Sergo Rostiashvili is the Platforms Tribe Lead at TBC Bank, Georgia. In this article, he discusses TBC’s digital experience.
TBC Bank is part of the TBC group, which operates in three different countries, Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan. We have more than ten thousand employees; more than 13 million registered users, of which 1.4 million are active daily.
TBC was founded in 1992. In 2001, we started Internet Banking Services. Our goal was to provide as many services as possible for customers remotely. Currently, 98% of our transactional banking is digital. Such banks are called Neo banks. Neo banks have only two channels for communication with customers; the contact center and the digital channel. There is no branch.
Our vision about APIs is that we do not look at APIs as just technical means for integration. We look at API as a channel of communication. We took major steps in APIs in 2019 when we created a team. The scope of this team was External APIs. They started by collecting and learning best practices, collecting information from different communities, discussing ideas with stakeholders, etc. We began with small steps. We created API for exchange rates. This API became quite popular and was used on different third-party applications. That gave us more confidence in this direction.
Later, we added another API for sharing customers’ transaction history. This was a different experience because we had to comply with regulatory, compliance, and security requirements.
Now, we have APIs for e-commerce, QR payments, exchange rates, online installments, payment services, transfer services, and account information services. Currently, we have over 3000 partner companies, 101,500 developers, and over 20 million API requests per month. These are the external APIs. We also have internal APIs.
Earlier, we were using the Enterprise Service Bus pattern, meaning we had a single team in the organization responsible for publishing APIs. As the organization’s size increased, we needed to scale that up. To maintain the scalability and improve time to market, we changed our approach to an API gateway pattern that used multiple teams to publish APIs. We have 35 APIs migrated to this process, and migration of the others is in progress. Earlier, we were focused on external APIs. Still, when we focused on API Channel, we changed our approach and decentralized the work to different teams, which are owners of the services or products related to these APIs. We created a role to support developers who were using developer portals. We use a sandbox, making it simpler for developers to play with APIs before using them and going live.
To conclude, change your mindset, focus on business value, not just the technical part. APIs make work much faster and more effective inside and outside the company. This helps us simplify users’ lives. Focus on continually improving developers’ experience by providing comprehensive documentation and support for different SDKs and developer-friendly tools to facilitate seamless integration and prototyping and unlock your potential or your business with APIs.