History of OFX
Open Financial Exchange is a unified specification for the electronic exchange of financial data between financial institutions, businesses and consumers via the Internet. Created by CheckFree, Intuit and Microsoft in early 1997, Open Financial Exchange supports a wide range of financial activities including consumer and small business banking (also with image download and loan and amortization download), consumer and small business bill payment, bill presentment and investments, including stocks, bonds and mutual funds, and tax download. Other financial services, including financial planning and insurance, may be added in the future. Open Financial Exchange, which supports transactional Web sites, thin clients and personal financial management software, streamlines the process financial institutions need to connect to multiple customer interfaces, processors and systems integrators.

Open Financial Exchange is an Internet-oriented client-server system that features a direct connection between the client and a financial institution's server, employing a request/response model using XML. It features full data synchronization and complete error recovery. The standards-based specification incorporates widely accepted Internet transport and security protocols. The specification is freely licensed, allowing any software developer to design an interface that will be supported on the front-end.

The OFX Consortium welcomes input from all interested parties to extend the open standard. The standard is governed by a consortium of leading financial institutions and technology providers that discuss and vote on the advancements of OFX specifications.

The Open Financial Exchange specification is publicly available for implementation by any financial institution or vendor, and is available for review on this website. Open Financial Exchange is being used by CheckFree, Intuit, Microsoft and many others as the mechanism for supporting financial data exchange in their products and services.

Consortium Structure
The OFX Consortium is a group of companies that came together in the late 1990’s to create an open specification defining the requirements and structure of electronic exchange of financial data between financial institutions, businesses and consumers via the Internet. The original governing board, composed of Checkfree, Corp., Intuit, Inc. and Microsoft, Inc., produced the first OFX specification, version 1.0, on February 14, 1997.

The OFX Consortium is structured into governing bodies and working groups. The governing bodies set the overall priorities for consortium activity and charter the working groups, which is where the actual work of specification production is done.

The Governing Bodies
The OFX Board and the Steering Committee charter members comprise the governing body of the OFX Consortium. They provide the overall direction of the OFX specification and ensure communication and cross pollination between the respective steering committees.

The Steering Committees are the groups established to focus on a particular aspect of OFX. These are described below.

OFX Steering Committees
The function of the OFX Steering Committees is to capture the interests of all the associated sections of the financial industry community and help define future enhancements to Open Financial Exchange. The committees help ensure the specification remains a reflection of the industry it was designed to support. These interests include the following:

The charter members of each steering committee establish governance, including the identification of other potential members and setting the size of each committee.

Some steering committees include:

Working Groups
Working groups focus on particular areas of OFX specification development. Some working groups focus on issues that cross application boundaries such as authentication, messaging techniques, and other core functionality. Other working groups focus on application specific uses of OFX.

In the past, a single OFX specification and DTD were released once a year. This meant that any changes to OFX that may have been specific to a limited use had to impact the entire OFX specification. Now, OFX working groups can be chartered to do work that spans all uses of OFX or they can be chartered to produce a particular variant or version of OFX that is targeted to a specific application.

Some past and present OFX Working Groups include the following. Some or all of these working groups come in and out of active service as the need arises.

Aggregation Working Group
The Aggregation Services Working Group is chartered with developing that part of OFX that supports download of financial account data in a format appropriate for the bulk requests and responses (multiple accounts for multiple account holders) needed by aggregation services. This working group released an Aggregation document on November 22, 2004.

A second initiative was geared at automating what has come to be known as "One-Way OFX" where banking customers manually log onto online banking web sites in order to get an OFX file download. Automating this process allowed a single HTML post to result in the OFX file download so that the One-Way process can better serve PFM users as well as account aggregators. This new functionality was introduced into OFX version 2.1, released in 2006.

For both these OFX extensions, all pre-existing OFX data objects remained unchanged.

Chair: uMonitor (Parsam Technologies, LLC), Contact Dinesh Sheth, 901-757-1212 ext. 102, dinesh@umonitor.com

Authentication Working Group
The Authentication Working Group is chartered with establishing guidelines and processes to support OFX authentication across all OFX collaboration groups.

On October 12, 2005, the FFIEC issued new guidance for the electronic banking environment. This guidance resulted in the addition of Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) techniques to OFX, spearheaded by this committee.

Chair: Intuit, Inc., Contact Charles Destrempes, Charles_Destrempes@intuit.com

Architecture Working Group
The Architecture Working Group is chartered with establishing guidelines and processes to support OFX development across all OFX Collaboration groups.

Chair: Business Logic, Inc.

Tax Working Group
The OFX Tax Working Group is chartered with developing that part of OFX that supports download of tax forms from financial institutions to automated Tax preparation software. Currently, tax reporting forms that can be downloaded are:

Chair: Intuit, Inc., Contact Charles Destrempes, Charles_Destrempes@intuit.com

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