Making a difference in banking with APIs

Application programming interfaces (APIs) are making a difference for businesses which embrace the technology for unique, tailored use cases helping them stand out from the competition.

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While APIs remain “to some degree, an unknown quantity” for many businesses, ANZ has made progress with several customers and that was beginning to pay off for them, according to Leigh Mahoney, Head of Wholesale Digital at ANZ.

"When I talk about helping customers enable their own strategy, this is really the secret sauce that sits behind that.” – Leigh Mahoney, Head of Wholesale Digital at ANZ.

“We've been able [to use APIs] to help a few different customers make a difference,” Mahoney told ANZ Institutional Insights podcast, “and make a real difference.”

For Mahoney, the winning ingredient is the ability of APIs to help users stand out from the crowd.

“What [API users] are looking for is that differentiator,” he said. “What is going to help them be better than their competitors? And what edge can it give them to help them execute their strategy?”

You can listen to Mahoney on the podcast below.


What customers want

Mahoney said ANZ had helped roll out APIs in areas such as client money management and insurance claim payments, both of which had been a success.

“We've also seen travel insurers use APIs to consume flight-delay and cancellation data and then provide their policyholders back with proactive payments for events covered - in near-real time. That's a differentiator,” he said.

Mahoney said the bank's approach to APIs came from a conscious decision to be a leader rather than a follower in the space.

“[At ANZ], we offer a number of very discrete API services to customers that can be consumed by them, that are single purpose,” he said.

Other providers can offer large, complex offerings which are multifaceted but conversely require high levels of development and maintenance.

“Our approach is actually to be very focussed by providing sharp APIs to do one thing only,” Mahoney said. “An API that does one thing is easy to guarantee. An API that does 200 things and needs interpretation is a lot harder to guarantee. Our approach… is to be sharply focussed on what our customers really want.”

Secret sauce

These less-complex APIs are changing the traditional relationship between banks and customers, Mahoney said. In the past, banks would create solutions customers would shop for and consume.

“But the product was what we defined as a bank, not what the customer might want,” Mahoney said. “In an API world, we create a number of services… that can then be curated by the customer into their product and their product offering.”

How customers ultimately apply the solution is up to them. What ANZ provides is not so much products but more digital frameworks, or building blocks, “a customer can use to create their own product enablement.”

“When I talk about helping customers enable their own strategy, this is really the secret sauce that sits behind that,” Mahoney said.

Sibos is finally back. After two years in the digital wilderness due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the best minds in the financial services industry will meet in person again – this time in Amsterdam.

From October 10 to 13, the Sibos Financial Services Conference will provide a platform for industry participants to delve into the trends which will shape the sector into 2023 and beyond.

ANZ Institutional Insights will provide market-leading insights in the lead up to the event. These thought-leading conversations from ANZ’s industry experts will offer a sneak peek at the ideas set to dominate the conference – and the future of the industry.


Mahoney said the approach to APIs in ANZ’s local markets of Australian and New Zealand was less advanced than elsewhere in the world.

“We are seeing a lot more demand for balance and payment APIs from corporate treasurers in Asia, especially in Hong Kong and Singapore,” he said.

Mahoney said the opportunity for businesses in these markets to use APIs was large – if they are willing.

“I think we've got a real opportunity to help our customers out but they need to be ready,” he said.

Mahoney also touched on the drivers for businesses reluctant to embrace APIs and the upcoming Sibos financial services conference in October.

Listen to the podcast to find out more.

Shane White is an editor at ANZ Institutional Insights

The views and opinions expressed in this communication are those of the author and may not necessarily state or reflect those of ANZ.

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