Last week, Simon Redfern of Open Banking Project sent me this old photo from a BarCampBank in Berlin in 2011. At the time, the term “open banking” was unheard of and in my personal fintech world, I credit Simon with the term. I am sorry he did not copyrighted the expression. Simon writes here about his eleven years of open banking work.

BarCampBank Berlin 2011. At Open Bank Project organised by Tesobe, Simon Redfern.

At the time of this event I was an IBM consultant, working on risk systems in one of the UK banks. What made me fly to Berlin for an “un-conference” when fintech was not even a word, I…


Apparently between 8th of June and 21st of June 1985 my brother and I discussed boring stuff on the phone. I know this from a section of my parents Securitate file, which was handed to us in 2003. Our home phone was bugged, and some chap listened in on our conversations and transcribed for Securitate, the much-feared political police of Communist Romania. Luckily for us, this episode of being closely followed by Securitate lasted for one year only.

Copy from mom & dad’s Securitate file.

“1–2.06.1985

Nothing Special.

3–7.06.1985

Nothing Special.

21.06.1985

We listened to the tapes between 8.06–21.06.1985. There were no issues regarding the security [“of…


When I was a private in the Romanian army my family name was not Sonea but my maiden name which was very long, rare and unpronounceable even for Romanians. I use Sonea here for brevity.

I was a private in the Romanian Army for a brief period in ’89 and this was not out of choice. It was mandatory for all women going to university. I am one meter and half tall and in ’89 my weight was just a bit over 40kg. …


If there was a time when the banking APIs for branches and ATMs would have been needed it was now, during lockdown. Before going into the details of why it is so, you have to know a few things:

  1. Open Banking, the much envied UK initiative to establish industry wide standards for the implementation of the PSD2, required the banks which were part of this entity/initiative, to define and publish a set of APIs, which were not part of the PSD2 regulation, namely: banking branches, ATMs, and products APIs.
  2. These APIs however are not mandatory for the whole industry and…


Mentality is a crow in a cage

Minds are fragile birds

Minds needs to grow but war is the cage

Voices are tuned out by silent screams

Does war mean dead age?

Streets are ruins of fear

We need not tell the children it is an honour to die in hell

To die in honour is a lie that none needs to face

We wait to walk the stairs of home

We wait for the light to appear

We wait for nothing

We hope to find joy

We hope to climb the wall to end it all

We hope to…


As usual, what I write here is a personal story. Take it as such. I tried not to write anymore about the incredible similarities between Romania’s ’89 and UK’s ’16. I wrote before about the coup, the New Man, Newspeak, or being again an “enemy of the people”. It is painful to write these stories.

There are sometimes “triggers” which I cannot ignore though. This morning, Paul Bernal wrote:

Only yesterday Boris Johnson invited us to be his friend. Just no. We inhabit two different worlds. Prof Dougan says it better than I do.

Only a few weeks…


This is the third story in the “So what?” series of stories which have either inspired my research this year or which I discovered through my research.

For the full report on measuring access to banking in the UK, go here.

#SoWhat 1. “For 70 years old, wheelchair bound Tim, the taxi ride to the bank costs 16GBP. So what?

#SoWhat 2. A mobile branch van will stop on Tuesday for 5 minutes in the nearby village. So what?

If you did not read the previous post on the growing phenomenon of mobile branches in the UK, for reading this…


This is the second story in the “So what?” series of stories which have either inspired my research this year or which I discovered through my research.

For the full report on measuring access to banking in the UK, go here.

Story 1. “For 70 years old, wheelchair bound Tim, the taxi ride to the bank costs 16GBP. So what?

I only went looking for a bank — by Steven Camley

Before starting my research into access to banking in the UK, I did not know “mobile branches” vans exist. It is fair to say that even after months of extracting branches locations thorough banks’ Open Banking APIs I did not…


This is the first in a series of “So what?” stories which have either inspired my research this year or which I discovered through my research.

For the full report go here.

“Money” by J D Mack is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Consider Tim. He is in his 70s and lives in retirement accommodation with his wife. He is wheelchair bound and he does not like to go out without his wife.

I don’t know Tim personally but I know of him from two Financial Conduct Authority reports, one published in 2014 [1] and one in 2016 [2]. …


The past two years and a half since the UK referendum in June 2016 have been a never-ending source of “triggering” events. More precisely, I refer to how the UK government’s actions and their relentless drive to concentrate all the power in their hands took me back again and again to the (post-)communist Romania. That’s harsh you would say. UK cannot be more different. It is true, however the methods of the current government are eerily similar. It feels like they are executing from the same book. …

Andra Sonea

Banking Systems Architect. Curious. Antifragile.

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