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Topics include: Direct to consumer / E-commerce / Data & privacy / Martech

OCBC bank: We want to create a 'data social network'

OCBC bank has opened up its data via an API and has launched its first developer portal Connect2OCBC.

According to OCBC, this is the first bank in Singapore to open up its data to developers in this way, despite the country being synonymous with finance and, therefore, fintech innovation.

Mr Praveen Raina, OCBC senior vice-president of group operations and technology, said: "It is about being social. We want to create a “data social network” which facilitates free flow of certain non-customer data that will benefit any third party and the community as a whole in a secure manner. It will help us extend our reach to not only our customers but potential customers as well, while creating a better user experience."

The move to open up APIs was first encouraged by the Singapore government in March. The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has asked banks to develop APIs for developers to create more useful apps.

Sopnendu Mohanty, chief fintech officer of MAS, said: "Aligned with the API conference organised by MAS and the ABS in March to encourage the financial industry to leverage on emerging and innovative technologies, we are delighted that OCBC is taking the lead and contributing to the FinTech ecosystem with the launch of its first set of public APIs in Singapore. The enabling of these APIs is a step in the right direction towards an ecosystem that allows customers to benefit from interoperable FinTech innovations."

Many banks in the region are using Singapore as an innovation hub, even global banks and finance brands, such as Visa, have announced that they’ll base innovation projects like incubators in the country.

It also chimes into the ambitions of Singapore to become a smart nation. Speaking this week at the InnovFest UnBound conference at Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for Foreign Affairs, discussed the plans to create an open operating system for Singapore upon which 100m smart objects could be linked and applications built on.

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