CFPB and Open Banking: The New Era of Banking

Diogo Marques
May 7, 2024
min reading time

CFPB and Open Banking: the New Era of Banking

As technology continues to reshape our financial management practices, it’s essential for depository financial institutions like banks, credit unions, and even non-depository institutions like fintechs and other financial service providers—including those involved in loyalty programs and digital payment processing—to embrace and adapt to open banking principles.

Given the complexity of a financial institution’s tech infrastructure and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's significant market oversight, financial service providers would be wise to act now. A proactive strategy can ensure competitiveness and position them as leaders in open banking ecosystems, compliance with the CFPB’s proposed regulations under Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act will prove crucial.

CFPB and Open Banking APIs

Open Banking and CFPB Section 1033

What is open banking, in a nutshell?

Open banking refers to the practice of securely sharing financial information electronically, allowing customers to grant third-party providers access to their financial data held by banks and other financial institutions. This data sharing is facilitated through Application Programming Interfaces (APIs), enabling innovative financial services and products to be developed and deployed, impacting consumer finances through embedded finance services.

Overview of the CFPB and Section 1033

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is the U.S. federal regulatory agency responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws in the financial sector. The rule proposal – expanding on Section 1033 of the Dodd-Frank Act, enacted to protect consumers from the excessive risk-taking that led to the 2008 financial crisis, requires financial services providers to make available to consumers (and representatives acting on their behalf), consumer financial information in those providers' control.

Going Beyond Compliance

Adhering to CFPB guidelines does more than create a transparent and interconnected financial ecosystem; it also ensures that businesses can go beyond compliance and thrive in the new era of open banking. Let’s take a closer look at Sicredi,  Brazil's largest and oldest credit union, serving a network of over 7.5 million individual members. Recognizing the immense potential of data consent and interoperability, Sicredi embraced open banking early on, taking on the challenge of leveraging an open finance ecosystem to enhance its products and services. “Our main expectation with Open Finance was to introduce people to the advantages offered by credit unions, fostering an environment of transparency and choice.” explains Paula Daniela Fantinel, Group Product Manager of Open Finance. Instead of viewing open banking as a regulatory obstacle, Sicredi focused on placing the customer at the heart of all strategic decisions. This approach empowered members with control over their financial data, unlocking personalized automated offers and services, including qualifying pre-approved limits. See the case study here.

Understanding Open Banking and Its Advantages

Rodney Abele, Director of Regulatory and Legislative Affairs at The Clearing House (TCH), says open banking compliance is a real challenge: “That is a very tight timeline,” referring to CFPB’s proposed staggered schedule based on asset and revenue thresholds. The proposed start can be as early as Q1 2025 for larger banking institutions. This timeline can present a massive challenge for smaller regional banks, credit unions, and fintechs that do not have a robust internal IT department or knowledge of open banking practices or open API ecosystems.

The reality, however, is that open banking presents numerous benefits for both consumers and businesses. By allowing financial data communication across different platforms and institutions through standardized APIs rather than relying on traditional screen scraping methods, open banking improves the protection and security of consumer data, promoting efficiency and innovation. Through open banking, consumers can access a wider range of personalized products and services tailored to their specific needs, while businesses can leverage data insights to enhance decision-making and create more targeted offerings.

Challenges versus Opportunities in Open Banking

While the potential benefits of open banking are substantial, financial institutions face several challenges in achieving compliance with regulatory requirements. These challenges include:

  • Navigating complex data-sharing frameworks
  • Managing user authorization and consent verification
  • Ensuring data privacy and security

Overcoming these challenges can generate significant opportunities for innovation and competitive differentiation, as evidenced by the success of institutions like Sicredi, whose strategy surrounding open finance data on credit decisions has presented an opportunity to enhance financial analysis and build stronger relationships with members.

With access to a comprehensive 360-degree view of members’ financial footprint, Sicredi enhanced its credit offerings, including qualifying pre-approved limits and providing personalized, automated offers. “There is a lot of potential to explore and value to extract from Open Finance. We have a long journey of good opportunities for Sicredi and our associates, including developments in experience, use of data and mobility of payment transactions”, commented Paula Daniela Fantinel, Group Product Manager of Open Finance at Sicredi.

How to Navigate Open Banking Beyond Compliance

To leverage the full potential of open banking for business growth and go beyond compliance obligations, financial institutions must begin taking action early and adopting strategic approaches that prioritize data security, transparency, and collaboration. Some proactive measures include:

  • Building robust data-sharing frameworks
  • Implementing advanced API Management
  • Investing in composable architecture

These measures are crucial for organizations in establishing a solid foundation to power a true open banking ecosystem, where credit unions and fintechs can connect directly to banks and each other without intermediaries, and partnerships and embedded finance can flourish. Businesses that lay the groundwork early will undoubtedly maximize their open banking ecosystem potential, leading to better consumer offerings that increase trust and loyalty.

The Role of Fintechs in Open Banking Adoption

Fintechs and non-depository institutions will also play a pivotal role in accelerating the adoption of open banking principles. For example, by developing innovative solutions and technologies that facilitate seamless data sharing and interoperability, like the ISO 20022 Real-Time Payments Group (RTPG), paytechs can partner with community banks and smaller financial institutions to unlock new opportunities for market differentiation, driving competition with the bigger banks. Additionally, credit union service organizations, or CUSOs, can keep credit unions technologically competitive and act as catalysts for innovation, pushing traditional credit unions to embrace the digital transformation driven by open banking innovation and adapt to evolving consumer and market demands.

How to Successfully Enable Open Banking

Successful open banking implementation requires agility in collaboration and a commitment to improving the communication between traditional consumer financial products. Banks, credit unions, and fintechs must all prioritize building strong partnerships, facilitating connectivity and interoperability, and ensuring data privacy and security. This collaboration will help provide seamless and transparent communication between different systems, ultimately improving the products and features that reach the consumer. By starting this process early, from educating their teams to implementing best practices, financial institutions can minimize risks and maximize the benefits of a true open banking ecosystem for all stakeholders involved.

Case Studies of Successful Open Banking Initiatives

Several players have already embarked on successful open banking initiatives, demonstrating the transformative potential of this model. Sensedia, a pioneer in open banking named “Best Open Banking Solutions Provider” by the Fintech Awards,  has already helped 40 clients enable “true” open banking solutions, from digital payment platforms to personalized financial management apps, where the institution has full control over their business without relying on data aggregators or other intermediaries. The examples below showcase how open banking can drive innovation and improve customer experiences while creating new revenue stream opportunities. They serve as a great learning resource for U.S. financial institutions that look to establish true open banking ecosystems.

• Sicredi Credit Union

• Cielo Paytech

• Unicred Credit Union

• Rendimento Bank

• Original Bank

• Bank BMG

• Topazio Bank

The Future of the CFPB and Open Banking

CFPB Director Rohit Chopra has stated that they intend to finalize the rule by Fall 2024. This initiative poses an aggressive timeline, with some institutions facing a compliance deadline as early as Q1 2025. Given the significant scope and complexity, all affected institutions should take proactive steps to avoid lagging behind the competition. It is also important to recognize that these regulations will inevitably evolve, making it crucial for institutions to invest in adaptable solutions.

As technology progresses, financial institutions will need to adjust their strategies and capabilities to stay competitive and compliant. Therefore, it is in the best interest of banks, credit unions, and fintechs to maintain full control over their open banking solutions and not rely on intermediaries such as data aggregators, which could face additional scrutiny and complexity.

We continuously look at emerging trends such as artificial intelligence (AI) and the blockchain and expect these and other trends to shape the future of financial service regulations and customer demands, presenting new challenges and opportunities for the financial landscape as a whole.


In conclusion, the CFPB push for open banking represents a fundamental shift in the financial services landscape, driven by technological innovation and regulatory reform. Financial institutions that quickly embrace and adopt open banking principles while prioritizing customer demands will not only improve their competitive position but also build trust and loyalty among consumers. By adopting an API-first strategy, building ecosystem partnerships, and rapidly embracing innovation, open banking presents a big opportunity for those early adopters to experience major successes in the API economy.


What is open banking, and how does it differ from traditional banking?

  • Open banking refers to the practice of securely sharing financial data electronically, allowing customers to grant third-party providers access to their financial information held by banks. Unlike traditional banking, open banking enables greater transparency, innovation, and competition in the financial industry.

What is screen scraping, and how is it affected by open banking?

  • Screen scraping is a method used to extract data from websites. Third-party providers often use it to access bank customer login data. With the advent of open banking, which mandates banks to provide secure and standardized APIs for data access, the risks associated with sharing sensitive data are greatly reduced, providing more secure data access compared to traditional screen scraping methods.

What are the key benefits of open banking for consumers?

  • Open banking offers consumers greater convenience, choice, security, and control over their financial data. It enables them to access a wider range of personalized products and services, to compare offerings from different providers, and to manage their finances more effectively.

How can financial institutions ensure compliance with CFPB regulations in the era of open banking?

  • Financial institutions can achieve compliance with CFPB regulations by implementing robust data-sharing frameworks, investing in secure API management technology, and prioritizing a composable infrastructure that allows for enhanced connectivity with other financial institutions.

What role do fintechs play in driving open banking adoption?

  • Fintechs play a crucial role in driving open banking adoption by developing innovative solutions and technologies that facilitate seamless data sharing and interoperability. They act as catalysts for innovation, pushing banks and credit unions to embrace open banking to provide better customer experience and financial offerings.

What are the future trends and challenges in open banking and CFPB compliance?

  • Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and blockchain are expected to shape the future of open banking and CFPB compliance. Financial institutions will need to adapt their strategies and capabilities to remain competitive and compliant in this evolving regulatory and technological landscape.

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