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Fireside chat: Redeeming the potential in corporate payments

XMLdation's Head of Sales & Marketing, Paula Ruohoranta, and OP Financial Group's Business Lead Hanna Äijälä dived into the world of corporate payments in their fireside chat "Redeeming the potential in corporate payments - taking productivity leap through payment technologies and automation" at the Nordic Fintech Summit, sharing experiences and discussing the future of this dynamic area. This blog post covers the highlights from their engaging discussion: how OP is powering business processes beyond traditional book keeping for corporates, the importance of testing programmes as you introduce scalability in the support process for corporates, and exciting upcoming innovations in their API programme.


Paula Ruohoranta: Thank you Hanna for joining us today. You have an extensive background in the corporate payments industry and have been responsible for transforming the competitive strategy as well as the development of OP’s corporate payment offering. Your success in implementing an open API strategy for corporate clients has been impressive, with OP Financial Group's traffic comprising 25% of European SEPA instant payments. How have you been able to improve the productivity of your corporate clients?


Hanna Äijälä: OP Financial Group embarked on a payments technology process and service transformation at the same time the European instant payments were emerging. This presented us with an opportunity to redefine real-time operations and leverage payments and data to power business processes in corporates beyond traditional bookkeeping and treasury functions. By providing 24/7 premium APIs designed specifically for corporate use, we have been able to enhance productivity significantly. We offer "happy flow" APIs for automated payment initiation and transaction data integration into various business processes. Additionally, we provide APIs for exceptions and investigations, simplifying tasks such as refunds. The most exciting aspect is that we can now offer new services that were previously unimaginable.


Paula Ruohoranta: It's refreshing how you focused on the corporate side of APIs while many discussions revolve around retail APIs. How do you support your corporate clients in implementing and rolling out these new services? Do you have a testing program in place?


Hanna Äijälä: Yes, we currently have a testing program for batch payments via the existing web service channel. It has been in place for many years now and XMLdation has been a great partner for this.


Paula Ruohoranta: At XMLdation, we have noticed an increasing demand from corporates seeking support in implementing automated solutions. As the volume and variety of API implementations grow, banks need to streamline their support efforts. By using automated solutions, the testing cycle for corporates can be reduced by up to 90%, resulting in significant efficiency gains.


Hanna Äijälä: We have experienced similar cost savings and efficiency improvements at OP Financial Group. The scalability of the support process becomes crucial as the API business expands. We need to mature our implementation and testing processes to meet the growing demands. One of the advantages is that we can establish best practices for testing without reinventing the wheel within our company.


Paula Ruohoranta: Looking ahead, what exciting innovations do you have in store for your API program?


Hanna Äijälä: We are currently exploring several exciting possibilities. One prominent area of interest is cross-border payments. With supply chains in turmoil and companies establishing new global partnerships, ensuring transparency and visibility in cross-border payments is crucial. We are considering developing a payment-tracking API also bringing security and a sense of safety to payments. It could be a pre-validation API that corporates can use to verify whether the recipient of a payment is who they say they are. Additionally, as APIs continue to mature, OP Financial Group is considering integrating mass volumes, such as batch payments, for salaries and pensions into their API operations.


Paula Ruohoranta: How does the testing process evolve as APIs and their implementation scale?


Hanna Äijälä: As API usage expands, there is a need for the testing process to evolve and mature alongside it. As an agile enterprise, OP Financial Group has been working closely with customers during onboarding and implementation. However, with the growing scale and variety of customers and vendors, there is an increasing demand for more sophisticated testing and implementation procedures to ensure continued efficiency.



Paula Ruohoranta and Hanna Äijälä's fireside chat highlighted the world of corporate payments, emphasizing the importance of efficiency and innovation. Organisations, like OP Group, are improving performance and providing services to their corporate clients by using the potential of premium APIs, developing thorough testing programmes, and planning for future advancements. Collaboration between Fintechs and banks will shape the future of corporate payments as the corporate API environment evolves, bringing up opportunities for better efficiency and customer-centric solutions.


Key Takeaways:

  1. Corporate API combined with real-time payments is an important new area for banks, beyond the traditional focus on retail APIs.

  2. Banks also need to make a productivity leap: they must adopt agile processes, innovate, and respond to corporate needs as the corporates are reinventing their processes using real-time payments. 

  3. As the corporate API business grows, banks need to address the challenge of providing scalable support. Investing in automated testing and streamlined processes enables ongoing innovation while efficiently supporting customers.

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