Contentive’s Treasury Leaders Summit is different to any conference we’ve attended. It is an unusual packed combination of the typical Keynote Panel Discussion of Treasury Transformation, Workshops, Match Meetings, Thought Exchange sessions, Treasury Tech Village 10 minute sessions with award winners pitching for the prize, etc. There is so much going on with people disappearing into the different streams and sessions that the main hall often empties.
Thought Exchange session on PSD2 and standardisation
This session was despressing because what it brought up, in different ways, was the lack of real progress in standardising the Application Programming Interfaces with banks developing their own, countries developing other standards, e.g. NACHA in USA and Berlin initiate in Germany, SWIFT is trying too, etc.
A TMS supplier explained how they have to have a libarary in each area of the different APIs to be able connect their users to their banks.
The discussion showed that there can be little case for optimism as there was no body or person strong enough to bring all these standards together, unlike the wonderful Charles Reed, ex-IBRO head, who went round world convincing the banks they needed to set up SWIFT.
But, as we pointed out in our piece, “APIs are like putting lipstick on pig or a revolution? BUT who standardises chaos?” standards do matter. They really do.
(See Shahrorh Moinian’s more optimistic piece “How corporate treasurers can make the most of the API economy.” Which shows the potential.)
The good news
But, an ex-banker at the roundtable, said, “There is some good news: PSD2 will ensure that banks will no longer be able to charge for delivering MT940 bank account balance data. It no longer makes sense with the advent of PSD2.” But he was depressed about the prospects of getting any resolution of APIs standards any time soon.
CTMfile take: We need to find a new Charles Reed to drive the global standardisation of APIs.
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