The head of a non-profit financial-data and -technology association says he’s surprised the federal government hasn’t made much progress bringing open banking to Canadians.
On Aug. 4, the Advisory Committee on Open Banking released its long-awaited final report on implementing an open banking system after starting its review in 2018.
In general, open banking allows customers more freedom to move and access their financial data. For example, banking customers who want to invest their money can go to any company they want, without getting approval from their bank first.
The advisory committee recommended the federal government move quickly to implement an open banking system, since Canadians are already using digital technology to access financial services.
Ottawa is still reviewing the recommendations.
After the Sept. 20 federal election, the non-profit Financial Data and Technology Association (FDATA) urged Ottawa to begin implementing the recommendations, which include appointing someone to lead the system’s design so it’s ready by January 2023.
Steven Boms, the FDATA’s executive director for North America, said he’s surprised the government hasn’t made more progress.
“During the consultations, the concept of an open-banking lead was talked about quite a bit,” he told iPolitics on Tuesday.
“The advisory committee flagged that this was something they were thinking about, and they solicited input from stakeholders across the spectrum, (including) banks and credit unions. The (recommendation) is not that new, and the desire to have somebody in this role is not new, so let’s do it.”
Without an open banking system, Canada’s at risk of becoming less competitive globally, Boms said, noting that several large financial-technology companies left the Canadian market last year, most notably Revolut.
On Oct. 1, the FDATA sent a letter to Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland, urging her to prioritize open banking.
“We have the advisory committee report, which lays out a very clear blueprint for how to deliver open finance in Canada,” Boms said. “Let’s follow the game plan. Let’s start the process in earnest.”