Eduard Fabian, UOB – Managing Director, Group Technology Head
"If you look at the new business models that UOB is working on - in every one of them we have some form of partnership and these partnerships, from a technical and architectural point of view, are enabled by APIs.
Responsible for driving the formulation and implementation of the overall technology strategy and IT architecture design for UOB’s Wholesale and Retail Banking businesses, Eduard helps to create new business models and improve customer experience by collaborating with ecosystem partners through the deployment of banking APIs. A proponent of open architecture, he shares with us more on how APIs are going to shape the future of financial technology.
What is API?
API stands for application programming interface. It is how systems talk to each other. It is a technical term that has been around for many years. Now we have systems from FinTech, systems from banks and systems from governments all talking to each other seamlessly, and it is all done via APIs.
Why is it important for FinTech?
The real story for FinTech is the collaboration between start-ups and traditional financial service providers such as banks and insurance companies. Through collaboration, our clients get to benefit from better customer experiences that are enabled by an open architecture underlined by APIs.
What is the role of regulators in this space?
In Singapore, the regulators have been very supportive in terms of encouraging the partnership between FinTechs and banks. It has been a collaborative effort in terms of coming up with the right architecture and the right set of APIs. For me, it is a great story where the regulator brings the various ecosystem players together: the FinTech companies, the banks and even the government.
How crucial is this openness to innovation?
You are not going to get the same level of innovation when you do everything by yourself, as you get when you collaborate. If you look at the App store, Apple could have never written one billion apps, but by opening the platform to all developers, they can offer one billon solutions. It is very similar for banking as well. Banks have their core banking solutions and innovate continuously on their products and services, but with an open architecture and collaboration with FinTech companies and the government, they will be able to offer richer user experiences that will benefit their customers.
For consumers – how do they remain secure?
Every consumer wants data to be protected and banks have a fundamental duty to protect and manage the risk around collecting, storing and using data. That is why we are putting the right governance and security framework in place. For example, a “know your partner” framework, where partners will go through thorough vetting before we open APIs to them.