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Open Banking

Open Finance

Located at the crossroads of Europe, Asia and Africa, Greece is not prioritising Open Banking.

According to Merchant Machine, 70% of Greeks had access to the internet in 2021. Of all Greek people using the internet, 40% use the internet for online banking, which is 26% below the EU average. Additionally, Greece ranks 22nd in the integration of digital technologies and 26th for digital public services among EU countries.  

Greece falls under the PSD2 legislation and has adopted Berlin Group’s NextGenPSD2 standard. PSD2 is a European Directive that regulates electronic payment services and was implemented in all EEA countries in 2016 and went live in September 2019.

In their European Open Banking league, Yapily scored Greece 2.5 out of 10 due to Open Banking being a very low priority for regulators, and there is no guidance around implementation. Due to the low interest in this area, Yapily suggests that the best way to move forward would be to set up an independent implementation body, such as OBIE (The Open Banking Implementation Entity) in the UK. An OBIE-like entity to standardise technical requirements and consumer journeys. This would ensure that all industry participants are aware of the direction of the ecosystem. Any other approach would be too slow to deliver considerable benefits in a reasonable timeframe.

The EU Commission has announced its intention to adopt an Open Finance regulatory framework.

The Bank of Greece launched an Open Data portal in July 2018. The portal makes statistical datasets available to researchers and the public at large, aiming to ensure easier access, higher interoperability and greater transparency. The data are available in a machine-readable format, i.e. in a format that can be easily read and processed by visitors to the portal as well as by search engines (bots). The data are collected, processed and published in conformity with international Open Data standards.

According to The Global Findex Database, 95% of Greek adults had bank accounts in 2021. Greek consumers are particularly interested in the benefits that Open Banking payment initiation services can provide. In a recent study researching the Open Banking adoption among consumers, 45% of Grek consumers were interested in receiving intelligent assistance to manage payments, and 29% were interested in having their data used to develop convenient new payment methods. In addition, 33% in having their data used to offer a better range or better quality of services.

Banking in Greece makes up a huge proportion of the country’s GDP, with the sector’s total assets forming 200% of the GDP

According to Tracxn, there are 98 Fintech startups in Greece.

Banking in Greece makes up a huge proportion of the country’s GDP, with the sector’s total assets forming 200% of the GDP. The euro area average is 86%. The four largest banks own 80% of the assets.

The great financial crisis of 2008 had a huge impact on Greece, leading to a considerable increase in non-performing loans (NPLs), huge losses incurred by the banking sector, a drop in capitalisation, a general loss of confidence, and deposit outflows. Non-performing loans remain the major challenge for the banking sector and are one of the highest levels of the EU countries (although down to 27% as of the end of 2020)

Therefore, banks in Greece have been concentrating on stability and less on innovation compared to some other European countries.

Greece ranks 22nd in human capital among EU countries in the Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) 2022. The human capital measures digital skills, the proportion of employed people working as ICT specialists, female ICT specialists, and enterprises offering ICT training.

The Bank of Greece has a Regulatory Sandbox, which constitutes a regulatory regime that provides financial technology firms (Fintechs) a controlled environment to test their innovative financial propositions for a specified period while formally engaging with the Regulator. The primary objectives of the sandbox are to facilitate financial innovation and preserve financial stability, enhance legal certainty and build and promote knowledge.

Greece has adopted the Berlin Group’s NextGenPSD2 technical standard.