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APIs are often viewed as potential solutions for traditional financial institutions, particularly small and midsize banks, to partner with upstart financial technology companies (fintechs) to offer innovate products, especially to low-income customers. In practice, however, due to the maturity of the fintech market, fear of losing competitive advantage, and a variety of strategic errors in planning for and developing APIs, smaller banks and fintechs do not often succeed in deploying API solutions for inclusive finance.  In this report from Centre for Financial Inclusion, summarises nearly two dozen interviews with leaders at fintech companies, small and midsize banks, and large financial institutions, and explores the extent to which APIs are meeting their potential to facilitate bank and fintech partnerships that advance financial inclusion. The paper breaks down what API integrations between banks and fintechs look like and how typical deployments work, and offers four recommendations for how to improve API deployments between banks and fintechs to deliver financial services to underserved communities.

Centre for Financial Inclusion
The Center for Financial Inclusion at Accion (CFI) engages and challenges the industry to better serve, protect and empower clients. We develop insights, advocate on behalf of clients and collaborate with stakeholders to achieve a comprehensive vision for financial inclusion. We are dedicated to enabling 3 billion people who are left out of – or poorly served by – the financial sector to improve their lives.

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