Rubicon’s founder meets the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Albania to discuss the progress of Open Banking in Albania

On 26 July 2021, Rubicon’s founder, Dr. Armand Brahaj met with the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Albania (BoA), Prof. Dr. Luljeta Minxhozi and Ms. Valentina Semi, Head of Licencing, Policy and Oversight Division. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impact of the new “Payment Services” legislation, a harmonization with the European Unions PSD2 directive often described as Open Banking and its impact on the fintech scene in Albania.

Payment services (PSD2) Directive defines guidelines of interoperability between banks and financial institutions. The directive is already enforced in EU and Albania harmonized with this directive on April 2020. The Albanian law “On payment services” (SQ: Për shërbimet e pagesave) provides a perfect momentum to gain traction for creative fintech solutions in the country.

Mr. Brahaj, greeted the initiative of the Central Bank of Albania in developing this legislation and the efforts to improve innovation in the fintech scene in Albania. “Considering the digital revolution over the last 20 years and following the ever increasing traction of the Challenger Banks like Revolut, Number 26, Monzo and Starling coupled with a move toward a cashless economy as Denmark, Sweden and other EU countries, we can see how this can positively impact on Albanian and South Eastern Europe”

Prof. Dr. Minxhozi stated that the approval of the Law “On payment services” is one of the main achievements related to the implementation of the National Retail Payments Strategy (2018-2023). Bank of Albania is actively supporting innovation in the fintech sector and in the mean time, is also working in a strategy on Financial Education as a long-term process that will involve different partners jointly working toward a responsible financial behaviour.

With regard to the PSD2 harmonization, as defined in the “On payment services” legislation, Ms Valentina Semi stressed the commitment of the Central Bank in enforcing the legislation and the ongoing effort of BoA in coordinating activities with the second level banks to adapt the neccessary infrastructure to offer open banking services.

Implementation of the above mentioned legislation will result in unseen advancements in the way Albanians manage and view their money. No longer will Financial Services be linked to the requirement to visit a range of physical premises, no longer will consumers need to plan how much cash they need to hold for their weekly expenses! With these advancements will come other so far unconsidered products and services that will help Albanian consumers.