Digital transformation is on the lips of every bank’s CIO, whether the objective be to offer retail customers new online services or to create cost and efficiency savings for the business itself. Many banks are still working with legacy software running on a mainframe built on hundreds of thousands of lines of COBOL code. This may hinder innovation and agility – incredibly important when digital up-starts are threatening to eat a significant piece of banks’ service offering pie.
Additionally, the Open Banking initiative, which launched in January 2018, saw many banks open up their APIs for integration with other third party services. This thrust the spotlight onto the importance of APIs and the ability to create new innovative services with the data and the existing business logic that they provide. APIs are crucial because they help reduce the time to market for new services from years to months or even weeks by being able to draw down on logic (code) created by other developers. And, this means that customer-facing apps and services do not have to be developed from scratch and cost millions of pounds.
Running the API integration gauntlet
However, legacy systems may make it difficult to integrate many APIs. To further complicate the issue, banks may not always integrate APIs that have been certified to meet an industry accepted standard. This is, in part, due to the fact that industry standardisation across API definitions is lacking. These definitions are vital – they help developers to annotate API functionalities and provide guidance on how to implement innovative and intuitive digital services across both back-end and customer-facing functions.
With stringent regulatory requirements residing over the way banks interact with customers, IT glitches, and downtime are often met with an impatient customer and often, fines from regulatory boards. If APIs are badly implemented the

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