Opening the Gateway to Financial Services Innovation

3 min read

Responsiv Solutions and IBM co-design an Open Banking solution in the cloud.

Described as a new revolution in banking, Open Banking aims to give customers greater visibility and control over their finances. Traditional banks must allow other banks and third parties access to customers’ personal and financial data in a secure way, through the use of open application programming interfaces (APIs).

A leading global bank with a large share of customers in Japan and a significant presence worldwide engaged Responsiv Solutions to build and host an Open Banking gateway to comply with its obligations under the European Union’s (EU’s) Payment Services Directive 2 (PSD2) regulation. The gateway delivers a set of banking interfaces aligned to the UK Open Banking standards in a secure and resilient manner. It was designed and developed quickly and efficiently by Responsiv to meet all regulatory deadlines and functional demands.

A unifying partnership: Responsiv + IBM

Responsiv Solutions had established a trusted relationship with the bank, having previously worked on a number of integration projects together. We collaborated with IBM to develop the Open Banking gateway solution for the bank, based on the Responsiv Unity software platform and with Responsiv Consulting know-how.

Built on IBM software, Responsiv Unity is a predesigned and preconfigured “all-in-one-box” solution that allowed us to accelerate development and testing and focus our design effort on the distinctive parts of the platform. We chose IBM Cloud to host the gateway solution and deployed IBM Cloud Solutions for VMware on bare metal servers to achieve the scalability, resilience, and privacy we needed.

Working closely with the bank’s technical community, we were able to deliver a working Open Banking “sandbox” before the regulatory deadline in March 2019, followed by a production platform in September of the same year.

A gateway deployed across the cloud

The Responsiv-built Open Banking gateway has now been in operation for over 16 months and, we are proud to say, has experienced no downtime. It is designed to tolerate single points of failure and, hosted across two data centres, to provide the requisite levels of security and resilience. The Responsiv Unity console actively monitors components internal to the gateway and reports problems to the Responsiv Service Desk.

Core Open Banking: Responsiv know-how and IBM software

To meet PSD2 security requirements, we installed IBM Security Verify Access integrated with IBM API Connect and IBM DataPower Gateway to provide multifactor authentication, OAuth2, and mutual authentication between the gateway and authorized users. The API Connect portal was customized to conform with the standard to support third-party payments, platforms, and developers.

Responsiv Unity Console, Data, and Integration modules were integrated to host a developer sandbox in order to protect core system integration from changes to the UK Open Banking API standards and deliver the monitoring and management needed inside the gateway.

In March of 2019, we went live with the developer sandbox version of the Open Banking gateway, meeting all of the bank’s regulation deadlines. We continued to add functionality to the gateway until September of 2019, when it went live as a production system connected into the bank’s internal payments and account management systems.

Working as a team

Ultimately, by working closely with the bank’s IT organization, Responsiv Solutions successfully delivered the Open Banking gateway, hitting all of the regulatory deadlines on time and delivering a high-quality solution. Through this Open Banking gateway, which Responsiv operates on behalf of the bank, account holders can now make international payments, load up a payroll system and the associated files to make payroll payments, and view transaction histories – all from third-party mobile applications.

The combination of IBM’s proven technology and Responsiv’s technical expertise has resulted in a highly reliable solution, with zero downtime in over 16 months of operation.

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