Standard Chartered Bank: Simplifying Innovative Banking

Standard Chartered

The future of banking is one that is driven by a culture of innovation, efficiency and automation. And by all measures, Standard Chartered Bank is leading this change. One of the most reputable names in the industry when it comes to technology and innovation, Standard Chartered Bank, through its Enterprise Data Management, Foundation Services and Technology Strategy (FSTS) team, bagged several major awards at the Digital CX Awards 2020 by The Digital Banker.

Among the awards received by the team are: Winner, Excellence in API Banking; Highly Acclaimed, Best Technology Implementation – Back-Office and Highly Acclaimed, Best User Experience – Internet. These prestigious awards are no small feat as they had to compete with more than 200 nominations in various awards categories.

The win was even more impressive considering the calibre of judges at this year’s awards ceremony, which include seasoned professionals from companies such as Forrester, EY, Fuji Xerox, Bain & Company, Wipro Digital and KPMG.

“A key focus for the Bank is in building our open banking capabilities. We are enabling partners and other fintech companies to discover and build with our APIs to create better customer solutions,” said Sham Arora, StanChart’s CIO, Foundation Services & Technology Strategy.

“Another area of focus is securing customers’ sensitive information given our role as custodians of trust. We have therefore invested heavily to identify and secure client data across the bank’s estate. To be able to be recognised by our peers in the industry, while pursuing our objectives for the benefit of our customers is absolutely rewarding.”

“Open banking is about putting more choices in the hands of our clients. They can decide what data they want to share, increasing their options of suitable services or products and how they are delivered.”

Dr Michael Gorriz, Group Chief Information Officer of Standard Chartered.
Dr Michael Gorriz, Group Chief Information Officer of Standard Chartered.

The Quest to Simplify Open Banking through aXess

“Open banking is about putting more choices in the hands of our clients. They can decide what data they want to share, increasing their options of suitable services or products and how they are delivered. From the Bank’s perspective, this also opens many opportunities, because we can now offer banking services through other platforms which are already integrated in our clients’ lives, whether its social media or ecommerce, for example. This connectivity is made possible through APIs” – Dr Michael Gorriz, Group Chief Information Officer of Standard Chartered.

Standard Chartered Bank’s mission to simplify banking, through the use of technology and innovative solutions, is a much-documented tale within the industry. By making banking easy for millions of customers across Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, StanChart is well on its journey to make banking seamless.

“By relentlessly focusing on delivering the benefits of Open Banking to its customers, StanChart has been able to provide remarkable digital experiences.”

Driven by a rapidly evolving technological landscape, customers now demand access to banking products and services wherever and whenever they need it, instantly and seamlessly. Competition from fintechs and new entrants in the form of technology giants are now more intense.

One of the radical shifts in this evolution is the banks offering services to where the client needs them, fast, at low-cost, and in real-time. For example, clients can now trade in dynamic market conditions anytime, anywhere with the availability of the most updated FX rates on their mobile phones. This shift is enabled by APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) – what many refer to as Open Banking.

By relentlessly focusing on delivering the benefits of Open Banking to its customers, StanChart has been able to provide remarkable digital experiences. Through its Open Banking platform, aXess, the bank has accelerated its participation in partnerships, platforms and ecosystems which were not possible before.

Currently, aXess has over 100 APIs that are actively used by clients and partners, including services targeted at Corporate banking and retail banking, such as FX, retail products and custody services, and categorised by different regions, catering to local demands. Third party developers visit aXess to explore, understand how to use the APIs, test them through sandboxes and co-create solutions with StanChart experts.

With the new API platform, customers are able to quickly find and identify APIs that support their business objectives and get quick access to sandbox data and supporting documentation. Customers can also quickly engage StanChart’s Labs teams to help with integration, support, and testing. Use cases presented on the platform give ideas and inspiration for how the APIs can be leveraged in various business situations.

Working with customers, StanChart has embedded its APIs in their flows and user journeys creating solutions for their customers and deepening customer relationships in the process.

aXess has also been the focal point for transforming the architecture and culture of the bank. The bank now adopts an API-first approach using microservices-based architecture, resulting in increased agility. Problem solving is done at aXess Labs through increased use of Hackathons enabled by an internal engineering platform. StanChart’s tech community can also access its APIs, libraries, apps (marketplace) and talent site for matching skills and opportunities to accelerate innovation.

“A key focus for the Bank is in building our open banking capabilities. We are enabling partners and other fintech companies to discover and build with our APIs to create better customer solutions.”

Safeguarding Customer Data

Another important facet of banking innovation is the protection of customer data. In a data-driven world, securing customers’ sensitive information and ensuring the quality of the data is of absolute importance. StanChart has approximately 1,200 different systems across multiple markets in the bank that contains millions of fields, in addition to a 3 petabyte data lake. To ensure the data can be used and analysed, it embarked on a major project to automate the classification and protection of data.

This involved the deployment of an automated data classification framework to classify data across 1,200 systems, which included:

  1. Matching of personal data based on column names – using algorithms such as Bag of Words, Levenshtein
  2. Exact and probabilistic matching of personal data-based data signatures – based on training data sets created using known Personally Identifiable Information (PII) fields.
  3. Pattern-based data classification leveraging some of the out of the box meta data tool capabilities

This framework enabled them to deploy a repeatable process to identify existing PII data sets across various systems and platforms in the bank. Users can upload a schema or datasets to this application, and it will automatically identify potential PII columns based on either column names, data content or pattern.

This data classification framework enabled the bank to execute its data classification strategy with up to 75% savings in productivity.

The efforts driven by Standard Chartered in simplifying open banking through aXess is a clear indication of the bank’s innovative prowess and capabilities in this space. With numerous digital initiatives in the pipeline, Standard Chartered is looking to attain more pioneering achievements in months and years to come.

aXess API portal

Read more about the winners at the Digital CX Awards 2020 here.

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Download the magazine print version of this article here.

 

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