July 4, 2018
mm Written by:
Ralf Ohlhausen
Business Development Director
A further update on the API Evaluation Group

In January this year, the European Commission (EC) created the API Evaluation Group (API EG) with the support of the Euro Retail Payments Board (ERPB) of the European Central Bank (ECB). For the time up to June 2018, this industry body was tasked to advise the API initiatives, which have been established within or across several EU countries, about what their standards for application programming interfaces (APIs) for use in open banking should provide, in order to “look good” in the eyes of the represented market stakeholders.

I had summarised the API EG activities on the first two meetings here, and this follow-up now describes the group’s work as published up to now, which covers the months of February to April:

February: compiling requirements and started the dialogue with the key API initiatives

Following a conf call on 22-Feb, the group held meetings on 27 & 28-Feb, as well as a workshop with the five API Initiatives (APIIs), which were invited and agreed to participate (the Berlin Group, Open Banking UK, STET, Polish Bank Association and Slovak Banking Association).

Prior to the workshop, the group agreed a list of requirements, eight of which were then disclosed to the APIIs at the workshop to give an idea of the discussions and conclusions of the API EG up to that point:

The API EG also established 5 technical subgroups, one each per APII, out of the 27 technical experts the members were able to delegate to the more technical evaluations where necessary.

The group also established a first list of so-called “hot topics”, which need focus and, if possible, should be resolved:

The EBA attended every meeting since 27-Feb and explained that it was quite unusual for a supervisory body to become a participant of such a group and that even though the EBA is not an active observer it does not mean that they will remain silent. The API EG as such can hope but cannot expect that its guidance will be taken into account by the NCAs and it should be clarified that the presence of observers on the API EG does not imply that the observers agree with the views expressed and documents published by the API EG. However, the EBA agreed to convey the views of the group to the NCAs and provide feedback to the group, where appropriate and possible.

During the workshop, the APIIs gave an update about their work so far, and the API EG clarified its role. The conclusions were that:

March: tackled the hot topics

Since the evaluation of the APIIs was still ongoing, a large part of the meeting on 27-Mar focused on the hot topics and getting a common understanding of the different views around the table:

April: hard work on requirements and hot topics

During a conf call on 12-Apr the group reviewed the process on the API standard requirements list with the aim to complete it at the next meeting, which then happened on 23-Apr.

First however, the group reviewed progress on the hot topics and managed to agree their recommendation on “redirection”, which was then published here.

Unfortunately, there was less progress on the other hot topics, and whilst they were all discussed again at length and in detail, it was not possible to resolve any other one at that stage.

The list of “API Standard Requirements” was almost complete and it was agreed that in order to make the engagement with the API standard initiatives more effective, the requirements should be rephrased into ‘SMART’ (yes/no) questions in line with a harmonised view of what a good API should look like. This way the initiatives will not need to assess whether they are compliant, they will only need to provide a factual response (i.e. yes/no and clarify why yes/no). In case API initiatives would not support certain features then the list of questions will provide an early warning system to identify potential issues.


A lot has happened since, but I have to await the public release of the following meeting minutes, before I can summarize and comment on them in my next blog about the API EG work.

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