Coffee & Coding: Recipe for Banking Tech Success?

PNC APIFest contestants pulled an all-nighter in a race to create potential new products for the bank.

PNC APIFest, a 24-hour contest where teams of employees build applications to benefit customers, is a major event that provides an avenue for people to think beyond the scope of their everyday roles and spark the creation of innovative new products and services.  

“The financial services landscape is shifting rapidly. In order to compete, we need to find great ideas and implement them quickly,” explained Steve Van Wyk, PNC’s head of Technology & Operations. “We have to ensure that innovation becomes part of our DNA. Events like this enable us to have fun while creating real solutions.”

APIFest is PNC’s take on all-night coding fests that have become familiar on college campuses nationwide. This year’s contestants represented a cross-section of PNC’s workforce from 12 states, with some employees coming from as far away as Texas and Florida. Teams of coders, developers and business professionals use pieces of code called Application Program Interfaces (APIs) to create new and potentially profitable applications.

This was PNC’s second APIFest, and builds on the success of the first, which took place in April 2016. Three potential new products from the inaugural event are now in development.

“As we embrace this type of innovation, APIFest will grow beyond just being a series of events scattered throughout the year into the way we work at PNC,” said Laura Ritz, senior vice president for innovation, strategy and analytics at PNC.

APIFests will become something we do monthly or quarterly. This is about creating a different culture – one of creativity, innovation and more importantly, disruption.

Real-World Solutions

The winner of the January 2017 APIFest was a proposed application called Health Wallet that allows customers to store their family’s health information, including insurance cards, allergies and medical history in one place for easy access.

Health Wallet can even help users find and pay for qualified care if they need care. And, in a nod to the growing popularity of Internet connected devices, potential consumers can update their information using smart devices.

The winning team, “Codebusters,” also was notable because it was the only all-female team in the competition.

“Many of us have families and others that we take care of, so we created Health Wallet to allow us to have full access to and control of our entire family’s medical information through any connected device,” said team member Christa Caparelli, senior product manager, PNC Healthcare Innovations.

Codebusters was one of nearly 50 teams that coded the night away in downtown Pittsburgh with the hope of developing the next “it” application for the bank.

See API Fest in Action at PNC

Steve Van Wyk
Steve Van Wyk says banks need to embrace innovation to help meet customer needs

Contestants are taking ideas and creating real, tangible solutions for clients.