“Technological innovations will be the heart and blood of the banking industry for many years to come and if big banks do not make the most of it, the new players from Fintech and large technology companies will.”
– David M Brear
Banking has witnessed a paradigm shift in the last few decades. Overall, financial institutions had to change over a period without being stuck with traditional ways of banking. One of the reasons for the required shift is due to the vast technological innovations in the last decade. We have seen technology creep in with services like CBS, NEFT, RTGS becoming a norm. The new age customers are even more demanding and the best way to go about it is to embrace technology in every step of banking.
The internet and faster broadband speeds have made e-commerce and digital payments a reality. Today, the entire world and the marketplace is on our screens. In fact, as this blog goes live, the ensuing pandemic has even strengthened the cause of automated banking as it reduces further human interaction in processes. Technologies like machine learning, artificial Intelligence, and blockchain are slowly seeping in to make the experience at the business and consumer end more seamless, fast and contactless. How fast the new technologies get implemented will eventually define the success of financial organisations and banks. Are we ready to welcome this sea change in banking?
The next level of automation in banking has started and it is happening with the assistance of robotic process automation. This is being seen more in labour intensive tasks like banking applications, Robotic Process Automation or RPA helps in reducing time, resulting in better customer delivery and convenience. Its effectivity can be gauged from the fact that it helps to automate labour intensive processes, with data reconciliation and transcription up to 70 %. This facilitates in better use of human resources in areas like complex banking operations and decision-making where human interaction is a must. It is also highly effective in process standardization in large scale operations. Today, business process outsourcing model is facing huge competition due to economic realities. Adding to this workflow disconnects and erroneous reporting has resulted in huge time cost overruns. Thankfully, automation has been a harbinger of hope for banking transformation in the 21st century.
10 areas banking process automation is playing a pivotal role.
Today’s customers are demanding, and banks must handle several tasks ranging from loan enquires, account opening inquiries, bank fraud to a whole range of other things without any time delay. This creates stress on the customer service teams to deliver quick and effective redressal mechanisms. Automation helps the service team to fucus on better redressal of high-priority questions, eventually helping in saving time and money and resulting in more happy customers.
The banking sector needs to adhere to many rules and regulations. Often it becomes difficult to manage compliance issues of every customer. The best bet here is 24X7 automation which enhances productivity by taking over the monotonous tasks and for the staff to focus on areas that need human intelligence and intervention.
An important part of banking is maintaining records and digitising invoices from sellers. This was traditionally facilitated by OCR (optical character acknowledgement) and by collecting, verifying and processing all information related to areas of invoicing. With automation coming in, banks took a great leap by simplifying the process of verifying the errors. Today sellers get the credit automatically on their ends thanks to RPA.
Even in an advance economy like the United States a mortgage loan can take up to 40 days to process due to several levels of scrutiny that the process has to go through. Credit checks, pre-approval check as well as employment verification is a must for a mortgage loan closure. Many times, unwarranted errors can creep in and further delay the process. Automation has been a blessing in disguise in this critical area. With algorithm-based systems banks now speed up mortgage loan processing and reduce delay in the procedures.
- Credit Card Processing
Each one of us at some point would have gone through the process of applying for a Credit Card. Despite all claims by banks and financial institutions we know the process is often complicated and frustrating. With automation banks can now approve credit card applications with quick turnaround time for the card to reach the customer within a week.
KYC has become mandatory to purge out dormant accounts and to establish authenticity of existing customers and transactions. It takes 50 to 1500 FTEs (Full time equivalent) to conduct scrutiny and thorough customer checks for KYC. This can be cumbersome and tiring. The mammoth nature of this task needed a system that could eliminate human intervention in KYC Compliance. Thanks to automation, KYC is a much-simplified error free process that requires minimal staffing.
Technological innovations and advancements have also thrown up new challenges. Like the good, there is also a dark side. With transactions there is also increase in the number of frauds. It has reached a point where it has become impossible for a bank or an institution to manually verify each transaction to stop fraud. Automation has come to rescue by flagging potential frauds automatically to concerned departments. This has made banking more secure and robust than before.
It is mandatory for banks to share compliance processes with board and shareholders for correct analysis of the health of the institution. Transparency is an important marker for the bank’s reputation, hence it is pertinent that the data is error free. The advent of automation has helped banks to collate correct data from various sources, format and verify it and then schedule it to be sent to the right departments / stakeholders.
General Ledger Maintenance
The updating of general ledger with information on assets, financial statements, expenses, returns and liabilities is a regular process in a banking environment. This data is an integral part of financial statements and automation makes the turnaround quick by collecting, verifying, and updating information from across systems and processes.
Account Closure Process
Much like the opening of a bank account, the closing also has a due process to be followed and the checklist can be huge. It is natural that human errors creep in sometime. Automation makes it easier for banks to send reminders, request and help in accounts closure and better customer delivery.
Enhanced Customer Experience and Convenience
Keeping customer experience at the heart of banking, banks typically automate most of the processes mentioned above. Automated workflow solutions thereby increase the efficiency of banks and make processes streamlined without compromising on compliance and other governance related parameters. All this and better at reduced operational costs. With automation and innovative solutions, banks also gain access to customer data which can further be leveraged to create better and more personalized solutions. Automation through an omni-channel and connected customer experience strategy is helping banks retain and growth their customer base.