The Open Finance system and the comprehensive finance API platform stand to revolutionize the growth of the MSMEs in the Asia-Pacific region, specifically the Philippines. Its forecasted trajectory of growth can be instrumental to finally providing financial access to the underserved and unrepresented market, which mainly consists of the millions of unbanked Filipinos. Brankas, Southeast Asia’s leading Open Finance technology company and which has an office in the NCR, has positioned itself to accelerate this significant industry growth through the close of its US$20m Series B investment round led by Insignia Ventures Partners with participation from Visa and existing investors Beenext and Integra Partners.
Todd Schweitzer, CEO of Brankas, emphasizes the immense possibilities of Open Finance especially in the region and which will also take root in the Philippines. He says, “Open Finance is about more than just payments or banking. Our work at Brankas building Southeast Asia’s next-generation financial services infrastructure has unlocked opportunities for new financial product development, in a region that has historically been dominated by large brick-and-mortar incumbents. Thanks to our growing network of partners and customers, we are continuously deepening our understanding of these opportunities and leading the development of solutions to open these doors for them here in Southeast Asia.”
“Brankas is the first in the region to launch banking-as-a-service APIs for account opening and credit card issuance. In the Philippines, Brankas participated as the first approved financial API service provider in the country’s Open Finance pilot,” Schweitzer adds.
According to Samir Chaibi, Principal at Insignia Ventures Partners, “The Open Finance industry is powering the next generation of fintech services and Brankas is at the forefront of this movement in Southeast Asia. We are thrilled to partner with a team with a world-class API-driven infrastructure built across key Southeast Asian markets to serve the largest fintech players as they scale. We have also been impressed by Brankas’s approach to market development and their ability to launch and scale their products in a regulatory compliant manner, while ensuring that developers benefit from a reliable and stable source of banking and financial data and beyond.”
Visa also participated in the round, marking the global payment network’s commitment to the fast-developing Open Finance ecosystem in Southeast Asia. Brankas was selected as one of the five participants in Visa’s 2021 Accelerator Program and jointly developed with it a digital credit card issuance proposition using Visa’s data capabilities.
Brankas has worked with non-bank providers like remittance companies and e-wallets to offer Open Finance solutions that can reach previously untapped customer segments. It also serves companies that need financial data and embedded fintech services – from technology companies, traditional brick-and-mortar leaders with online channels, to financial institutions looking to provide a financial marketplace or embedded finance experience to their customers.
Across Philippine industries and use cases, Brankas offers a compliant, reliable, and secure system at scale to simplify the local complexities of building and operating fintech products and services. Their technology and services empower Philippine companies, especially MSMEs, to digitalize, boost and strengthen their e-commerce capabilities, and possibly reach new markets.
Meanwhile for fintech companies, Brankas is a bridge to critical data needs for verification or scoring processes that would have otherwise taken much longer to develop and optimize for users. These use cases also extend beyond financial services, with companies in sectors like e-commerce also using their APIs to verify and secure payments on their platforms.
Schweitzer elaborates, “Those of us who are used to online payment see that it is a breeze and take that speed for granted. But a lot of important processes happen behind the scenes. Without them, the accounts won’t be verified and the orders will never come through. Again not all Philippine companies have the platform to verify customer and their banking data, which are needed to allow an online sale. Brankas removes those limitations in order to allow data verification and online payment to continue seamlessly and safely as possible. Local companies will have more trust in dealing with their partners and customers, while customers can rest easy knowing that their data is protected and that their payments are secure.”
With this new investment from Insignia Venture and Visa, Brankas is also expected to scale its network of more than 40 financial institutions and 100+ technology companies, expand its product menu of banking-as-a-service APIs serving customers across 6 markets in Asia, and double its staff across 17 countries. Schweitzer forecasts that the investment will help Brankas expand its customer acquisition, empowering Philippine companies in data security, online transactions, and e-commerce.
Schweitzer shares his outlook for Brankas: “2021 has been a breakout year for Brankas, enabling financial institutions and companies to partner in new ways and offering unprecedented choice and access for our Southeast Asian consumers. We are now even more primed to pioneer new products and use cases for the Philippines’ next generation of financial services.”