Swedish fintech Klarna has announced the launch of a new sub-brand and business unit to harness open banking capabilities. 

The new unit, called Klarna Kosma, provides access to 15,000 banks in 24 nations via API, allowing financial institutions and merchants to build new fintech apps and services. 

Klarna Kosma, which is said to process nearly a billion information requests to bank accounts annually, will leverage Klarna’s growth in the open banking space. 

Klarna CTO Yaron Shaer said: “With Kosma we are opening up the power of our proprietary open banking platform and technology to banks, merchants and fintechs who share our dream of a world where consumers own their data and banks compete for customers by delivering value, not by locking in data.”

Klarna forayed into the open banking space by taking over German firm SOFORT in 2014 and has since enhanced its capabilities and expanded operation in 24 markets. 

The fintech uses its open banking capabilities to give customers spending-related insights and provide data allowing clients to make informed credit decisions. 

Klarna Kosma VP Wilko Klaassen said: “Over the past year, the demand for Open Banking services from financial institutions and fintech start-ups, has reached a tipping point, which is why we have built a dedicated business unit which brings together engineering, product management, sales and marketing all together in the same team to focus on this $15bn, fast-growing market.” 

The new platform is already powering business and consumer-focused clients such as FINOM, an SME-focused start-up operating in France, Germany and Italy.

Klarna, which operates in 45 global markets and employs 5,000 people, is currently valued at $45.6bn.