Prometeo Open Banking is the largest Open Banking platform in Latin America. It provides a single point of access to 101 bank connections in 10 countries.
For those who aren’t entirely familiar with financial terminology or practices, open banking is “a banking practice that provides third-party financial service providers open access to consumer banking, transaction, and other financial data from banks and non-bank financial institutions through the use of application programming interfaces (APIs).”
It has the potential to change the landscape of the banking industry for individuals and businesses, and open banking and financial technology companies (FinTech) are leading sources of innovation in the banking world.
Why would a customer lean into open banking? Put simply, open banking gives clients more control over their financial data and allows them to access a wide range of services from different providers, which often means banks (both large and small) are competing for the business. More competition is good for customers searching for the best deals for their financial planning.
Where open banking is concerned, Prometeo is the biggest and most innovative in all of Latin America, making it a major game changer for financial inclusion in that part of the world and beyond.
Ximena Aleman, Co-founder & Co-CEO at Prometeo, is leading the charge, using her skills, passion, and deep understanding of the Latin American financial market to bring about change and benefits for people throughout the region.
And as a strong, smart, qualified Latina, Ximena is proud to be a part of something so big in a traditionally male-dominated field. “I have founded a company in a sector specially and historically dominated by men, the financial and the technological.” She knows what challenges may lie ahead, but she’s prepared for the journey on multiple levels. “It may sound repetitive, but for women to found a company and start the entrepreneurial journey is important to understand and practice real ways to take the stress out of it. It’s key to stay focused and ignore as much as you can all the pressure from the outside,” she told the Fintech Times.
Aleman has an extensive background in business-to-business sales and several years of experience in the fintech industry in Latin America.
She studied at the School of Economics in the Universidad de Montevideo in Uruguay, and Communications and Marketing. She later received her MBA with a specialization in Business Technology.
Before launching Prometeo, she consulted companies in Communications and Marketing Strategy. She was also the Digital Publishing Director at EME (a creative content hub for newspapers across LatAm), among other positions.
She has accomplished much to date, but Ximena is not yet done.
“I’m proud to say that today we provide a single point of access to banking information, transactions, and payments across multiple financial institutions to people who live in the region,” she told Thrive Global. And she’s proud to be surrounded by other entrepreneurial women in the financial sector, especially in Latin America. “We’re starting to see more women founders enter the fintech space, and I think that’s good because it helps propagate new perspectives and ideas.”
In a field traditionally run by men, seeing more women step up to the plate and witnessing more inclusion across the board is refreshing and essential for growth.
We chatted with Ximena Aleman by email, learning about the progress in the FinTech world in Latin America, what financial trends to follow, and how she sees Prometeo helping to create a shift in financial inclusion in LatAm.
How will digital transformation drive financial inclusion in LatAm?
Although we’ve seen great progress in the last two years, some of LATAM’s traditional financial institutions still follow outdated methodologies and have manual processes. This can occasionally mean a lack of automated and standardized infrastructure for payments and money management, which can explain why nearly half of LATAM’s population are unbanked or have difficulty opening bank accounts. Digital transformation, specifically open banking, allows this population to access new and better financial products. The information is an asset of the user, and you should be able to make it available to third parties because, basically, those third parties can give you a better financial experience.
Will Open banking and Open finance facilitate credit access in LatAm?
Absolutely, by providing the user the right to use their own financial information to amplify their access to financial products, we are definitely including credit access. By digitally accessing the users’ information, the lending companies are receiving trusted and accurate information that comes directly from a trusted source.
What is the benefit of using financial APIs in modern banking, especially for Latinos?
LATAM’s middle class has grown by more than 50 percent in the past decade, so there’s a huge demand for better financial products and services. Dealing with money in LATAM is arduous, and digital banks and fintech companies provide more accessible services and a better user experience. In LATAM, the financial infrastructure is very uneven, and APIs provide a layer of standardization that is very much needed. APIs allow siloed systems to communicate with each other to develop products more agilely that are personalized to users.
What financial trends promoting the technological development of banking in Latin America should we follow?
Open banking for sure. Besides developing our own APIs and giving users access to the information we need, we are working closely with many financial institutions to Partner with them so they can provide a broader range of Products and Services to their clients.
What are some reasons Latin America has become a destination for FinTech?
Latin America is quite uneven in terms of financial infrastructure, and operating with money can bring you a lot of headaches. Even in one country, transferring money from one state to another is not a smooth and flawless process; on the contrary, you’ll probably find many obstacles. The same happens when asking for a loan, paying a bill, etc. So FinTech, in general, focuses on improving users’ experience with the financial landscape as they target specific problems that traditional financial institutions do not address. FinTech companies are filling those gaps. That’s why banks shouldn’t see FinTech as competitors. On the contrary, there’s a lot of space and opportunities to collaborate and find synergies.
Another factor that has changed the game in the region is the COVID-19 pandemic. The restrictions on daily life and public interactions have forced even the most hard-rooted, traditional financial institutions to review their digital transformation strategies. If customers can’t visit branches, digital channels become the sole venue of exchange.