Open Source Banking

Axa Bank launched a forward-looking initiative aimed at gathering worldwide developers' creativity, offering 50,000€ for the most innovative retail banking application developed on the basis of their open APIs.

What does this mean? By registering an account on their developers site, anybody will be able to write an application that makes use of real banking data (anonymized accounts and transactions). In their own words:

this is a secure “entry door” allowing software developers to make the best possible usage of customer retail banking data, anonymized beforehand, under the condition the client has agreed to […]

Protection of personal data is of course a primary concern, and measures have been taken to make sure that this all happens within the regulations. By accessing real data, developers will have to agree to a strong set of rules, including (if my French is good enough) legal responsibility about data usage, cancellation, geographical restrictions, privacy: of course the bank has made it 100% safe for its customers.

Nevertheless, from the communications point of view, it is a really strong positioning statement: I do believe that openness and security are compatible, but would all their customers see it this way?