June 5, 2022

What Is BIAN?


What is BIAN? For anyone in the banking, insurance, and finance industries – understanding BIAN standards and practices is critical to digital competitiveness.

The Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) is a global collective non-profit group of technology providers, banks, academics, and consultants who partner to create digital standards and best practices in service-oriented architecture (SOA) and banking APIs. This collaborative seeks to streamline digital banking practices and improve interoperability in the face of rapid customer change and digital transformation.

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Why Do BIAN APIs Matter?

BIAN semantic APIs are a collection of banking-related APIs that live in a single portal and are available for organizations to incorporate in their API management strategy. These public APIs speed time-to-market and improve banking best practices for financial organizations who adopt them.

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The banking and finance industries have evolved rapidly in recent years. As customers have changed digital purchasing behavior, financial institutions must meet new demands. The always-on economy, digital disruption, and new mobile payment applications have all combined to put pressure on financial institutions to change at breakneck pace.

Organizations have put forth a variety of frameworks and tools for modernizing digital banking practices, incorporating APIs, and meeting customer demands. So how do all these trends fit together?

Open Banking and BIAN

Open Banking is a series of European regulations enabling customer data ownership through modern API practices. While it started in Europe, open banking has become a global phenomenon. In short, it’s all about requiring banks to modernize and best serve customers. A revised payments services directive (PSD2) was released in 2016 requiring European banks to adopt new digital standards by 2018.

Here’s how Open Banking matters in context of BIAN:

  • Financial institutions operating in Europe are required to adopt Open Banking standards.
  • Financial institutions worldwide have begun adopting similar standards.
  • BIAN methodologies enable interoperability and best practices between global players in the banking industry.
  • BIAN APIs streamline adoption of modern banking interoperability for global banks.
  • BIAN APIs are not required, rather they are available to simplify digital transformation.


Financial-grade APIs (FAPI) is a security framework pioneered by OpenID Foundation. It provides a model for performing user authentication via JSON Web Tokens (JWT). It also helps close security loopholes by strengthening authN and authZ procedures associated with OAuth-secured API requests. As APIs have become a leading security threat vector, FAPI offers an airtight method for keeping financial transactions secure.

Here’s how it relates to BIAN:

  • BIAN offers user and party authentication APIs.
  • In order to use those APIs in a secure fashion, financial institutions can use FAPI procedures as they incorporate BIAN APIs into their API ecosystem.
  • FAPI is a series of technical protocols that can be used in conjunction with BIAN resources and best practices.

Embedded Finance and BIAN

Embedded finance involves blending financial services into non-financial platforms, applications, and digital applications. It allows customers to access financial services without leaving the application or service they are using at that moment. Embedded finance means customers can shop or purchase items while using social media, browsing a non-financial website, or while using a variety of applications.

Here’s how it relates to BIAN:

  • Embedded finance helps banks offer financing to customers in a variety of new channels.
  • In order to securely offer embedded finance, banks can use resources and best practices from BIAN, as well as FAPI.
  • APIs are the tools that allow banks to ‘embed’, or make available the required financial tools to allow customers to utilize funds in new channels.
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Akana API Management and BIAN

In order to scale modern digital banking practices supported by BIAN, you need full lifecycle API management. APIs are the glue that allow your organization to compile the functionality and security required for meeting BIAN standards. Without APIs – BIAN, Open Banking, FAPI, and other modern digital banking developments would be impossible.

Akana’s API management solution offers clients BIAN, open banking, and FAPI-conformant API tools and features including:

  • Automated features for consuming and importing BIAN swagger docs.
  • Automated configuration of FAPI-conformant security policies.
  • Access best-in-class banking API security and authorization features using our proven API gateway and developer portal.
  • Publish RESTful, SOAP, GraphQL APIs in a single developer portal.

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