Singapore bank releases APIs for app development

OCBC Bank launches a developer portal, offering an open API (application programming interface) platform that it hopes will boost the development of apps linked to its services.

OCBC Bank has launched a developer portal to offer an API (application programming interface) platform, aimed at facilitating the development of mobile apps linked to its products and services.

Called Connect2OCBC, the portal offers four open APIs offering a range of information on the bank's branch and ATM locations, foreign exchange rates, and credit cards.

The initiative was in line with the Singapore government's aim to build a smart nation and "smart financial centre", said OCBC's senior vice president for group operations and technology, Praveen Raina.

Offering the APIs would allow the bank's data to be shared with third-party software developers and create a "data social network", providing non-customer information to support apps that benefited consumers.

"It will help us extend our reach to not only our customers, but potential customers as well, while creating a better user experience," Raina added. "The API platform was developed in-house and we believe it will bring about significant cost savings, not just for OCBC but third-party software developers."

He said the bank would continue to offer more APIs in future. According to OCBC, its APIs did not contain any customer data and had been tested to ensure they were secure.

Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), said in the statement: "Fintech is enabling banks to create better financial services and products for customers, with APIs as a key enabler for this innovative collaboration."

MAS in June 2015 announced plans to set aside S$225 million (US$160.6 million) over five years to support the local fintech ecosystem. Called the Financial Sector Technology & Innovation (FSTI) scheme, the funds could be used to support innovation centres such as the setting up of R&D labs in Singapore, as well as institution-level and industry-wide projects.