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Innovation through cooperation

Bankart empowers Slovenian banks to open to a much larger world

by Josh Young (5 min read)
Banks are not often thought of as agile or being on the bleeding edge of technology. Reliable, consistent, institutional? Yes. But fastmoving or rapidly-evolving? Not so much. And it was the need for innovation and a market competition boost that the EU was attempting to achieve when it passed the 2013-amended version of the Payment Service Providers Directive (PSD2).

This new directive sought to increase innovation and service quality within Europe by pushing banks and other financial institutions to embrace the concept of open banking. In turn, third-

party providers (TPPs), operating within strict regulatory limits, would be able to take advantage of these advances to deliver supplemental, value-add services to bank customers.

“Before PSD2, if you had accounts at two or three banks, you would need to have two or three mobile banking apps to manage those accounts,” explains Sinisa Jancic, Business Development and Innovation Director at Bankart, Procesiranje plačilnih instrumentov d.o.o., a modern payment instruments processor. “Typically, each bank had just one solution to give you, and if it

wasn’t that good, you were stuck with it— whether you liked it or not.”

“But with open banking,” he continues, “a TPP, which could be a fintech company or a technologically advanced bank, can give you an app that lets you see and manage all of your accounts. Similarly, providers can deliver payment systems that circumvented existing payment schemes—like Visa, MasterCard—using newer, instant payment options. All of this was quite radical for our industry.”

Navigating radical change, however, is rarely easy. And many financial institutions face challenges with having the internal IT skills and knowledge available to deploy an open banking solution.

“PSD2 was not just a simple problem for each individual bank to solve, and we started getting inputs from multiple clients asking us if we were going to help

them,” recalls Jancic. “We have multiple pillars of business—debit and credit cards, mobile payments, e-invoicing— so when projects come to our country that make sense to be consolidated or that will have sort of an infrastructure solution, the country’s banks tend to look to us for efficient, centralized options.”

Collaboration promotes compliance

Working with IBM Business Partner SRC sistemske integracije d.o.o. and taking advantage of IBM technology, Bankart launched a new open banking platform. In addition to open API connections that facilitate integration with TPPs, the solution also empowers banks to support ongoing compliance with existing regulations and standards, such as those established by PSD2 and Berlin Group.

“What is evident is that these guys from SRC are quite knowledgeable,” notes Jancic. “They know a lot about microservice programming and architecture, and they had designed

their solution based on Berlin Group standards, which are sort of unofficial pan-European standards.” The new solution is installed within Bankart’s private cloud environment, relying on Red Hat® OpenShift® for

Kubernetes containerization and management. And using IBM API Connect® technology, the Bankart and IBM teams were able to build custom API interfaces for the platform’s developer portal to simplify the creation of various services, such as payment initiations, ATM network data access and transaction reporting.

Offering further insight into the project, Toni Zupancic, Head of Sales at SRC, explains: “We focused on the API side. On the Kubernetes. On the microservices, aligning them with Bankart’s business logic. And when we combined all of this with IBM API Connect we were able to create APIs that moved really fast and that could meet the regulatory requirements that we were focusing on.”

There are 15 banks in the country, and out of all of them, 11 chose to use our open banking solution. I’d say that’s a pretty good achievement.

Open banking for an open tomorrow

Once launched, the Bankart solution quickly proved a success in the Slovenian market. “There are 15 banks in the country,” notes Jancic, “and out of all of them, 11 chose to use our open banking solution. I’d say that’s a pretty good achievement, especially since the remaining ones, for the most part, are subsidiaries of larger, international banking groups.”

In particular, the new Bankart platform helped these 11 banks reduce the cost of establishing open banking environments while making significant cuts in development and deployment timelines when compared to the time needed for the banks to create their own platforms in-house. “And as for the remaining banks,” adds Jancic, “we integrated them across platforms as well, so now users of our solution are able to access any account in the country via a single access point.” Beyond the success of this project, Bankart is pleased with its choice

to work with both IBM and SRC. As Jancic explains: “A majority of our web services backbone was already running on IBM, so for us, IBM API Connect was just an extension of what we were already familiar with. And as we recognized how much microservice architectures and Red Hat OpenShift were the way forward for our business, we were able to act much more confidently with SRC involved.”

Continuing this theme, Zupancic notes: “The scale for this solution was bonkers. We’re providing for 11 different banks—each with their own security requirements and so on. But we were all a lot more comfortable doing this together than we would have been doing it by ourselves. Between the IBM infrastructure, our knowledge of microservices and Bankart’s experience with the banks, we could all work really fast and cover all of the bases to create an open, compliant solution.”

What is evident is that these guys from SRC are quite knowledgeable. They know a lot about microservice programming and architecture, and they had designed their solution based on Berlin Group standards.

About Bankart, Procesiranje plačilnih instrumentov d.o.o.

Founded more than 20 years ago by Slovenian banks, Bankart currently provides supplemental financial services to more than 20 banks in six countries across Southeastern Europe. Employing roughly 200 people and processing over 45 million transactions per month, Bankart specializes in ATM, point of sale (POS), fraud prevention, open banking and paymentrelated services.

Solution components

About SRC sistemske integracije d.o.o.

For more than 30 years, IBM Business Partner SRC has helped businesses transform and grow through its targeted, industry-specific IT solutions and services. The company maintains its headquarters in Ljubljana, Slovenia, and currently employs over 300 staff.

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021. IBM Corporation, Hybrid Cloud, New Orchard Road, Armonk, NY 10504 Produced in the United States of America, December 2021. IBM, the IBM logo,, and IBM API Connect are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at Red Hat® and OpenShift® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Red Hat, Inc. or its subsidiaries in the United States and other countries. This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. The performance data and client examples cited are presented for illustrative purposes only. Actual performance results may vary depending on specific configurations and operating conditions. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON-INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided. The client is responsible for ensuring compliance with laws and regulations applicable to it. IBM does not provide legal advice or represent or warrant that its services or products will ensure that the client is in compliance with any law or regulation.

Obvestilo o ponovni dostopnosti storitev

Vse uporabnike storitev v računalniškem oblaku obveščamo, da se vsi sistemi ponovno normalno odzivajo. Po doslej zbranih informacijah je ob izvajanju gradbenih del prišlo do prekinitve linije, na kar je programska oprema za upravljanje z diskovnim poljem odreagirala napačno. S pomočjo proizvajalca diskovnega sistema smo uspeli sanirati problem okrog 11h dopoldne. Zaradi velikega števila strežnikov, ki se nahajajo v računalniškem oblaku je ponovna vzpostavitev v polno funkcionalno stanje trajala okrog 50 minut.

Spletno mesto uporablja piškotke zaradi boljše uporabniške izkušnje. Z uporabo naše spletne strani potrjujete, da se z njihovo uporabo strinjate.