Open Banking and the Future of FinTech in Latin America

From May 30-31, I had the opportunity to attend and speak at the exciting FinTech Conference Latam 2018 in Lima, Peru. The event, organized by Google Developers Launchpad Accelerator and Alta Ventures, sought to bring together the main regional FinTech thought leaders to share, discuss and help local stakeholders understand the current FinTech trends that are shaping the financial industry. C Minds was invited to speak about our work in Mexico on a groundbreaking new regulatory system to promote competition and innovation in the financial services field: Open Banking (read our Open Banking 101 blog post). The presentation focused on its potential to solve some of the biggest challenges of Latin America’s financial services industry. Namely, a lack of choice and innovation for consumers and the prevalence of financial exclusion in the region. Although many countries across the globe have started working towards their own Open Banking Standard, much of Latin America has remained outside the conversation. To date, only Mexico and Argentina have publicly looked into its potential for their economies. Mexico’s FinTech Law, published in March of this year, places the country as a global open banking leader by calling for the development of standardized APIs within the next 24 months. C Minds has been leading the conversation with the publication of a report on the potential of Open Banking for Mexico in collaboration with the Open Data Institute (UK Open Banking leader) and the FinTech Hub. In the Latin America region, Argentina has also taken steps towards the development of its own open banking initiative with Open Banking Argentina, a company made up of leaders in the industry who have come together to promote the development of open data/open banking models. They offer courses and trainings to their members. An initial analysis of the Peruvian financial services ecosystem highlights the potential and challenges for Open Banking. In terms of the ecosystem, the lack of a representative body for banks and another one for FinTechs would make in-sector and cross-sector conversations nearly impossible, a key element of the creation of an inclusive standard. Beyond this structural difficulty, one should note the country’s FinTech ecosystem is extremely ripe, with