Will AI lead to open banking in North America?

A version of this article originally appeared in Bank Innovation on April 30, 2018.

As open banking sweeps through Europe with the launch of PSD2, GDPR, and other regulations focused on transparency, North American financial institutions might want to consider looking to blockchain or artificial intelligence for their own compliance challenges.

This is according to Richard Arundel, general manager, North America for financial technology provider Currencycloud, who noted that the challenges in building out a payments infrastructure in the USA differs from the mobile-driven, contactless world of Europe.

As yet, PSD2 and other open banking regulations “don’t impact our [North American] customers too much, ultimately,” said Arundel, as these regulations only affect the data of consumers in the European Union.

However, “compliance is an ever-evolving beast,” he said, and North American banks might need to work fast to catch up to the new banking infrastructures — run on APIs, via marketplaces of startups and third-party services, as opposed to siloed platforms — beginning to take shape across the pond. That’s where technologies like AI and blockchain would come in, said Arundel.

“We are very interested in blockchain, in terms of its impact to the banking ecosystem,” Arundel said. “North America is no different if you look to the expectation of the customer experience.”

Arundel was unable to state whether Currencycloud is currently working on any blockchain experiments of its own. The company currently operates an API of its own, which clients can use as “building blocks” to create their payments or other financial services, Arundel said.

Founded in 2012, the company is based in London, and has clients all around the globe, according to Arundel, including 32 in North America — a market that will be a focus for the company in the coming year, he said.

As well as blockchain (which remains more of a curiosity for traditional banking institutions at this point, though Arundel did point to Ripple’s success in the market), Currencycloud remains interested in other technologies that could come to innovate financial regulation.

“If artificial intelligence can impact the compliance journey, we’re interested,” Arundel said, though he could not state if Currencycloud was working on any particular application of the technology.