Open Banking

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Member Spotlight: EQ Bank

EQ Bank is the digital banking platform offered by Equitable Bank, Canada’s Challenger Bank™. Equitable employs more than 900 Canadians and is now the country’s ninth largest independent Schedule I bank. Launched in 2016, EQ Bank provides state-of-the-art digital banking services, including the Savings Plus Account which reimagines banking by offering an everyday high interest rate, plus the flexibility of a checking account, with free transactions, no everyday banking fees, no minimum balances, fast, cheap, and fully transparent international money transfers, and more—all from one account.

CEO and President Andrew Moor has said, “Making smart, future-ready decisions to better the way Canadians bank has always been our primary focus. Cloud-based banking is just one way we’re challenging the status quo in order to bring smarter money solutions to our customers.”

EQ Bank also is challenging the status quo by using various social platforms, including its own blog, to educate its customers and the broader Canadian public about everything from how interest is taxed on a joint account to strategies for increasing personal savings to buying a home.

The blog provides practical, easy-to-digest tips like explaining why consumers are better off when they can link their accounts – a process that would be made much easier with the implementation of an open banking regime in Canada. In a November 2019 blog post, EQ Bank explained, “Linking your account not only streamlines the application process, but it’s the easiest way to start adding funds to your account. When you sign in to your new account for the first time, you’ll already be linked to another bank account; this means you can transfer money and start earning high interest on that amount immediately.”

The bank has regularly spoken about its commitment to bringing open banking to Canada in order to drive innovation and to serve the changing needs of its customers. Equitable CIO Dan Dickinson was the first bank representative to address the Standing Senate Committee on Banking, Trade and Commerce on the topic of Open Banking. Equitable Bank is pushing for Open Banking so that Canadians at all banks can have better options and an improved customer experience.

In September 2020, EQ Bank announced that it had reached more than $4 billion in deposits. (The company has more than 150,000 customers.) In the first three months of the coronavirus pandemic, sign-ups for new accounts tripled. “The need for fair, well-valued banking products and a complete understanding of one’s financial picture has never been more important,” according to Dickinson.

EQ Bank has received multiple awards for its efforts to provide outstanding service and innovative solutions to Canadians. It recently was awarded the Celent Model Bank Awards, which recognizes financial institutions as “model banks” for their outstanding technology initiatives that demonstrate clear business benefits, innovation, and technology or implementation excellence. The company also received one of Ratehub.ca’s inaugural Personal Finance Awards. Rathhub recognized the EQ Bank Savings Plus Account as one of the country’s top high-interest savings accounts.

EQ Bank joined FDATA North America in 2020. As EQ Bank President Moor has said, “Open banking will transform and modernize our industry enormously, benefitting consumers, businesses, and the economy alike. Innovation is in EQ Bank’s DNA, and our recent move to the cloud means we’re not only ready for the future of banking in Canada, we’re driving it.”

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FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, krushton@allonadvocacy.com

July 17, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America released a paper on competition issues surrounding customer-directed finance and the financial data access competitive landscape in Canada. The paper’s release comes ahead of a virtual presentation by FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms, Senator Colin Deacon, and Michael Binetti, partner at Affleck Greene McMurtry LLP.

A replay of the webinar can be found here.

Consumers and small businesses in Canada have become increasingly reliant on financial services and products offered by financial technology (“fintech”) providers. Today, as many as four million Canadians utilize fintech tools to improve their financial wellbeing. Regardless of the type of product or service offered by fintech firms, all rely on the ability of the consumer or small business to grant them access to their financial data, which is typically held at a financial institution.

The paper, “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services in Canada,” outlines how restrictions on consumer-directed access to individual financial data raise serious competition concerns in the market for data-driven financial services and underscores the need for the Canadian government to advance a customer-directed finance ecosystem.

“The financial impact from COVID-19 – and the government’s refusal to allow fintech lenders to participate in its response – is the latest in a growing string of examples that underscore the need for Canada to have a customer-directed finance regime as soon as possible,” said Senator Colin Deacon. “FDATA North America’s paper makes clear that the absence of such a regime is actively thwarting competition in the financial marketplace. Accordingly, I urge the Department of Finance to expedite its consultation process and to submit to Parliament draft legislation as soon as possible that would allow Canada to join the growing number of innovative economies that provide consumers and small businesses choice and autonomy over their financial data.”

Highlights from “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services in Canada”:

  • The innovation in financial services is powered by consumers and small businesses granting permission for access and use of their data, often in conjunction with cutting edge machine learning and other data analytics technology.
  • As consumers and businesses face a deteriorating economic landscape, it is critical to maintain competition in the market for these data-driven financial services.
  • Competition issues cannot take a back seat as the regulatory and technological framework in data sharing continues to evolve. As open finance develops, competition laws provide a critical backstop to ensure that existing competition in the market for data-driven consumer financial services is not stifled.

Click here to read the paper.


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances. Existing FDATA North America members include: air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), API Metrics, Betterment, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, EQ Bank, Experian, Fintech Growth Syndicate, Fiserv, Flinks, Interac, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica, Xero, and others.

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FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

FDATA North America Outlines Competition Issues Surrounding Open Banking

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, krushton@allonadvocacy.com

June 2, 2020, Washington, DC – Today, the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America released a paper – “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services” – on competition issues surrounding open finance and the financial data access competitive landscape in the United States. The paper’s release came in conjunction with a virtual presentation by FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms and Duane Pozza, partner at Wiley LLP. Click here to watch a replay of the webinar.

Consumers and small businesses in the United States have become increasingly reliant on financial services and products offered by financial technology (“fintech”) providers. Currently, as many as 100 million Americans utilize fintech tools to improve their financial wellbeing. Regardless of the type of product or service offered by fintech firms, all rely on the ability of the consumer or small business to grant them access to their financial data, which is typically held at a financial institution.

The paper, “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services,” outlines how restrictions on consumer-directed access to individual financial data raise serious competition concerns in the market for data-driven financial services.

Image result for paperclip iconCompetition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services 

Highlights from “Competition Issues in Data-Driven Consumer and Small Business Financial Services”:

  • The innovation in financial services is powered by consumers and small businesses granting permission for access and use of their data, often in conjunction with cutting edge machine learning and other data analytics technology.
  • As consumers and businesses face a deteriorating economic landscape, it is critical to maintain competition in the market for these data-driven financial services.
  • Competition issues cannot take a back seat as the regulatory and technological framework in data sharing continues to evolve. As open finance develops, competition laws provide a critical backstop to ensure that existing competition in the market for data-driven consumer financial services is not stifled.

ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances. Existing FDATA North America members include: air (Alliance for Innovative Regulation), API Metrics, Betterment, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Fintech Growth Syndicate, Flinks, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica and others

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Open Banking Summit

Join VoPay, Flinks, Kabbage, and Fintech Growth Syndicate to discuss how Canada can accelerate its fintech economy within the framework of open banking and how the lending community can engage with regulators today to achieve this.

Click here for more information.

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FDATA North America Statement on Department of Finance Canada Open Banking Report

FDATA North America Statement on Department of Finance Canada Open Banking Report

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, krushton@allonadvocacy.com

January 31, 2020, Washington, DC – The Department of Finance Canada today released Consumer-Directed Finance: The Future of Financial Services, which is the result of more than nine months of consultation with stakeholders in the financial services and financial technology sectors. Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America Executive Director Steve Boms issued the following statement upon release of the report:

“When announcing these consultations back in January, Finance Canada said Open Banking ‘could better serve consumers and grow businesses and markets, contributing to the growth of the Canadian economy.’ That absolutely is true and this report from the advisory committee makes that evident.

“Now we get to the ‘how.’ How can stakeholders work together to create a system that puts consumers in control while safeguarding their privacy and security and introduces competition into the market? We look forward to continuing to work with Finance Canada to create a system that empowers individuals, families, and small business owners to take control of their financial lives.

“As Finance Canada has made clear, creating an Open Banking regime is a must-do task for Canadian lawmakers. The private sector, however, does not have to wait to start implementing consumer-centric open banking technology and services. Financial institutions, including those currently restricting their customers’ ability to take advantage of third-party tools, like CIBC, the Bank of Montreal and Scotia Bank, should not wait until they are forced to comply with government demands to let consumers be in control of their own data. They should start doing so now.”

In addition to its consultations with Finance Canada, FDATA North America has published white papers for Canadian and U.S. policymakers that outline the benefits of Open Banking and provide policy and oversight recommendations for lawmakers and regulators. “Opportunities in Open Banking” for the United States is here. The Canadian paper is here. FDATA North America analysis on the report’s findings is here.

Image result for paperclip iconDepartment of Finance Canada’s Report on Consumer-Directed Finance: The Future of Financial Services 


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances. Existing FDATA North America members include: The Alliance for Innovative Regulation, Betterment, Direct ID, Envestnet Yodlee, Fintech Growth Syndicate, Flinks, Intuit, Kabbage, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Petal, Plaid, Questrade, Quicken Loans, TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica and others.

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FDATA North America Submits Comments to US House Financial Technology Task Force on Big Data in Financial Services

November 20, 2019, Washington, DC – Today, FDATA North America submitted comments to the US House Financial Services Committee Task Force on Financial Technology in advance of its November 21st hearing, “Banking on Your Data: the Role of Big Data in Financial Services.”

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA Fintech Task Force Letter for the Record

To watch the hearing, click here.

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FDATA North America Outlines “Essential Ingredients” for Industry-Led Open Banking Work Groups

FDATA North America Outlines “Essential Ingredients” for Industry-Led Open Banking Work Groups

Contact: Kerrie Rushton, (202) 365-6338, krushton@allonadvocacy.com

November 19, 2019, Washington, DC – The Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) of North America today announced the release of a white paper that provides guidance to United States and Canadian standards-creation bodies and policymakers as they seek to establish industry-led working groups that would begin to design voluntary standards around open banking regimes in their respective countries.

“As a chapter of the global organization that has been responsible for informing the creation and design of open banking regimes around the world, we believe these are the ingredients for any well-designed standards group,” said FDATA North America Executive Director Steve Boms. “For the benefit of consumers and small businesses – the ultimate end users of the financial services ecosystem – and to maintain the competitiveness of their respective economies, it is essential that any standards bodies created in the United States and Canada have representation from all stakeholders in the financial services and financial technology sectors and focus their work on the key issues the private sector can address.”

The white paper addresses the scope, composition, and essential subcommittees for proposed industry-led working groups, and advises that government representatives must guide the groups “to encourage participants to look beyond commercial interests and keep at the center of the body’s work the consumer’s and small business’ best interests at all times.”

FDATA North America also outlines several of the questions these working groups must answer. These include queries about technology, permissioning, accountability and liability, legal and regulatory issues, governance, and oversight.

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America Essential Ingredients of an Open Banking Working Group


ABOUT FDATA NORTH AMERICA
FDATA was heavily involved in the UK Open Banking Working Group in 2015. In 2016, the working group’s output was published by Her Majesty’s Treasury as the Open Banking Standard. FDATA North America was founded in early 2018. Its members collectively provide tens of millions of consumers in Canada, the United States and Mexico with aggregation-based tools to better manage their finances. Existing FDATA North America members include: The Alliance for Innovative Regulation, Betterment, Envestnet Yodlee, Flinks, Intuit, Kabbage, Lendified, Mogo, Morningstsar, M Science, MX, Questrade, Quicken Loans, Petal, Plaid, The ID Co., TransUnion, Trustly, VoPay, Wealthica and others.

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FDATA North America Submits Whitepaper to Finance Canada on Digital Identity

October 4, 2019, Washington, DC – Today, FDATA North America submitted a whitepaper to Canada’s Department of Finance on digital identity and the notion that it is not a necessary component of open banking.

This paper follows a request from the Department for an assessment of the various digital identity tools available in the market today, the state of digital identity in other markets, as well as an analysis of the digital identity tools currently in the market and their availability to provide for a digital identity framework in Canada.

Image result for paperclip iconFDATA North America Digital Identity White Paper

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Financial Data and Technology Association and OpenID Foundation in Global Agreement

Not-for-profits to campaign jointly on open finance initiatives.

The OpenID Foundation (OIDF), the international standardization organization which maintains a standard known as the Financial-grade API (FAPI), and the Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA Global), the global trade association for companies working to promote ‘open finance’ and best practice financial data sharing, have signed a liaison agreement to enable them to work jointly across the world.

Under the agreement, FDATA Global, with chapters in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand, will lead policy efforts to implement open banking frameworks across the globe while OIDF will focus on the technology behind a digital identity solution. The agreement will:

  1. Provide a mechanism for the parties to work together on mutually approved white papers, press releases, activities, presentations and other communications;
  2. Allow participation of each party’s staff and members in the other party’s meetings, as mutually agreed by both parties;
  3. Provide a line of communications in order for the parties to communicate (without obligation and only to the extent each party chooses) about new work under consideration and about upcoming meetings;
  4. Support their common goals, including where appropriate and mutually agreed, to promote common standards across markets, and to collaborate on the development and implementation of certain standards and publications of common interest; and
  5. Avoid market confusion regarding their respective organizations and activities.

FDATA Global works with governments, regulatory authorities, and the financial services industries to open up the financial sector all over the world to the benefits of financial data and technology, including advocating for the adoption of open banking frameworks and open banking standards.

The OIDF is an international standards development organization of leading identity and security architects, with a broad range of communities and companies developing open standards that enable firms and customers to safely interact in digital channels. The FAPI working group of OIDF has collaborated to produce the FAPI security profile, which is an integrated set of schemas, security and privacy recommendations and protocols which enables common connections that enable API to easily connect and for financial data to be safely shared and privacy protected.

As Open Banking and Open Finance initiatives develop across the world, the FAPI profile will be the starting point for markets seeking to reduce complexity, risk and engineering costs, making it easier for firms to connect and test their APIs.

Commenting, FDATA Global’s Chairman Gavin Littlejohn said:
“Open finance is the single biggest movement in financial services globally. It will change the world, and it will change the lives of young and old, rich and poor.

“The core components of delivering this change are the enshrining of the customer’s right to share their data, a regulatory environment that supports this right and an implementation capability that transitions the market access to high quality secure APIs.

“In the UK API initiative, the introduction of the FAPI security profile and FAPI conformance testing suites ensured that both sides of the API connection conformed to the profile. This had a transformational impact on the implementation experience, making connections easier between banks and fintech firms, making it easier for regulators to understand that security standards were being met, and greatly reduced the complex engineering and maintenance costs across the industry.

“As the Australian, Japanese, US and some of the European groups are developing their API initiatives, it is great to see the FAPI Security Profile discussed in the standardization agenda. FDATA Global is happy to be able to support the brilliant work of the OIDF and recommend that the FAPI working group output become the starting point of that conversation and a cornerstone of the implementation experience.”

Don Thibeau, Executive Director of the OpenID Foundation, said:
“The development of open global standards like FAPI require the painstaking commitment and contributions of a wide variety of companies, communities and individual developers. This is demonstrated in the ongoing work of the OpenID Foundation’s FAPI Work Group and the leadership of Nomura Research, Microsoft, Intuit and many others. Open standards are only as valuable as their adoption and adoption is driven by trust.  The FAPI Self Certification Test Suite enables trust by helping assure interoperability across computing platforms and international regulatory regimes.

“Our collaboration with FDATA and others demonstrates the importance of the ongoing improvement of trusted standards and certification tests needed by a diverse and dynamic set of financial services players. Open Standards like FAPI enable the easy to use, secure and privacy protecting solutions for clients, consumers and consumers worldwide.”


NOTES TO EDITORS

  1. FDATA Global is a not-for-profit global association for financial services companies operating in fintech. Our members provide innovative financial applications and services to empower customers to make better decisions and take fuller control of their financial lives across all their accounts, credit cards, loans and investments. We seek to work with government, regulatory authorities and the financial services industry in our mission to open up the financial sector all over the world to the benefits of financial data and technology. We have chapters in Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand, with other territories being developed. www.fdata.global
  2. The OpenID Foundation promotes, protects and nurtures the OpenID community and technologies. It is a non-profit international standardization organization of individuals and companies committed to enabling, promoting and protecting OpenID technologies. Formed in June 2007, the foundation serves as a public trust organization representing the open community of developers, vendors, and users. OIDF assists the community by providing needed infrastructure and help in promoting and supporting expanded adoption of OpenID. This entails managing intellectual property and brand marks as well as fostering viral growth and global participation in the proliferation of OpenID. www.openid.net
  3. Images of Gavin Littlejohn and Don Thibeau can be downloaded via the links.
  4. For more information on FDATA contact Andy Maciver, Message Matters, +44 (0)7855 261 244, andy@messagematters.co.uk
  5. For more information on OIDF contact Don Thibeau atdirector@oidf.orgor Michelle Parkes at michelle.parkes@oidf.org
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