Build your own banking experience with Spreadsheet Banking

Tech stack
MVP launch date
May 2023
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The world is more connected than it has ever been and Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) in banking have evolved from a tech essential to a business priority. They are versatile, easy, fast, and secure ways for customers to access banking products and services and are quickly becoming vital for any technological architecture of the future.

The challenge

According to a recent global survey on APIs in banking conducted by McKinsey Digital, 88% of respondents believe APIs have become more important over the past two years and 81% think APIs should be a priority for businesses.

APIs serve as the linchpin enabling super connectivity, making the individual and business banking experience simpler and more convenient for clients. They are versatile, easy, fast, and secure ways for customers to access banking products and services and are quickly becoming vital for any technological architecture of the future.

In 2020, Investec set out on a mission to invest in the tech sector with the ultimate goal of creating an open banking API.

This led them to the developer community who align with the belief that software can fundamentally accelerate South African economic growth and shape the future of banking. Investec wanted to figure out how to support and help developers innovate the banking industry and ultimately, the concept and prototype build for Spreadsheet Banking evolved from Investec’s Programmable Banking Developer community.

From the user's standpoint, the crux of the challenge boils down to how to seamlessly access banking feeds, information, and transactions in real-time, in a way that is simple and intuitive and adds tangible value.

The solution

Investec Developer aimed to tackle this challenge by encouraging the growth of software developer skills, while taking technology in business banking to a whole new level. What initially began as a community-driven collaboration soon evolved into a shining example of communal success, culminating in the transformation of a mere concept and prototype into a fully-fledged product.

From its inception as a community-led initiative, the Platform45 team and Investec built Spreadsheet Banking to where it is today - successfully launched in Beta and working well for their clients. Given Microsoft Excel's widespread usage within the financial sector and individuals in general it became apparent that we needed to integrate it with real-time bank feeds through the Investec open banking API, thus giving rise to Spreadsheet Banking.

Simply put, Spreadsheet Banking allows clients to stay connected to their bank accounts, and harness the power of spreadsheets to manage their money securely and easily. Spreadsheets are still the most widely used tool in financial management worldwide, with over a billion users.

Investec Developer makes it possible for business clients to design their own banking experiences, enabled by Investec’s comprehensive transactional banking solutions. By leveraging Investec’s API fabric, core banking data and functionality are placed right into the heart of where clients need them through the following capabilities: API banking integration, programmable card amounts and the programmable banking community.

Its ingenuity lies in its simplicity. Because it is so simple it solves a lot of everyday use cases/problems that people have. We’ve purposefully and consciously kept it simple.
Sheldon Mayhew Spreadsheet Banking Product Owner

With Spreadsheet Banking, Investec has successfully become the first South African bank to open its APIs to individual clients and the only bank in SA to have opened up its APIs to individual developers.

“With technology advancements and API-driven solutions, we are continuously looking for new and innovative ways to bring banking functionality to our clients and their businesses,” says Scott Stanton, Head of Banking at Investec South Africa.

In collaboration with the developer community, Investec continues to help solve the business challenges faced today. Investec is also developing no-code solutions, which provide a more user-friendly approach to leveraging APIs and allow all clients, not only those with access to developers, to benefit from our vision of taking API banking integration mainstream.”

We are so proud of our team for rising to the challenge of crafting innovative banking tech. Spreadsheet Banking is a true testament to the power of community-driven ideas to transform into game-changing products. Simpler, more convenient, and directly integrated into your systems, your way.

It has been an honour working with P45 and this collaboration has only served to strengthen our relationship with your amazing team. From the very start of our Programmable Banking initiative, the P45 leadership team have worked alongside us to co-create innovative groundbreaking solutions. You have all been instrumental in supporting our Investec Developer strategy and I’m excited to see what strides we make in the coming months! To everyone interested in the future of banking... watch this space!

Devina Maharaj
Head: API Channel
Investec SA