Osuuspankki, one of the largest banks in Finland has put out a statement reminding people of dangers in using software to query your bank account statement – in essence talking about the pulling of data from the bank with Balancion. They are saying that using such third party applications is against the terms of service as well as dangerous for security reasons.

Balancion is a Mint -like service aimed at understanding personal finance. It has received much attention in the press and for a reason, it’s useful and there’s a real need in what it offers. Since there are no APIs in the Finnish banks, Balancion uses a java browser to pull data from the bank accounts. This is the part of the service Osuuspankki does not like.

I cannot, but wonder why the banks in Finland have not taken the same path as the banks elsewhere in the world. Keeping huge walled gardens when there is clear demand for third party applications building value for the banks’ customers is just nonsense. They have never managed to create so much value for so little effort – why not allow this?

Problems like these pretty much relate back to the incompetence and ability to truly understand the value in how new economies such as the online environment work. I hope other banks see this as an opportunity to improve their services to their customers.

(Hat tip to Markus Ossi)