How Financial Institutions Can Unlock Value From APIs

Following our recent Treasury Disruption and Optimization series for corporate treasurers, in this article we switch focus to look at how financial institutions are able to benefit from the rapid expansion in Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) to support intra-day liquidity management, track and trace payments in real-time and streamline cross-border currency transactions.


Ongoing shifts in the financial services landscape – driven by evolving regulation, technology developments and disruption by fintech players – have reinforced the case for ambitious digitization agendas for financial institutions (“FIs”). Leading FIs, including banks, broker-dealers, asset managers, insurance companies and payment processors, are investing in digital-led solutions that deliver cost efficiencies, automate existing processes and help them meet rising client demand for a seamless digital experiences.  

In addition, rapid changes in market conditions, including rising structural volatility, highlight the importance of real-time information and integrated data in informing critical decisions around liquidity management, as well as creating new opportunities to think differently about treasury management within FIs.

Against this backdrop, FIs can achieve significant benefits by utilizing Application Programming Interfaces (“APIs”). With their flexibility and real-time features, APIs are becoming an essential component of digital-led transformations, and are entering a new adoption phase for FIs.

API Benefits

APIs are flexible tools and their specific benefits will be driven by treasury’s starting point and ability to integrate APIs into a cohesive digital strategy.

There are five key API benefits to FI treasury:

API use cases for financial institutions


Real-time balances to support intra-day liquidity management

As they adapt to an increasingly complex market and regulatory environment (e.g., BCBS 248), FIs have redoubled their efforts in optimizing intra-day liquidity. On a daily basis, global banks and broker-dealers process high volume and high value payments across multiple currencies, geographies and time zones.

This in turn necessitates a consolidated and close to real-time balance visibility. To date, FIs have typically relied on SWIFT messages (e.g., MT900 / 910; MT940 / 942) to query transaction status, intra-day positions and end-of-day balances.

The limitations of this approach are apparent, including but not limited to: reliance on manual processes, complex reconciliation and costs that rise in line with the complexity of account structures. Moreover, such an approach does not readily provide treasurers with customized real-time data, a key requirement for effective intra-day liquidity management.

In 2019, a leading European investment bank recognized APIs as an opportunity to better manage risk and improve operational efficiencies. In partnership with J.P. Morgan, the client successfully deployed real-time balance APIs, providing them with near real-time visibility on their payment activities and funding positions.  

This implementation, spanning the client’s EMEA and APAC broker-dealer activity, enabled the treasury function to be more dynamic, reduced decision times and enabled the client to implement advanced algorithms to drive more efficient operations.

Real-time “track and trace” of payments  

Progress towards payment visibility has made significant strides in recent years, with the launch of SWIFT gpi significantly enhancing the visibility of wire payments across the transaction life-cycle.

However, outside of correspondent banks connected to SWIFT gpi, users within other FIs (e.g., asset managers, insurance firms and payment processers) faced limits in their ability to track and trace transactions. Typically, a user would need to log on to the bank’s portal or call a client service desk to request the payment status, which would then be delivered in a standardized format. Due to such constraints, transaction queries tended to be initiated in case of payment delays or when the beneficiary claimed non-receipt.

Recognizing the potential offered by APIs to enhance clients’ visibility into their payment flows, J.P. Morgan has partnered with a leading global payment processor to develop an API-powered “track and trace” dashboard.

Through this dashboard, the client is able to track and trace payment status within his or her own payments and treasury portals.

Streamline FX payments and collections

FX markets have witnessed an evolution towards greater digitization via single-bank platforms, driven by regulation and demand for greater transparency. This in turn has opened the door to a broad set of API-led use cases.

In the transactional FX context, API deployment can aid FIs (including non-bank FIs) by offering:

  • Pricing transparency
  • Faster execution
  • Real-time access to bid-offer information

Recognizing this potential, J.P. Morgan has developed a suite of transactional FX solutions designed to leverage the digitization of FX payments (and collections) via the adoption of APIs to enable seamless connectivity between client environments and J.P. Morgan’s FX platform.

J.P. Morgan offers a Guaranteed Rate Service designed to optimize management of customers' payments in over 120 foreign currencies from a sole funding account - eliminating the need to manage and maintain multiple nostro accounts while migrating multi-currency management to J.P. Morgan.

J.P. Morgan is at the forefront of API development for financial institutions

We recognize the world is changing and our clients are looking for information in the format they want, whenever they want. To accommodate our clients’ needs and help prepare them for the future, we have created J.P. Morgan Treasury Services APIs to deliver real-time, on-demand data and services to enhance customer experience for payments, customized reporting, administration, receivables and liquidity.

To learn more about available J.P. Morgan APIs and use cases, please visit J.P. Morgan Developer.

For more information, please contact your J.P. Morgan Treasury Services representative.

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