Konsentus Powering Trust in Open Ecosystems

An Overview of the Konsentus Group Colombia Summit

A look back to the first Colombian summit with the Konsentus Group, which connect the leading figures of Colombia's open banking ecosystem.

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During the first summit of its kind, the Colombian industry gathered to explore the future of open banking. Open Banking Exchange, part of the Konsentus Group, was proud to bring together a range of market leaders – banks, regulators, fintechs, neobanks, insurance and pension companies – under one common objective: to turn open banking and open finance into an operational reality in Colombia. 

Industry leaders in Colombia came together to discuss open banking at the first Colombian summit hosted by Open Banking Exchange. 

The summit kicked off with addresses by leaders of the two main regulatory bodies, which oversee the adoption of open finance: Jorge Castaño Gutiérrez, Finance Superintendent of Colombia, and Ana Maria Prieto, Deputy Director of the Unit of Financial Regulations (URF) of Colombia and leader in the Open Finance implementation.  

The talks focused on how to build a community and a collaborative environment to foster a transparent and inclusive financial services ecosystem. It set the tone for the whole event: building better products for users which allow efficiency and greater access for everyone. 

As a country with over 50 million citizens and a forward-looking regulator for the financial industry, which over the past decade has adopted regulation-embracing technologies and new trends in digital services, as well as prioritising financial inclusion, open banking clearly offers a huge opportunity for Colombia. 

Over the last five years, Open Banking Europe (OBE) has built a common ground for discussions about open banking, open finance, API standards and security; these frameworks and learnings are now being applied globally. During 2021, Open Banking Exchange – the global branch of Open Banking Europe – participated in the working groups organized by the URF and set the grounds for internal meetings with a variety of relevant players in the market. 

Main topics 

Even though the URF and the Colombian Superintendencia Financiera have different agendas and responsibilities, it was clear that there was a coordinated plan between both institutions. This was a good sign for the wider community: the official approach to adopt open finance, which will outline the most efficient structure for the Colombian ecosystem, is expected in a decree by the end of 2021.

Figure 1:

Laura Clavijo from the Superintendencia Financirea de Colombia (SFC) likened the challenge to the Tower of Babel, describing the fragmentation which could ensue without close communication and supervision.

Representing the first Colombian ‘neobank’, Lorenzo Garavito, CEO at Dann Regional (IRIS), outlined his company’s corporate strategy and how they aim to service the market for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). SMEs will benefit tremendously from open banking, which will enable them to improve their credit scores and gain access to previously unattainable credit.

CFO Juan Uribe from Suramericana de Seguros S.A. explained how open insurance is driving the core principles and strategic aims of one of the biggest insurance companies in Latin America. Open insurance will create new avenues for innovation, enabling novel services, products and better information to generate value for customers, which are the main objectives of Suramericana de Seguros.

Rodrigo Alfonso, CEO and Founder of Sekure, discussed the importance of collaboration and adopting international API standards for a common ground of open finance infrastructure. He called on all fintechs and financial institutions to innovate, stating that the journey of embedded finance was just beginning.

He emphasised how best practice could help local regulators on their crusade towards drafting open finance public policy in the coming months, citing examples from the UK.

New beginning

The event was a pivotal step forward in the journey of open banking in Colombia. There was a profound sense of respect for the leaders of the parties and regulators in Colombia, as well as a sense of urgency: Open finance, with the right support and leadership, has the potential to not only benefit companies, but every resident in the country. There is no doubt that with the spirit of collaboration, the adoption of open finance in Colombia will be a great success.

But as Colombia begins to adopt open finance infrastructure, it is key that different market players come together to discuss ideas and form one coherent strategy. Open Banking Exchange provides a platform for these discussions, creating ecosystems to share knowledge and best practice, supporting the adoption of open finance in Colombia and across the world.

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