[THE INVESTOR] JB Financial Group’s new open banking platform Obank made its global debut on March 13 at the Money20/20 Asia, the latest edition of the world’s largest fintech trade show being held in Singapore this week.
With the brand new platform, the Korean financial group aims to share its license and regulatory expertise with other firms or startups that may have limited access to fintech innovations due to regulatory hurdles.
JB Financial's exhibition booth at the Money20/20 Asia in Singapore.
Some banks provide application programming interface, or API, in their open banking push. However, JB’s Obank goes a step further, by offering a set of API-based modular platform that can be customized by its partners -- the first of its kind in Asia.
Using the platform, smaller banks with limited branch footprints can distribute their services through third parties and attract prospective customers outside their regions, while big banks can further strengthen their legacy systems and connect with third-party providers.
Fintech startups who want to expand into banking services like peer-to-peer lending, mobile point-of-sale, international remittances, deposit-based lending and AI-based real estate services can also benefit from the platform without navigating the hassles of navigating multiple regulatory jurisdictions.
“Our partners are becoming JB’s virtual branches without a banking license, while JB Financial can attract new customers through more diverse channels as well as fee income,” a JB Financial official said.
JB Financial has already launched the Obank platform through its banking units in Korea and Cambodia this year. It plans to enter other markets in phases, especially pinning high hopes on Southeast Asia, a burgeoning fintech market.
The Korean banking group is one of the nation’s fintech front-runners. The group was the first to adopt blockchain technology to its authentication system along with the nation's No. 1 enterprise blockchain startup Blocko last year. Since 2015, it has also provided its banking platform to P2P lending startup PeopleFund whose total loans have exceeded more than 200 billion won (US$188 million).
By Lee Ji-yoon (firstname.lastname@example.org)