In the first week of every month, my inbox sees a flurry of automated communications as the banks I patronise, send through monthly statements which are promptly stored for future reference.
A step up from the mailing of physical statements, it still falls short of any real benefit outside having a soft copy that can be stored indefinitely on the cheap with the myriad of cloud service providers.
When the time comes, and it most definitely does, that you need to review financial data on a key transaction or leverage it to access an opportunity or capital, you realise your data is trapped in silos, held immobile behind clunky internet portals and encrypted pdf attachments, not forgetting the strange per page billable that is getting a custom date-range statement pulled and shared by customer service, should a visit to the physical branch be called for.
We talk of new generation fintech as driving inclusion by making it easier and cheaper to transact or move value, but we must take a step back and realise that with all that activity and growth, your data remains locked up with each individual service provider.
Granted, they have offered a service and could arguably stake a partial claim to it from its cultivation, but your data should not be held hostage.
The individual or business is at the core of any marketplace ecosystem and service providers should ideally revolve around them and in season competitively offer value.
Enter open banking, a model that is still a work in progress across global markets that is looking to free user data, allowing for product, service and channel innovation by incumbents and new players alike.
The premise of open banking is the evolution of consumers who have a cocktail of needs that in some instances are sorted from generic offers while in others deep specialisation is needed in a way that a standard financial services supermarket may not satisfy.
The first step toward open banking, whether through collaborative effort or regulator direction, is to establish the standard of exchange covering the technical aspects and forward to operations and customer experience frameworks.
The regular demons of regulation, security, privacy, risk et al will be amplified by several factors as the volume, variety, velocity and touchpoints of data increases.
The upside, however, is blue ocean territory for retail and commercial financial services.
The writer is Head of Business at Sure Corporation, a data and technology company.
The views expressed in this article are of the author.