Groupe BPCE, one of France’s largest banking groups, stands at the center of a dynamic open banking ecosystem powered by APIs. Headquartered in Paris, the group’s 105,000 employees deliver a comprehensive range of banking and insurance services. BPCE provides more than 20 percent of all financing in the French economy.
In a recent interview, Vincent Mouden, Product Manager for the BPCE team known as the “API Factory,” sat down with our own Emmanuel Methivier to discuss BPCE’s vision for a thriving open banking ecosystem.
Urbanizing IT resources
BPCE started on their API-driven journey in 2018, choosing Axway’s Amplify Platform as the foundation of an ecosystem that today supports more than 7 billion flows per month, 350 consumer applications, and a central catalog of more than 180 APIs.
The overall effort was part of an “urbanization” initiative within BPCE’s IT organization.
The urbanization of IT is a strategy for managing and organizing information technology (IT) resources within a business or organization. It involves breaking down large, monolithic IT systems into smaller, more manageable parts, or “services,” which can be combined and reused to meet specific business needs.
This approach is similar to the way a city is organized, with different neighborhoods providing different services and amenities to residents.
In an IT context, urbanization can involve creating a service-oriented architecture (SOA), which allows different software applications to communicate and share data with each other. This can help to reduce duplication and improve efficiency, as well as making it easier to develop new applications and services.
“The goal of urbanization is to make IT more agile and responsive to changing business needs,” explains Axway Catalyst Emmanuel Methivier. “By breaking down complex IT systems into smaller parts, organizations can more easily adapt to new technologies and changing market conditions. It can also help to reduce costs, as resources can be shared more efficiently across different departments and projects.”
Overall, the urbanization of IT is a way to create a more flexible and adaptable IT infrastructure, which can better support the needs of the business.
Evolving toward an API-first view
Vincent Mouden, Project Manager BPCE API Factory, explains how the ecosystem evolved—first serving internal developers and more recently external subsidiaries and partners integrating BPCE offerings into their digital services and portals.
“We called our first phase decentralize, providing APIs to our internal producers and consumers and ensuring that all our products integrate APIs into their portfolios,” Mouden says. “Next, we externalized, offering APIs to our branches and our IT departments, along with private retail and savings banks. And now we’re working with our partners, using APIs to integrate our services into their portals, web, and mobile applications.”
See BPCE API expert Vincent Moudin discuss the bank’s evolution to a powerful financial services ecosystem below.
Building on a scalable platform
Amplify enables organizations to design, test, deploy, and manage APIs from a single, scalable platform, with integrated analytics to help uncover insights into usage and enable API monetization strategies.
By embracing a single, central catalog of APIs, Groupe BPCE can implement consistent governance and information security policies across the entire organization, and enable tightly integrated operations across all business units.
Crucially, APIs add a flexible integration layer on top of existing systems, enabling the group to achieve integration without the cost, complexity and risk of ripping and replacing legacy systems in use across the business.
“One of our long-term strategic objectives is to deepen the integration between all parts of the group, and APIs are a powerful way to achieve that goal,” says Frederic Pinaud, Groupe BPCE IT Program Director. “By offering a unified, highly secure platform, we can liberate our business units to focus on their own objectives while ensuring that everyone in the group is following the same best-practice approaches for service development.”
Read why universal API management is the foundation for bringing all APIs into view.
Taking an industrial approach
In addition to creating new APIs as demands grow, Groupe BPCE is working towards an industrialized development approach based on CI/CD [continuous integration, continuous delivery].
The company is also renewing its gateway architecture, going from a handful of gateways to potentially 150 that are specialized for individual use cases and services.
“To compete effectively in today’s banking environment, it’s crucial to bring value-added services to market with the kind of agility that fintech companies have,” says Pinaud.
“In the years ahead, APIs will become increasingly important to deliver services efficiently and at low cost to our customers and nurture their loyalty. The Amplify Platform offers us the secure, scalable platform we need to drive open banking innovation.”
Learn about the value open banking and finance APIs can bring to your business.