Read what happened when Futrli developers joined in with Lloyds Banking Group’s Build an Open Bank Challenge. The first hackathon of its kind, it was an enjoyable and demanding 48 hours!
In November 2017, we were excited to be invited to take part in Build an Open Bank Challenge, a two-day event run by Lloyds Banking Group. It was the first design hackathon of its kind, in which LBG brought together 14 partnering organisations to develop ideas and value propositions at lightning speed.
Open Banking regulations are being finalised, leading the way for new opportunities for an API-enabled ecosystem, or ‘open economy’. LBG has been proactive in ensuring success for both individuals and businesses.
The event provided a great opportunity for people in the financial tech field to collaborate and find innovative new ways to streamline customer experiences and more importantly, plan for the future.
The Futrli team, headed up by Founder and CEO Hannah Dawson and Chief Technical Officer Chris Evans, scooped the Best API Mapping award.
There were three key themes to the hackathon:
- Banking where you are, creating smoother customer experiences.
- Safeguarding your digital identity, protecting the information of customers.
- Manage your finances and plan for the future, helping customers understand the implications of decisions in life and finance.
Lloyds, in particular, and Open Banking [in general] are the lifeblood of the businesses, and cashflow is the main reason that SMEs fail, so that’s where we see this brilliant synergy between what we’re doing and Open Banking API.
– Hannah Dawson
Chris gave us his timeline of events:
We were challenged to help LBG’s SME clients to make informed business decisions and enable actions through LBG’s product range to make those decisions possible. It had to go through their proposed Second Payments Service Directive (PSD2) legislation API.
For example, opening the user up to opportunities, such as invoice financing and short-term loans that are entirely catered to their figures/business.
We realised we were solving some of the pain points of LBG and SMEs, and would be helping many businesses grow. Then it was time to start work on how this might be possible, architecturally-speaking, utilising LBG as the ‘product playground’.
We began by investigating the proposed PSD2 API that LBG had provided, at the same time surfacing new information that Futrli could expose to LBG users to.
We identified several efficient ways of how their data could be surfaced. This would help users make more informed decisions, and get access to a variety of LBG products that would suit the varying scenarios the SMEs may have.
Things to consider were whether they would be better off with a low-interest long-term loan, short-term planned overdraft, or a credit card, given their incoming revenue/expenses. At the same time, we needed to provide a seamless communication platform between stakeholders (accountant, relationship manager and the SME) to discuss these options, eliminating the need for emails or phone calls.
Next, we sat down with the Lloyds API engineering team to sanity check our concept, which was very positive. Once we knew the concept was feasible on both sides, we set to work defining our API using Swagger (an API definition tool), which had just over 50 iterations over the two days.
We finalised our API, propagated several products and use cases through it and settled on our final design. We pitched this to LBG API judges (who invited some of their Directors and Senior Engineering team to watch, which other teams didn’t get!).
And, of course, we won the Best API Mapping award!