Surecomp, a provider of trade finance systems to banks and corporates, has released an open API platform to allow its clients to easily adopt third-party trade finance services and fintech solutions.

The new platform, called APIsure, will enable fintech firms and other developers to build trade finance applications that integrate to the backend systems of banks and corporates. The apps will be able to leverage the functionality and data from these systems to develop innovative products.

“An increasing number of banks and corporates are recognising that cross-industry collaboration is vital and are offering their clients more digital options. Yet, until now, no open infrastructure has existed for fruitful collaboration among banks, corporates and developers when it comes to trade finance,” Surecomp notes in a statement, adding that APIsure is the first comprehensive trade finance open API platform on the market.

The platform takes the company a step closer to releasing Sure Store, an online application marketplace for solutions relevant to the global trade finance ecosystem. The store, which will be launched soon, will offer a route for banks and fintech firms to partner with each other: banks will be able to connect to a growing pool of apps in the store, and fintech firms will be able to market to Surecomp’s customer network of banks and corporates across 80 countries.

The announcement comes as the open banking movement is picking up pace globally, seeing a growing number of financial institutions releasing open APIs through which third parties can access financial data to build innovative products for the banks’ customers.

As such, APIsure and Sure Store form part of a move by Surecomp to help banks embrace open banking and use a marketplace approach to offer better services to their customers, explains Lyron Wahrmann, Surecomp’s head of digitisation.

“We see that our client banks are very interested in pushing open banking,” he tells GTR.

Other providers of banking systems have already been tapping into this interest. Finastra, for one, announced in June it was live with FusionFabric.cloud, an open marketplace for banks to search, try and buy applications by connecting to them through the cloud. Fintech companies, meanwhile, can easily build, deploy and operate cloud applications, through open APIs to Finastra’s core banking infrastructure. A number of trade finance-focused fintech companies are already building apps on the platform, including Conpend and Coriolis Technologies.

While APIsure and Surecomp’s new app store are built around the same idea, unlike FusionFabric.cloud, they are focused on trade finance applications only.

Wahrmann says Surecomp has been working with an industry organisation, three leading trade finance banks, two large corporates and a number of fintech companies in Europe and Asia to design and validate the API and ensure it will have industry-wide acceptance.

Several early adopter fintech companies have already begun developing and integrating their own proprietary apps on the open platform, although these have not yet been named. According to Wahrmann, they offer robotic process automation solutions for the processing of trade finance documentation, regtech solutions that help banks perform compliance checks, and blockchain, among others.

The goal, Wahrmann says, is to integrate with five to 10 fintech companies by the end of the year. Surecomp, too, is looking to build new apps on the platform, and banks will similarly be able to do the same. General availability for APIsure is planned for July.