60 second with Eyal Sivan, Head of Strategic Platforms, Enterprise Architecture at CIBC

23 Aug 2019

Head of Strategic Platforms, Enterprise Architecture, CIBC – Eyal Sivan, joins the panel for the leaders debate at Open Banking Expo, Canada on 18 September. Join Eyal and other high-profile leaders as they debate where Open Banking is heading for some of the leading banks, and what is next strategically.

Q: Explain what you do in less than 50 words

I am the product owner for CIBC’s internal strategic platforms, including the API Foundation, our award-winning API platform. My goal Is to help our internal developers use these platforms to build innovative technology products as quickly, cheaply and easily as possible.

Q: Why did you choose to speak at Open Banking Expo Canada?

The rise of Open Banking around the world has led to a broad recognition here at home that we must catch up in order to remain competitive on the global stage. As one of the first dedicated open banking events in Canada, the Open Banking Expo seemed like an excellent opportunity to be at the forefront of the dialogue. Local open banking activity has only increased since the event was originally planned, and events like the Expo are a great way to drive the right discussions.

Q: What are the challenges to overcome before Canada can implement Open Banking?

The Canadian banking sector has a reputation for being measured and cautious. In many ways, it was this caution that enabled Canada to emerge from the 2008 Great Recession virtually unscathed, so it is often considered a virtue. However, this risk-averse temperament is causing us to fall behind in terms of technological innovation and consumer choice, relative to other markets. A major challenge facing the adoption of open banking in Canada is addressing this balance between cautious attention to financial stability and innovation driven by the broad sharing of consumer financial data.

Q: If Open Banking is implemented in Canada, what are your predictions for the future of its financial landscape?

In many ways, Canada is an ideal region to develop open banking. We already have a secure federal identity scheme (Verified.Me) and are making great strides in payment modernization, with both schemes supported by the large incumbents. Our government has mature IT organizations operating at federal and provincial levels, and global technology leaders continue to bring their talent and knowledge to our cities. Open banking will serve as a powerful catalyst to bring all these ingredients together, leading to innovative financial products, increased financial literacy, and more consumer choice.

Q: What Open Banking initiatives has your organisation undertaken so far?

Although CIBC has not published any open APIs yet, we are taking several steps to ensure we are prepared for the arrival of open banking. First and foremost, we are working very hard to make sure we build APIs the right way internally, using a common platform, based on a robust and scalable microservices architecture – our platform, the API Foundation, has received multiple industry accolades. Second, we are identifying opportunities to create useful, revenue-generating API products through exploratory events like hackathons, the last of which was called ‘CIBC Hacks Open Banking’.

Q: Outside of the banking sector, which industries do you see benefiting from Open Banking? Will they be quick to adopt the principles?

Just as banking services permeate all of commerce today, they will continue to do so tomorrow in the world of digital commerce. Open banking will only accelerate and deepen this process, via open standards and facilities than enable a broad ecosystem of participants to move money in a more frictionless way. Ultimately, open banking will benefit any industry that expects to receive payments, buy goods and services, or manage money – so, all of them.