The Swiss bank Hypothekarbank Lenzburg (HBL) will make APIs available to synchronize management systems.
Although Switzerland is currently a true frontier nation in the cryptocurrency sector, not all traditional financial institutions have already opened up to these new markets.
On the contrary, even in Switzerland, companies operating in cryptocurrencies and blockchain do not always find the red carpet rolled out in their banks.
For example, cryptocurrency broker Bitcoin Suisse reported that they had received “astounding harassment” from Swiss banks before being forced to turn to the more receptive banks in Liechtenstein.
This situation risks frustrating the country’s efforts to become a “crypto nation”.
This is why Hypothekarbank Lenzburg, a small regional bank has decided instead to carve out a slice of its market in this sector at the expense of its biggest and most famous rivals.
It is the regional credit institution HBL, which has opened the doors to Swiss companies working with cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.
Managing director Marianne Wildi said: “It’s a question of credibility for us, as a bank with a technology-based strategy of cooperating with fintech firms, to work together with the young crypto and blockchain scene in Switzerland“
HBL is the only bank in Switzerland to offer open banking to external fintech companies, exposing its APIs to third-party IT systems. The core banking system used is owned by HBL and the modular set-up has already been used by other banks.
CEO Wildi admitted that the bank had to assess the potential risks of compliance with Swiss regulations before deciding to open up to cryptocurrency and blockchain companies, and also informed FINMA of its decision. In addition, HBL will make a selection of customers to whom it will offer API access to its systems, through a rigorous due diligence process.
Wildi even argued that Switzerland should adopt the e-franco. The bank will pass on the costs of due diligence to these new customers, so their new accounts will be more expensive than a regular Swiss corporate bank account.