HSBC to build the bank of the future by giving its 30,000 devs access to APIs

The bank wants to prove it is possible to be innovative in a highly regulated environment.

HSBC charts out its move to the cloud With about 4,000 applications that could potentially move to the cloud, HSBC is working closely with cloud vendors like Google as it builds services that meet the requirements of its highly regulated industry.

HSBC is building a new digital banking platform, with the organisation looking to power the bank of the future through the use of APIs.

Turning to Salesforce-owned MuleSoft, HSBC chief architect of digital technologies Prakash Sethuraman said the bank is taking advantage of open banking to develop new, "connected" experiences for its more than 38 million customers worldwide, using this as the foundation for the bank of the future.

Speaking at Dreamforce 2019 in San Francisco last week, Sethuraman said HSBC is wanting to reach out beyond the branch, the contact centre, and other more traditional channels to create those connected experiences.

"When we work with our partners and they access to our APIs, they get access to our global banking capabilities … and our customers get more choice and they get more convenience," he said.

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HSBC is using MuleSoft's Anypoint API Community Manager to build APIs to "unlock access" to core banking products that in turn invite partner "collaboration" and accelerate innovation.

"API Community Manager is a critical part of the HSBC of the future, it allows us to engage with the newest type of customer we have -- developers," Sethuraman said. "We've worked with Mulesoft for quite a while now … what Community Manager allows us to do is take the next big step."

According to Sethuraman, Community Manager will be rolled out across 30 countries, giving 30,000-odd developers inside HSBC access to the platform.

"It is possible to be innovative -- and very innovative -- in a highly regulated environment," he said.

With the open banking regulation that's coming across multiple countries, Sethuraman said the main aim is to promote innovation.

"What APIs allow us to do ... is two things: One, we can evidence to the regulators that the APIs we are mandated to publish, we have done so, and they're accessible," he explained. "The more important thing that it does is, it allows developers -- internal and external -- to find our APIs, to learn about them, to try them out before they use them in production applications, so when adoption of our APIs goes up, everybody wins," he said.

"Our partners get access to capabilities and new revenue streams, we get happier customers, but most importantly, our customers can use our partners and be completely confident they will be safe because our APIs implement the regulations that keep them safe."

HSBC believes the bank of the future will be a digital platform, powered by a collection of APIs that enable "truly-connected, multi-channel experiences". Through APIs, the bank has touted the ability to turn its core banking products, including credit cards, mortgages, and payments, into APIs to develop new offerings.

HSBC group CTO and CIO of retail digital banking Dinesh Keswani said connected customer experiences have become the new battleground.

"HSBC is driving incredible innovation in the era of open banking through API-led connectivity," Keswani added. "We are moving to serving customers across multiple online and offline channels ... HSBC has built thousands of APIs in an application network and deployed them across multiple environments to deliver new and consistent experiences."

According to Keswani, HSBC has been able to reduce its app development time by 75% and release new functionality to consumers every two weeks, versus once a quarter.

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