Finland’s OP Financial Group accelerates open banking push

Finnish banking group is working with a Danish fintech to add open banking functionality to its offerings

Finland's OP Financial Group is using the fintech ecosystem  to accelerate its open banking plans, following the introduction of payment services directive part two (PSD2).

The financial services group, which is made up of about 150 banks, is working with fintech Nordic API Gateway to access its open banking platform to add open banking functionality to its customers.

Since  PSD2 came into force, banks in Europe have  to make it possible for third-party financial services suppliers access to customer data – if the customer agrees – through application programming interfaces (APIs).

This in turn has made traditional finance firms, like OP, introduce new services around PSD2 to keep up with increased competition and changing customer demands.

Masa Peura, senior vice president, payments and personal finance Management at OP, said PSD2 creates new opportunities for banks and challenges the industry to evolve. “At OP we want to be a forerunner in utilising these opportunities,” he added.

But OP will not do this alone, but is kicking off its work with Nordic API Gateway by building capabilities in open banking payment and account aggregation functionality.

Read more about PSD2

The Netherlands appears to be falling behind in open banking, even though the Dutch are digitally proficient and are often early adopters of new technology.

BNP Paribas Fortis is working with fintech company Tink to integrate software into its mobile app, which will enable customers to aggregate their finances

With the latest version of the EU payment services directive coming into force, traditional Nordic banks can’t afford to slow their digital transformations

Nordic API Gateway has customers on its open banking platform in Finland, Norway, Denmark and Sweden.

OP has identified working with fintechs as the best way to achieve its open banking goals. Peura said: “I see partnering with innovative growth companies as a must for more established companies. In the current business environment there is no use for us to develop everything by ourselves.”

“Customer experience, reliability and security are the most important factors for us when selecting new partners and developing our services,” he added.

Peura is responsible for payments, accounts and personal finance management services in the retail banking segment at OP.

 “There is a great opportunity for us in opening our data and developing new API based services in co-operation with bigger and smaller partners. Currently we are in dialog with some innovative start-ups to develop new services to our customers,” added Peura.

OP’s customer base in Finland is made up of about four million customers. Its main mobile channel reach over a million active users a month and it also has a separate mobile wallet, known as Pivo that has 1.2 million registered users

Read more on IT for financial services

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