Open Banking: Philippines Roundtable with Banking CXOs (Key Insights)

In October 2023, Appsynth and Brankas co-hosted our second roundtable discussion of the year together, this time in Manila. We were joined by CXOs from 18 different banking institutions to discuss the current state of open banking in the Philippines, and what the future holds.

Open banking is a transformative concept in the world of finance, enabling increased transparency, competition, and innovation by allowing third-party developers to access financial data and services.

The purpose of the roundtable was a frank discussion on the technical challenges banks face when trying to implement new customer solutions; exploring what a 20-year roadmap for open banking may look like in the Philippines; and identifying technology, talent, and partnership investments for each bank.

In the Philippines, where access to financial services has traditionally been limited, open banking is poised to play a pivotal role in expanding financial inclusion. It leverages technology in several ways to address these challenges.


Appsynth & Brankas

Headquartered in the Philippines, Brankas provides API-based data and payments solutions to financial institutions and digital businesses across APAC and MENA, to enable embedded finance across banks, lenders, retail, payment gateways, e-wallets, and transportation.

Appsynth formed a partnership with Brankas earlier this year to help further the adoption of open banking and embedded finance solutions in Thailand and beyond.

With Appsynth’s rich experience building best-in-class applications for the region’s largest consumer businesses and Brankas’ turnkey solutions for easily connecting with banks to provide embedded financial solutions, the partnership is a natural fit for solving the complex financial needs of regional businesses and consumers.

Manila Roundtable

Todd Schweitzer, CEO and Co-founder of Brankas, kicked off proceedings by sharing learnings from his recent trip to MENA, where some banks are further ahead on their open banking journey. He shared what these banks are doing, where they have failed, where they have succeeded and the unicorn stories.

Bob Gallagher, CEO and Founder of Appsynth, went on to talk about the state of digital in Thailand: how the market has matured, similarities and differences with global markets, the current offerings of local banking applications, and how leading institutions are differentiating on customer experience.

He then shared the embedded finance opportunity from the perspective of consumer businesses and what demand side partners want from banks. Finally he spoke about the super app opportunity for banks pursuing an open ecosystem to not only provide services for third-party partners to integrate, but also embed partner services back into their own applications.


The floor was then handed over to executives from 3 leading banks to each share their perspectives on open banking, with insightful opening speeches from Albert Tinio, Co-CEO, GoTyme; Delfin Jay Sabido IX, Chief Innovation and Transformation Officer, Chinabank; and Ronald Jose Puno, CTO, UnionDigital Bank.

Open Banking: Key Insights

After the opening speeches, Rey Lugtu of Hungry Workhorse helped facilitate a roundtable discussion to gather perspectives from the diverse range of banks in attendance and help draw conclusions from the many opinions and ideas shared. Some key insights were as follows:

1. Don’t conflate top-down regulatory mandates with bottom-up commercial opportunity:

First movers are embracing open banking not because they are required to but because of the business promise it holds.

2. Fix your core first:

Ensure your system is geared up to handle it before bringing more people in. Core modernisation is a big undertaking but a near-term priority for many who aim to migrate to something better suited for modern banking needs.

3. View other players as partners not competitors:

Covid enabled digital-first players like Gcash to accelerate. Smart banks are partnering with such fintechs, so when the partner grows, they grow too. Collaboration can help grow the whole pie and with 50% unbanked in the Philippines there should be a shared mission to solve this.

4. Banks’ physical footprints are still a key asset:

When serving less digital-savvy consumers, customer journey options that mix both physical and digital are still reassuring, whether it is in-person support, assisted onboarding or just perceived trust when activating new customers.

5. The elephant in the room – data sharing may not be in big banks’ interests:

In countries where it isn’t mandated, banks see their data as an asset to protect, so really need convincing on the commercial opportunity to make it easy for customers to take elsewhere.

6. Security is another major concern:

With the serious risk implications of security breaches, banks need to be sure they can trust the technology of third parties before integrating solutions. Reliable authentication to prove their identity is therefore critical for customers requesting access to their data from another application.

7. If banks don’t move, someone else will:

Regulation may not mandate it (yet), but it’s better for traditional banks to seize the opportunity and take progressive steps towards open banking now, in commercially sound and secure ways, than risk being left behind.


Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to this meaningful discussion. If you are a financial institution or consumer business and are interested in exploring how open banking and embedded finance could help drive customer and revenue growth, please get in touch.

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