On 12 March 2020, the Bank of England (BoE) published an open data for SME finance paper. The paper builds on the BoE’s response to the Future of Finance Report, where the BoE proposed an Open Data Platform to boost access to finance for SMEs.

The paper explains that the Open Data Platform would, in practice, be a decentralised network of data providers, using a standardised set of application programming interfaces to move data around the financial system instantly, at the request of the SME. No data would move without the permission of the SME, there would be no central data repository or physical credit file, and there would be no central infrastructure to build. Like the internet, the protocols and standards would enable interoperability and provide a platform for firms to innovate upon.

The paper will guide the BoE’s ongoing engagement with public authorities, including as an input to the Government’s Smart Data Review and Digital Markets Taskforce, as well as the FCA’s Open Finance initiative. In particular, the paper will form part of the BoE’s input to the Government summit announced in the March 2020 Budget, looking at what further data needs to be made accessible to make it faster and easier for SMEs to shop around for credit.