The posts you see on this page are intentionally thought-provoking and do not necessarily reflect formal positions taken by IFX Forum, Inc.
IFX Forum participants have a bird’s-eye and insider’s view of the financial services industry and standards development in that sector. On this page we share our perspectives, opinions and observations. Much of this will be commentary on current trends and much of it will be forward-looking. To keep up with our views, follow us Twitter @IFX_Forum and @IFXPresident and bookmark this page for future reference.
What does the Afinis announcement mean for IFX members?
Current and renewing members of the IFX Forum are automatically members of Afinis Interoperability Standards. Organizations whose membership in IFX is renewing through year-end 2018 will renew at the current dues amount. As renewals occur in 2019, they will occur in alignment with the Afinis membership dues fee schedule, which is similar to the IFX dues structure.
The IFX Forum Charter remains unchanged, with the exception of the name change to Afinis Interoperability Standards. Members of the IFX Governing Board will be joined by leaders from ASIG to serve as an interim Governing Board that will convene later this year. Under their leadership, a permanent Afinis Governing Board will be formulated and elected early in 2019.
As a member of IFX, your member benefits have broadened to encompass the full breadth of what Afinis Interoperability Standards has to offer.
What about the IFX Specification?
Nothing changes. Our commitment to the IFX standard continues under Afinis. Your access to the Business Message Specification (BMS) is unchanged whether you are a Member or Subscriber or have been accessing the BMS as a Guest.
When NACHA and IFX Forum announced the Strategic Combination Agreement earlier this year, both organizations made clear that our shared belief is that the combined competencies and reach of the IFX Forum and ASIG provide for synergies and strengths to enable us to more fully support financial services innovation and efficiency. As the governing body in the U.S. for standardized APIs and other standards (IFX v1.x and v2.x), we will define API standardization via broad and inclusive global member participation while continuing to support the IFX standard. Using the latest technology to address the business needs of the financial services industry, through Afinis we will:
- Ensure consistent strategy, definition, development, review and maintenance of standards and guidelines for usage of the APIs
- Coordinate and manage versions
- Work with the industry to achieve interoperability
- Develop, update and review the relevant security, data and technical guidelines for the API usage on an ongoing basis
- Respond to needs for other standards as they arise
Afinis is all about Interoperability Standards and that has been a key part of the IFX Forum heritage as well. Capitalizing on our organizations’ combined heritage of focus on interoperability, rules and standards, we will accelerate innovation and strengthen the development of standardized APIs and other financial services standards in areas where standards adoption brings efficiency and innovation to diverse, global stakeholders.
Read more about Afinis Interoperability Standards here.
In a joint press release today, IFX Forum and NACHA – The Electronic Payments Association announce their intent to pursue a strategic combination.
NACHA and IFX Forum have two primary goals for this merger:
1. Accelerate industry standard API development. This combination will accelerate and strengthen the development of standardized APIs by combining the efforts of IFX and NACHA in support of diverse, global financial services industry stakeholders.
2. Leverage common infrastructure and member participation. This combination allows members to develop and leverage a common infrastructure over time, and focus more of their standardization efforts through a single organization, providing efficiency for the industry and ensuring a unified delivery platform.
The IFX Forum Board of Directors feels strongly that this merger will bring exceptional energy, positive benefits and increased value to IFX Forum members.
The merger is subject to consent by IFX Forum members. Upon approval, the organizations expect to close a definitive agreement by the end of March 2018.
There are many reasons why this strategic combination makes sense.
Aligned API development efforts. NACHA and IFX Forum see great value in aligning the API development priorities of both the API Standardization Industry Group (ASIG) and the IFX Open Banking API Work Group.
Both organizations share common interests. The combination of NACHA and IFX enables natural and timely alignment that is synergistic and healthy for all stakeholders from technical, business and operational perspectives.
Additional resources. NACHA supports and provides resources for ASIG. With IFX Forum as a part of the NACHA organization, additional member resources can be brought to both the ASIG and IFX API Work Group efforts.
Technical and global expertise. IFX brings NACHA additional technical expertise in the area of API message development and a broad perspective on global requirements for interoperability.
Beyond payments. NACHA is an established leader in payment and adjacent standards. IFX adds financial standardization expertise beyond payments to include core banking, branch banking, corporate banking, card management, loans and more.
Industry innovation. IFX is an established leader in standards for banking. NACHA’s diverse membership beyond financial institutions will accelerate innovation and widen applicability of the merged organization. Together, the organizations will be able to build more relevant standards in existing and new business domains.
API leadership. The collective talents of IFX and ASIG members will lead the development of standardized APIs, as well as other standards where it’s important for diverse financial services industry stakeholders to come together.
So, what does this mean to you?
Independence and community. IFX Forum will continue to operate individually as an independent group within NACHA. The merger brings IFX Forum into a larger community with greater organizational support.
Continuity. IFX will continue to support and enhance its standards. The intellectual property for those standards will be preserved and available to all IFX Forum members.
Continued international impact. IFX’s international impact and global participation will continue via memberships in ISO 20022 and other international standards bodies.
Clearer business requirements. The business-centric approach of NACHA members will enable clearer business requirements definition, driving more focused and relevant technology development.
Increased value. The combination adds resources and expertise in the API space, increasing the value of IFX Forum for existing and prospective members and subscribers.
If you’re already an IFX member, now is the perfect time to get more involved in our active working groups to help form the future of our standard.
If you’re an IFX subscriber, now is the perfect time to increase your influence on the standard by becoming an IFX member.
We hope you’re as excited as we are about the tremendous potential for this strategic combination!
IFX Forum members may direct questions about this proposed transaction to Rich Urban or Anita Brady.
IFX Forum President Rich Urban’s views on the future of APIs in banking have been published at the “Future of Everything” website.
He starts out by saying “In technology spheres the concept of APIs is hardly new. Why all the hullaballoo these days over Open Banking APIs?” Read the rest of his thought-provoking comments at http://www.futureofeverything.io/2017/05/10/future-apis/.
The growing trend for banks to open themselves to interoperability enabled by APIs can lead to dramatic shifts in the marketplace. In September 2016, IFX President, Rich Urban and Traxiant CEO, Roger Bass, published this white paper and presented it to a large group of vendors and banks interested in the subject.
The white paper focuses on one particular capability that can be easily imagined as part of the ecosystem that can evolve from Standardized Banking API protocols. Among other things, we conclude that conditions are ripe for banks, vendors and other service providers to join forces to realize the IoP potential. We further propose that this work can be an early example of how Standardized Banking APIs can be developed and managed in such a way as to create competitive advantage for early adopters.
Take a look at this PowerPoint Summary of the white paper . Standardized Banking APIs and the Internet of Payments Sept 2016 and the white paper itself Building the Internet of Payments for Business 20160816.