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Peer2Peer Finance News | August 25, 2019

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Growth Street in dispute over Open Banking data

Growth Street in dispute over Open Banking data
Hannah Smith

GROWTH Street has defended its methodology that found UK banks had recorded a rising number of Open Banking outages in the first quarter of this year.

The peer-to-peer business lender has claimed that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are missing out as banks are failing to prioritise fixing Open Banking outages, but the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) has blasted the findings as “misleading and inaccurate”.

Growth Street reviewed publicly-available data which the Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE) published on its API downtime monitoring tool.

In the first quarter, Open Banking was only available 83 per cent of the time, down from an average of 95 per cent in the previous quarter. This amounted 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.

However, OBIE argues that the data was taken from a control and notification system used by the banks, which is less accurate than the monthly metrics they submit to OBIE.

“The data as presented by Growth Street today is misleading and inaccurate: our published metrics data shows very clearly that the average API availability in the first quarter of 2019 was never less than 96.97 per cent availability,” said a spokesperson for OBIE.

Read more: Open Banking set for 2019 surge

“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.”

According to Growth Street’s reading of the downtime data, HSBC appears to have the worst access time, dropping from 98 per cent availability in the fourth quarter of 2018 down to 20 per cent in the first quarter of 2019 due to a series of long-running intermittent outages.

Read more: SME finance platform Swoop sees users embrace Open Banking

Meanwhile, Nationwide saw the greatest improvement, raising availability from 78 per cent to 96 per cent over the same period. Allied Irish Bank came out on top with 99 per cent availability in the first quarter of 2019.

Growth Street has defended its findings.

“Growth Street has used a consistent and transparent methodology to compare API performance across all banks, which is different from the methodology used by the banks themselves when reporting to the OBIE,” said Greg Carter (pictured) , chief executive of Growth Street.

“Both Growth Street and the banks’ own reports show availability performance that is low relative to other crucial internet infrastructure providers, such as cloud computing services [which typically target 99.95 per cent availability].

“We welcome the steps taken by the OBIE to review data analytics reporting with an independent supplier, and hope that ongoing scrutiny of availability will lead to improvements in performance, unlocking the potential opportunities Open Banking brings for customers.”

Read more: Growth Street launches IFISA