Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) achieves business-wide integration with Kong Gateway Enterprise

Balancing History with Innovation

For more than 130 years, the Raiffeisen brand has stood for values such as trust, fairness, security, and stability. Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has become the financial player it is today by adopting and living these values. RBI regards Austria, where it is a leading corporate and investment bank, as well as Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), as its home market.

RBI operates 12 subsidiary banks in the CEE region, along with numerous other financial service providers for asset management, leasing, and M&A. With 17.2 million customers and more than 44,000 employees, RBI has a mission to transform continuous innovation into superior customer experiences.

"Equipped with a new group strategy and vision, we set out to be the most recommended financial services group by 2025. A key part of this strategy is real-time connectivity and real-time interfaces because we strongly believe it's needed to delight our customers now and in the future," says Thomas Joham, Delivery Manager of RICE (Real Time Integration Center of Excellence).

Use CaseSecurity & Governance
Customer Since2021

Accelerated time to market for new products


Experienced uptime


Increased overall security posture with a secure login mechanism and API authentication


Replacing Legacy Systems to Drive Business Goals

Joham and his colleague Tetyana Butenko, Product Owner of RICE API Management and Governance, are responsible for the integration, architecture, standardization, and governance of APIs across RBI's extensive network. While they were previously using an API management platform, they were dissatisfied with its performance.

The company has expanded globally and collected numerous legacy systems, leading to spaghetti architecture that was both inefficient and made it difficult to roll out products from one country to another.

The bank's growth had also increased technical and regulatory needs, which their previous API management solution didn't support.

Recently, RBI launched a new companywide vision: to be the most recommended financial services group in CEE by 2025. A key component in achieving this was real-time connectivity and real-time interfaces to delight customers now and in the future. The three cornerstones of this project for Joham and Butenko's teams were to address the heterogeneous architecture across the banking group, standardize and re-use APIs and related products, and upskill the internal workforce able to deal with real-time interfaces.

"Our new business model required decoupled architectures and a plug-and-play product strategy for building and updating products across the group, which would lead to a massive increase in APIs and their usage. We didn't believe our previous API platform would be capable of supporting this," says Butenko.


Creating an Architecture to Power Integration

The team at RBI chose Kong as an API management solution to help drive this mission-critical project.

"We chose Kong because the technology fits our needs as a company and was the best option to support our strategy. Additionally, the lightweight approach and the roots in the open-source community were a huge advantage over other API management solutions," says Joham.

Working in partnership with the Kong team, Joham, Butenko, and their teams developed an architecture to support their unique approach to standardization for group integration.

Now, RBI uses Kong Gateway Enterprise as an API management solution on different levels within the company, including the product, country, and group levels, which allows them to use the same technology across the organization. For example, RBI's FX trading platform, RFlex, implemented Kong at the solution level to solve performance issues within the application.

RBI RICE's innovative approach was recognized by Kong in 2022, winning the "API Innovator of the Year" award.

"Using Kong Gateway Enterprise across these various levels makes re-use, sharing, and operation easier. Each team remains flexible and has no dependency, which is key in an agile environment. Additionally, the architecture concept enables us to perform plug-and-play mechanisms in product development, which already does and will continue to accelerate our time-to-market to delight our customers," says Joham.


Driving API Re-Use to Improve Speed to Market

The RBI team has already seen success as a result of using Kong, and they foresee more positive outcomes in the future. Two of RICE's main success metrics are the reuse of APIs and time-to-market.

Since using Kong, they have seen a massive increase in the re-use of APIs, which is key to their larger goals of driving efficiency. Now, they have 437 standard APIs in 20+ domains, and this number is steadily increasing. 35% of those APIs are being reused across multiple products.

"With this standardized approach to APIs using Kong, each team remains flexible and has no dependency, which is key in an agile environment," says Joham.

The positive results of using Kong were evident in the rollout of RBI's new bank lending solution, where the initial planned rollout time to three markets was one year.

As a result of working with Kong, this time was reduced to three months and an internal survey reported a 10/10 positive impact by RICE on the project. The RICE team has a strong focus on community and upskilling initiatives to bring other developers within the company together and unite using one integrated platform.

"Our approach in RICE is that we don't force anybody to use Kong as a solution, but instead we have been able to win over internal customers through both building their competence and through the ease of use of the technology," says Joham.
Feedback from the other groups within RBI has been extremely positive, with large-scale group adoption of Kong since it was first introduced.

Securing Systems and Boosting Performance

Another crucial part of the broader goal of the RICE team is implementing governance across their group APIs to assist with both performance and security.

"We don't just want to provide APIs to our broader organization," says Butenko. "We want to ensure operational resilience by standardizing data access, with fine-grained security and centralized governance."

Working in the finance industry across a large market, security and compliance are key to RBI's greater strategy. Taking advantage of Kong Gateway Enterprise's extensibility with a large plug-in hub, Butenko and the team use the Open ID connect plugin to secure the login mechanism and API authentication.

They also use plugin functionality to define and enforce rate limits. As a result of the focus on performance and security, they saw 100% uptime within their first year of using Kong.

"Because one of our main goals is to drive the standardization and re-use of APIs, along with upskilling to enable our workforce to deal with real-time interfaces, building a structure that balances standards and governance with innovation was key," says Joham. "Kong's ability to be used in many different use cases, across multiple infrastructures, with a built-in lightweight design, allows us to achieve this while keeping costs as lean as possible."

"What we at RBI's Realtime Integration Center of Excellence (RICE) have been able to achieve together with Kong is a perfect example of how standardization is fostering innovation in an international banking group with one goal to delight our customers."

Thomas Joham
Delivery Manager of RICE (Real Time Integration Center of Excellence)

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