The legislative ceiling that prevents the takeoff of the «fintech» ecosystem

The transposition of the European directive on mobile payments (PSD2) is very delayed in Spain. In principle, this directive should have come into force last January, but this did not happen. Thus, and as dictated by the European Commission itself, should enter no later than September 2019 if you do not want to suffer economic sanctions. This delay is damaging in our country to the banking sector and to the "fintech", those technological companies that offer financial services, since this directive allows the "fintech" of the territory of the European Union to access the data of the clients of the traditional banks, as long as they authorize it, and that the banks of a country operate in Spain and vice versa.

The banking sector is heading towards a transformation where the experience of the customer and the digitalization of the processes will determine the viability of the companies. That is why banks and fintech seek to go hand in hand to make the Spanish sector more competitive in the future. However, there are voices that criticize the attitude of traditional banking, showing reluctance to this openness. In fact, they focus the delay of the implementation of the PSD2 to this sector. «It bothers them that third parties can access their customers' data. They believe that delaying everything benefits them, but in reality it hurts them, "Jordi Pérez, co-founder and CEO of Unnax, a startup that offers financial services, recently explained in a press conference. He warned, in turn, that our country is in the tail when it comes to adapting to PSD2, a drag on competitiveness if we compare with Germany, France or Luxembourg, countries where this regulation is already implemented.

Ireland, with a license that allows it to operate throughout Europe, is the country that obtains the most revenue from Brexit

These words did not sit well in the banking sector, which, from its employers, the AEB, came out to deny that the delays were the fault of the banks. In fact, its spokesman, José Luis Martínez Campuzano, explains that "the regulatory delay harms the bank as much as or more than the new competitors." It also ensures that national entities are prepared to operate with the new European payments directive, both allowing access according to the directive and offering new services to customers. However, he added that a "normative protection" was needed to guarantee the safety of the clients, something that at the moment is not possible. For this, banks must make public the programming interfaces of applications (APIs). From the AEB ensures that entities want to advance the provision of the interfaces to order the best possible way and safely access third parties, but most of them still can not.

For its part, the Spanish Association of Fintech (AEFI) does not share that the bank is responsible for the delay of the PSD2. In the words of his vice president, Arturo González, he assures that unofficial voices of the process attributed him to the political instability of the last years. "There is an intrinsic problem in our country when it comes to taking European directives forward. Right now there are around 20 laws without transposing, so I think there are inefficiencies in how a law is transposed. We are not able to isolate those who must do it from other political problems, "he says.

Lost opportunity
Be that as it may, the delay in the implementation of the PSD2 is causing other problems added to the "fintech". In the first place, since there is no approved legal framework, national companies can not operate outside our borders. In addition, to this is added that the companies that provide payment initiation services (PISP) ​​and the banking account aggregators (AISP) need a payment institution entity license. Here in Spain the average to obtain it is one year, according to Unnax, while in other countries, such as Ireland, it takes only two months.

The Irish country is the preferred one of the «fintech» to settle down. In fact, as its culture is similar to that of the United Kingdom, it is welcoming all those who are leaving for the Brexit. Despite the fact that many of them came to see our country to settle, finally, the delay in granting the license, the delay in the implementation of the regulations and that with the Irish license can be operated throughout the EU are causing the leak to be towards Ireland.

The GAFA, the real problem for banking
The new payment directive in Europe will end up breaking the borders between EU countries and providing a more digital service. All banks must renew or die and try to offer an experience according to the demands of the technological customer. In the dawn, the traditional bank did show problems with the arrival of the "fintech", but soon realized the need for collaboration between the two. Because if there is something that banks lack, "it is the application of new technologies", says Jordi Pérez. A quality that new financial players do have.

Also, the other co-founder and CEO of Unnax, Julian Diaz Santos, says that the real enemy of banking is not the "fintech", but the big technology companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Apple (the GAFA). "They are more prepared to capture the customer because they have money, technology and a large database." In fact, some already have a banking license in Ireland, so the landing of these companies in the world of finance is closer than ever. .

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