In what has become a classic story in the financial technology space, the start-ups that were born out of a professed desire to disrupt the banking industry have evolved to rely on and partner with incumbents for distribution, access to investment and loan capital, and scale. In areas as diverse as lending, investing, deposits, and merchant services, fintech companies have demonstrated value by innovating quickly and operating flexibly. Those are attractive features for bankers struggling to keep up with customers’ increasing expectations for their digital services.

But the challenges of integration are always looming, with bankers facing issues like brand recognition and volatility and security experience of a potential partner, and determining issues like level of access granted. That’s why a handful of FIs have led the way in building APIs. As the industry moves into 2017 and beyond, consensus is building among forward-thinking bankers for a change in the partnership model toward one based on positioning the bank as a platform on which a plethora of third-party services and customers are able to connect through an API. Javelin expects that the industry will see an explosion in the number of players involved and use cases explored.