The Open Banking revolution is being hampered by outages that banks are taking weeks to fix, according to figures from SME lender Growth Street. The conclusions made by the lender are based upon analysis of publicly available data which the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) published on their API monitoring tool. The data shows that 62% of banks have shown a decrease in Open Banking availability to customers last quarter. In Q1 2019, Open Banking was only available 83% of the time, amounting to 5,000 hours of total downtime.
During downtime, Open Banking customers (both business and consumer) are unable to access some integration features including the viewing of borrowing options from other financial institutions. By analysing outages for every bank operating in the UK available on Open Banking Implementation Entity’s AIP Downtime monitoring tool, Growth Street have seen that most have got worse. The average availability over Q1 2019 was 83% – down from an average of 95% in Q4 2018.
HSBC appears to have the worst access time, dropping from 98% availability in Q4 2018 down to 20% in Q1 2019 due to a series of long-running intermittent outages. This equates to the service being unavailable for 1,700 of the 2,000 hours in a business quarter. Meanwhile, Nationwide saw the greatest improvement, raising availability from 78% to 96% over the same period. Allied Irish Bank came out on top with 99% availability in Q1 2019.
The data shows that banks appear not to be prioritising the fixing of these outages. The average ‘service downtime’ has taken six weeks to fix, denying users access to their Open Banking facilities for extended periods of time.
Greg Carter, CEO of Growth Street, said “Over a year since the launch of Open Banking, banks are still failing to give customers a decent level of service. Open Banking has the potential to drive much-needed innovation and competition for consumers and businesses alike, but this cannot be delivered on shaky foundations.”
“In the context of the banking remedies fund awards (which should be going to those fuelling competition and collaboration in business banking) these figures show that the high street banks are still reluctant to show their customers the full breadth of finance options available. Banks talk a good game on open banking, but the raw data shows a very different picture.”
However, OBIE has refuted the results. In a statement, OBIE said “Our published metrics data shows very clearly that the average API availability in Q1 2019 was never less than 96.97% availability.”
“Each of the mandated banks submit their monthly availability and performance metrics to OBIE which we make every effort, as far as is possible, to verify before publishing. JIRA data and the monthly metrics submitted by the banks to OBIE are compiled in very different ways – essentially the JIRA downtime system acts as a control and notification system regarding availability (eg. Planned Downtime, which in some instances does not actually take place) and cannot be used in isolation of other reporting metrics deployed.”
“There is always room for improvement in data analytics reporting, and this is something we are currently reviewing with an independent supplier; however, we believe that the performance data we publish each month gives an accurate snapshot of banks’ API availability and overall technical performance.”