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The business lenses ON: Open banking today and tomorrow with Mihael Mihaylov, BDO at IRIS Solutions

Updated: Mar 12



Mihael Mihaylov - Co-founder and Business development manager of IRIS Solutions. Mihael brings over 15 years of rich experience in the banking and financial sector, having worked with renowned institutions such as HVB and Credit Agricole. His diverse background includes spearheading various projects, from pioneering Bulgaria's first mortgage advisor to contributing to the growth of leading non-banking financial institutions. At the heart of his responsibilities lies operational excellence, with a primary focus on finance, regulatory relations, and sales. Mihael's entrepreneurial expertise, supported by certification in Entrepreneurship from MIT, Academy of International Еconomy - Berlin propels him to continuously innovate and lead IRIS Solutions team in the dynamic world of finance.

What recent key developments have you observed in the Open banking sector, and how do you see these shaping the future of the financial industry?

Open banking is growing worldwide, making banking more competitive and creative. In essence, Open banking brings new ways for banks and tech companies to offer more and more personalized services. On its turn, this means that Open banking give people control of their financial data.

Nowadays, many countries have introduced or expanded Open Banking regulations, promoting competition and innovation in finance. These regulations require banks to share customer data with third-party providers, empowering consumers and driving the development of new financial products.

What we see more and more often today is Open Banking being integrated with AI, blockchain and DeFi, enhancing security and enabling innovative financial services. For instance, AI analyzes data for personalized advice and blockchain ensures transparency in the financial processes. These integrations drive further innovation in the financial industry. Can you highlight a few of the successful Open banking business cases globally and in Bulgaria?

What we see globally is that Open Banking (OB) is applied successfully for cases such as Personal Finance Management, OB Markeplaces for loans, Credit Scoring, a non-card payment, A2A checkout process and last but not least - API-based Financial Services for banks – multibanking for example.

Bulgaria does not differ and catches up with the global trends quickly - Open banking has been successfully implemented for Personal finance management in applications such as BoroBit and Moitepari. Multibanking is already live in a couple of Bulgarian banks DSK and Investbank. Pay By Bank by IRIS Solutions is warmly welcomed by e-commerce websites. OB is used in Possepay offering to split your bill at the restaurant. Cashway is using OB as the driving data source to provide a valuable loyalty program. Still, there are many business niches and I am impatient to be part of this near future.

Overall, these successful Open banking initiatives highlight the potential for leveraging open APIs and data-sharing capabilities to drive business innovation and improve financial services both globally and in Bulgaria. What are some of the key challenges that businesses may encounter in implementing Open banking strategies, and how can these be overcome?

Implementing Open banking can be challenging for businesses. One challenge is connecting old and new technology smoothly. To overcome this, companies need to invest not only in hardware and software but also in their teams. In the end, it is the team that will make the hardware do anything you like. So, start simple, invest in IT, both hardware and teams and make sure to follow common rules and test everything carefully. Do not forget: Staying competitive means offering unique services and teaming up with others.

The second challenge, I would focus keeping up with the latest rules and laws. Businesses need to stay on top of EU and local regulations and directives and make sure they benefit to the fullest of the newly opened business opportunities. This would mean almost 24/7 work with legal teams and why not to stay ahead of the game by participating in the policymaking processes at the EU level.

Last but not least by importance, is educating customers about Open banking. Businesses should help customers understand the value behind A2A payment, for example, and OB overall. Business speaking, what is the future of OB?

It is certain that Open banking and its impact on the financial sector will keep growing worldwide. New business niches like the ones I mentioned above will become bigger and bigger. In the very near future, clients will get used to the cost-efficient A2A payments, OB-based credit scoring, and 360-degree view of your financials via OB. To add to that, cool tech trends like AI and blockchain will give a next big boost in Open banking. Sooner rather than later, depending on the competiteveness of the region, the regulation will catch up. Thus, I truly believe, it is up to the businesses whether they will have Open banking embraced and turned into a new competitive advantage or this will be just another regulatory burden for them.




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