Denmark, Sweden, Norway and Finland, was designed to uncover the region’s opinion, progress, challenges and growth opportunities since the final deadline of the EU Directive.

The EU Directive is aimed at creating a level playing field regarding payment services across Europe in order to increase competition, innovation and efficiency in the market, driving a revolution in financial products and services for the benefit of consumers and businesses.

According to the research findings, nearly three quarters (58%) of respondents felt the new legislation is already having a positive impact on the region’s economy, and 83% saw it as an opportunity for their business. Nearly half (45%) suggested that consumers will be the biggest beneficiaries alongside FinTechs (24%), with the latter particularly being championed by the larger financial institutions to succeed in this new era.

Even with territories such as the UK progressing well with their development of open banking-inspired interfaces, 64% of organisations in the Nordics believe the region is not behind its European counterparts when it comes to innovation around financial products and services, which according to Rune Mai, CEO of Nordic API Gateway, is down to the region’s perfect fit for open banking.

He comments: “The Nordics have adapted to open banking quickly and this can be attributed to a number of things; the region is already digitally advanced, there’s a real desire from the banks to be open in order for progress to be made, and unlike many parts of Europe, the Nordics very much take a collaborative and thorough approach, which all contribute to creating the perfect environment for open banking innovation.

“The arrival of open banking has signalled the beginning of the biggest transition in financial data rights across the EU, and a new era of innovation. These sorts of directives don’t just seamlessly integrate into day-to-day operations without significant process changes, so it’s extremely positive to see that rather than just ensuring their organisations are compliant, organisations in the Nordics have already developed interfaces that work well and can be used by both consumers and businesses.”

While 51% of those interviewed stated that they had already implemented changes to their business and/or product strategy (this was significantly higher with the banks at 72%), a third (36%) suggested they still hadn’t made any kind of changes presented to them, and 40% stated that the development of new products and services would have the biggest impact on business performance.

Rune Mai believes that more changes will be made as a result of the current Covid-19 pandemic. He adds, “The social implications caused by Coronavirus have accelerated the shift towards being more digital focused and encouraged more consumers and businesses to seek open banking solutions. We expect to see this continue as more financial institutions concentrate on the digital transformation of products and services which assist the customers’ changing situations.”

Almost 4 in 10 (38%) agree that their organisation found responding to open banking legislation a challenge, with nearly half (46%) challenged by a lack of resource to build new solutions, and 38% finding difficulty in incorporating open banking solutions into their current offer.

Rune Mai continues: “We are building the foundation of a new world; the Nordics are moving at a good pace in response to the new Directive but this first twelve months will see most of the movement taking place in the background – becoming compliant, understanding the opportunities, building teams to respond, automating processes, developing interfaces, and providing account aggregation externally as a minimum. But again, these challenges can all be overcome with the right collaboration.”

The research found that there is little doubt amongst those interviewed that financial institutions opening their payment infrastructure and customer data to third parties will change the business landscape in the Nordics; nine in ten (90%) expect more tech-start-ups, 79% believe there will be an increase in AI technology, 88% expect a natural increase in competition in the market and 82% expect an increased pressure on customer service.

“To make the progress we know this market is capable of we need a change of mindset to become a digital-first industry”, continues Rune Mai. “Only then will we truly understand how to create convenience in both the lives of businesses and consumers – the FinTechs are naturally set-up this way but the rest of industry needs to follow suit. And digital-first doesn’t mean building a brand-new mobile banking business, but more building cleverly on what we have already with the right technological solutions.

“The arrival of PSD2 and open banking should be viewed as a gateway to growth. The opportunities are clear for developing a more customer-centric and innovative offering, not just an operational necessity. We need to be all in and developing this market together – it has the biggest implications for progression than any other regulation regarding financial data.

“We should be under no illusion, it’s not easy to be build these open banking interfaces, but the region has learnt a great deal through the collaboration that’s already taken place, and that’s something we will be exporting to the rest of Europe as the market matures, positioning the Nordics as at the forefront of this digital movement.”

For further detail on the findings of the research, please click here to download a full copy of the report.


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New FIS Wealth Management Platform Brings Rich Data Insights to the Client Relationship
  • New FIS Unity wealth management platform leverages advanced data analytics to give advisors rich insights into the financial needs of their multi-generational clients.

  • FIS Unity offers a single, 360-degree picture of clients’ financial assets across multiple financial providers through integrated APIs.

  • The solution leverages an innovative approach to workflow that automates and streamlines processes.

As investors of all ages seek advice for weathering the current uncertain investing environment, financial technology leader FIS™ (NYSE: FIS) today announced a leading-edge wealth management platform that gives wealth managers the data and insights they need to better understand and serve the needs of their multi-generational clients.

FIS Unity leverages open application programming interfaces (APIs) to provide wealth managers an integrated, 360-degree view of a client’s financial assets across multiple financial providers. Using the system’s industry-leading analytics tools and intuitive dashboards, wealth managers can gain insights into their clients’ investment history, lifestyle changes and investing preferences – enabling managers to offer personalized investment recommendations that meet clients’ current and future needs.

In addition, the platform makes use of advanced data analytics along with fully integrated workflows to automate and streamline processes, enhance efficiency and lower operational costs. The solution is appropriate for wealth management firms, wealth divisions of banks, trust companies, custodians and brokerage firms.

“Unprecedented levels of market volatility have made it more important than ever that wealth managers and advisors have a complete, accurate picture of their clients’ assets and remain connected anytime and anywhere,” said Brian DuVal, Head of Wealth and Retirement at FIS. “During this time, investors still expect accurate, insightful guidance when they need it, and the Unity solution prepares advisors with a rich, holistic view of their clients’ assets.”

AMG National Trust Bank chose FIS Unity to enable its advisors to provide a more personalized experience to the clients it has been serving for more than 45 years.

“We serve multiple generations of clients who all have very different expectations when it comes to investing,” said Don Seacrest, SVP Operations at AMG National Trust Bank. “By modernizing our wealth management system on the FIS Unity platform, we will be better able to address those differing needs and grow those relationships.”

Learn more about FIS Unity in this video or on the FIS website

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The partnership combines o9’s Industry-leading Integrated Business Planning platform with HighRadius’ Deductions Cloud

o9 Solutions, a premier AI-driven integrated planning and operations solution provider; and HighRadius, a fintech enterprise Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) company specializing in automating the order-to-cash and treasury management processes; have partnered to deliver an integrated solution to eliminate friction between trade promotion planning and settlement process. The partnership enables customers to build commercial plans for different time horizons (e.g. long-range and annual operating plans) at category, brand and customer levels in the o9 integrated planning platform while benefiting from the HighRadius Integrated Receivables platform’s automated reconciliation of deductions capabilities to streamline processes and eliminate invalid claims.

Research from PwC indicates that there is $200B spent annually on trade promotions in the US alone. In particular, McKinsey and Co. research shows Consumer-Packaged-Goods (CPG) companies invest approximately 20% of revenue on trade promotions. Most companies are left to manage these complex trade promotions across thousands of retail and distribution partners with spreadsheets for planning and manual reviews of deduction requests resulting in higher costs of managing trade promotions and higher rates of invalid deductions being paid.

“o9 Solutions and HighRadius are two best-of-breed solutions that will be tightly integrated to transform the planning and execution of trade and promotion investments to drive higher ROI for our joint customers,” said Chakri Gottemukkala, CEO of o9 Solutions.

Both o9 and HighRadius are cloud-based, AI-powered enterprise software providers that solve complementary problems for numerous Fortune 500 clients. This partnership leverages deduction management capabilities of HighRadius® Integrated Receivables platform and o9’s commercial planning solution to enable customers to improve cash flows, financial performance, and channel relationships through fewer write-offs, accelerated collections, better customer communications and reduced overhead involved in managing deductions and trade promotions.

“HighRadius has a large and growing client list that are planning and executing complex trade promotions management schemes in industries like CPG, food and beverage and apparel,” said Sashi Narahari, founder and CEO of HighRadius. “HighRadius has historically helped customers process and clear trade deductions for such schemes with limited visibility and integration into trade promotions management (TPM) systems. Partnering with o9 will enable our clients to reduce the management costs and improve yield from their investment in trade promotions.”

The partnership is a natural extension of market trends around the further digitization and adoption of AI of core finance functions. These secular trends were further validated through the recent funding and unicorn valuation announcements from both o9 Solutions and HighRadius.

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Ingenico Group , the global leader in seamless payments, today reveals that within 18 months of going live, its Russian Payments Solution has outperformed all expectations with impressive payment volumes and customer adoption. It is now one of the fastest growing payments offerings from Ingenico ePayments, providing unique local acquiring and payment capabilities for international businesses selling online to Russian consumers in digital goods, retail, travel and more.

The success of the solution is credited to Ingenico’s deep understanding of the Russian financial system and partnerships it has built within the Russian banking ecosystem. Through these partnerships Ingenico developed a unique solution with local access to the Russian financial system and payment landscape providing local acquiring, local payment methods and multi-currency processing capabilities.

Ingenico has rapidly grown its new solution – up to a billion in USD flow in its first 18 months – and is seeing impressively high payment approval rates. By working with leading acquiring banks such as Sberbank and Alfa Bank, Ingenico has seen impressive approval rate increases of up to 20% for customers. A high approval rate is crucial for online businesses as it leads to more online sales, lower shopping cart abandonment and returning customers.

The Russian Payments Solution offers Mir (Russia’s domestic card scheme) and Russian e-wallets Qiwi and Yandex.Money. It supports domestic payments in multiple currencies in addition to the Rouble, including EUR and USD reducing the risk for Russian issuers. It is fully compliant with MirAccept, Russia’s equivalent of the 3D Secure authentication mechanism. Ingenico is also regularly adding new capabilities including a BSP feature for airlines with local acquiring, single report and single remittance.

The solution’s capabilities and outstanding performance have allowed Ingenico to successfully process 100 million payments from Russian consumers buying products overseas. Its success was further driven by an extraordinary performance during China’s Singles Day 2019, reporting record breaking transaction volumes and payment authorization rates. Already, the company has onboarded 10% of its overall merchant customer base, helping companies like All Nippon Airways, SHEIN, inCruises, Air China and Joom accept payments from Russia with ease.

Ingenico launched the Russian solution in 2018 as part of a strategic approach to help businesses target high growth markets including Brazil, Russia, India and China. Apart from growing fast, these countries have significant barriers to entry. Their unique domestic ecommerce ecosystems demand specific solutions tailored to local preferences. Ingenico is delivering solutions for these markets expeditiously as it sees massive opportunity.

Daria Nikolaeva, PR Manager for Europe at Joom, the fastest-growing shopping application in Europe, who were recently onboarded onto Ingenico’s solution, said: “Russia has historically been a tough ecommerce market to crack. With Ingenico’s unique and tailored solution we’re operating in this fast-growing market with ease.”

Mike Goodenough, General Manager, EMEA at Ingenico ePayments, said: “The first 18 months have been exceptional for our Russian Payments Solution as it is unlike any other available on the market. It’s a remarkable example of how we connect sellers and buyers. While Russian ecommerce is rapidly growing, we can support you to grow and scale further.”

To learn more about Ingenico’s offer for Russia visit:

More insights on Russian ecommerce: Cracking the Russian market

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Al Salam Bank sponsors the Bahrain Institute of Islamic Finance’s Islamic Finance Handbook

Manama: Al Salam Bank-Bahrain announced the sponsorship of the Islamic Finance Handbook for practitioners, produced locally by the Bahrain Institute of Banking and Finance (BIBF), to further bolster Islamic Finance training, reinforcing the Kingdom’s position as a hub of the Islamic Finance Industry in the region.

The Islamic Finance Handbook will cover all major Islamic financial products and services covering ongoing developments including the expected growth in FinTech and Takaful Insurance. The Handbook will also document Bahrain’s contribution to the global Islamic finance industry by showcasing products and transactions that originated from Bahrain. The book will incorporate case-studies from Al Salam Bank Bahrain as well as interviews and thoughts from the Bank’s senior management on various aspects of Islamic Finance.

Rafik Nayed CEO of Al Salam Bank-Bahrain
Group CEO of Al Salam Bank-Bahrain Mr. Rafik Nayed

On this occasion, the Group CEO of Al Salam Bank-Bahrain Mr. Rafik Nayed said, “As the home of some of the most innovative financial institutions in the global Sharia-compliant landscape, Bahrain is at the forefront of the international Islamic financial services industry. Al Salam Bank-Bahrain is proud to play a role in supporting the continued growth of the industry and increase awareness on the ongoing developments within the sector.”

Dr. Ahmed Al Shaikh BIBF Director
Dr. Ahmed Al Shaikh – BIBF Director

The BIBF Director, Dr. Ahmed Al Shaikh said, “We’re pleased to see Bahrain again playing its part to foster the Islamic finance industry on a local and global scale, and we are grateful to Al Salam Bank-Bahrain – as one of the leading Islamic financial institutions in the region – for its continuous support to the industry.”

The BIBF’s Head of Islamic Finance Centre, Mr. Mujtaba Khalid, stated, “Currently, there are many academic and theoretical text books pertaining to Islamic finance around the world but there are very few – if any – practical handbooks for professionals with knowledge that can be applied in the workplace. Domestically, this will be the first practical handbook of its kind, which will facilitate applied knowledge for the industry.”

The BIBF Centre for Islamic Finance was established in 1997 to help promote the growth of both Islamic finance and banking. Today, the BIBF offers degrees and certifications, and conducts training in more than 27 countries worldwide.

About Al Salam Bank-Bahrain

​​​Al Salam Bank-Bahrain B.S.C (ASBB) is an Islamic bank headquartered in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and licensed and regulated by the Central Bank of Bahrain. ASBB was established on 19 January 2006 in the Kingdom of Bahrain with paid-up capital of BD 120 million (US$ 318 million) and commenced commercial operations on 17 April 2006. The Bank was listed on Bahrain Bourse on 27 April 2006 and subsequently on the Dubai Financial Market (DFM) on 26 March 2008.

ASBB completed its merger with the Bahraini Saudi Bank (BSB) on 22 December 2011. On 2 February 2014, Al Salam Bank-Bahrain and BMI Bank B.S.C. (c) confirmed the conclusion of a business combination between the two institutions after obtaining the approval of their shareholders at their respective extraordinary general assembly meetings, and of 30 March 2014 BMI Bank became a wholly owned subsidiary of ASBB.

ASBB offers its customers a comprehensive range of innovative and unique Shari’a-compliant financial products and services through an extended network of branches and ATMs, utilizing the state-of-art technologies to meet various banking requirements. In addition to its retail banking services, the Bank also offers Corporate Banking, Private Banking, Asset Management and Treasury services. The Bank’s high-calibre management team is comprised of highly qualified and internationally experienced professionals with proven expertise in key areas of banking, finance, and related fields.


The BIBF is the leading training and education provider in the region, and is affiliated to the Central Bank of Bahrain. The Institute plays a vital role in the development of human capital in the Kingdom of Bahrain, the Gulf region, the wider Middle East, Africa and beyond.

The BIBF’s commitment to excellence has strengthened its position as the leading educational provider across all major business disciplines. The BIBF serves as a partner to numerous world-class institutions; delivering Thought Leadership, Assessment and Training in the areas of:

  • Banking,
  • Islamic Finance,
  • Executive Development,
  • Accounting & Finance,
  • Academic Studies,
  • Leadership & Management,
  • Supply Chain Management,
  • Insurance
  • Digital Transformation & Project Management;

Resulting in a Complete Business Solution.

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