Open Banking revolution on hold as banks fail to prioritise fixing outages


SMEs are set to lose out as Growth Street, the SME lender, has found; when reviewing the public available data which the Open Banking Implementation Entity published on their API monitoring tool, 62% of banks have shown a decrease in Open Banking availability to customers last quarter. In Q1 2019, Open Banking was only available 83% of the time, amounting to 5,000 hours of total down-time.

During down-time, Open Banking customers (both business and consumer) are unable to access some integration features including the viewing of borrowing options from other financial institutions.

By analysing outages for every Bank operating in the UK available on Open Banking Implementation Entitiy’s AIP Downtime monitoring tool, Growth Street have seen that most have got worse. The average availability over Q1 2019 was 83% - down from an average of 95% in Q4 2018.

HSBC appears to have the worst access time, dropping from 98% availability in Q4 2018 down to 20% in Q1 2019 due to a series of long-running intermittent outages. This equates to the service being unavailable for 1,700 of the 2,000 hours in a business quarter. 

Meanwhile, Nationwide saw the greatest improvement, raising availability from 78% to 96% over the same period. Allied Irish Bank came out on top with 99% availability in Q1 2019.

The data shows that banks appear not to be prioritising the fixing of these outages. The average ‘service down time’ has taken six weeks to fix, denying users access to their Open Banking facilities for extended periods of time.

Greg Carter, CEO of Growth Street, said:

“Over a year since the launch of Open Banking, banks are still failing to give customers a decent level of service. Open Banking has the potential to drive much needed innovation and competition for consumers and businesses alike, but this cannot be delivered on shaky foundations.

In the context of the banking remedies fund awards (which should be going to those fuelling competition and collaboration in business banking) these figures show that the high street banks are still reluctant to show their customers the full breadth of finance options available. Banks talk a good game on open banking, but the raw data shows a very different picture.”