Kofaxby Dave Caldeira, Kofax Inc.

Financial institutions have begun implementing various forms of digitalization to streamline business processes and attract and maintain customers. But in that quest, they do not always have a firm grip on the customer’s overall satisfaction with the organization. Assessing customer experience and satisfaction can reveal digital efficiency levels and serve as a guide to creating a highly competitive, “future-ready” enterprise.

A sound digital infrastructure begins by effectively leveraging existing core legacy systems with a flexible and scalable platform to automate back-office and front-end processes. This single platform should also allow “one and done” entering of customer information and the synchronization of data across all system applications, allowing easy expansion of digital capabilities as needed. Most importantly, the management team and/or key department stakeholders must scrutinize end-to-end business processes from the customer’s point of view to better determine where the gaps are and how to turn a potential roadblock into a customer success story.  

 

While this scenario rings true for the majority of enterprises, financial services organizations face additional, unique challenges in that they must comply with numerous regulations in tandem with satisfying customers. Gaining a competitive edge in meeting customers’ needs more quickly and efficiently has become more difficult, but not impossible. There are three digital solutions that, when integrated into the organization’s smart process application platform foundation, can give a financial institution a real advantage: robotic process automation (RPA), customer communications management (CCM) and e-signatures. 

Stay Compliant 

Digital transformation initiatives have produced advances in omnichannel customer engagement and provided new revenue opportunities. However, the increase in compliance requirements is proving to be a balancing act. Financial institutions across the globe are dealing with too many regulations to count; this permeates through every department, every process and every customer interaction. Regulatory technology, or regtech, is technology specifically designed to improve and maintain regulatory compliance.  

While the mere thought of compliance can consume you, RPA is a cost-effective technology that can be used to improve compliance and risk management. For example, when it comes to monitoring regulatory changes to ensure a bank remains in compliance, the process of collecting, classifying and delivering content to multiple banking teams can be overwhelming. A typical compliance officer can spend at least 15 percent of his or her time tracking developments. With RPA, software robots work in tandem with a bank’s employees to monitor sites — from stock exchanges (NYSE, Euronext) to federal regulatory agencies — to augment their internal compliance function, reduce the time spent tracking down information and ease their due-diligence burden. 

RPA is complementary to systems that banks already have in place — such as solutions used to automatically capture and extract data or route loan files — to further improve processes. RPA can also eliminate compliance activities that are still being performed manually by employees. These may involve routine checks of external websites and portals, such as those geared to Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations compliance. 

Organizations can also eliminate frustrating information silos that slow down and make it difficult to keep up with ever-changing regulatory requirements. With RPA, intelligent software robots deliver critical data to staff in near real time for compliance reporting via dashboards, databases, Excel spreadsheets and specialty reporting applications in any format required. This eliminates days of delays and reduces the risk of hefty fines and reputational damage for noncompliance. 

Audits, another regulatory headache, can send teams into time-consuming cycles in which they must track down and collate the required information. RPA can automatically access and integrate audit trail data for regulatory purposes and include any information that might potentially fall under an audit. This eliminates audit pains by streamlining the process and ensuring all documentation is in good order. 

Make it Personal 

Gartner defines CCM as “the strategy to improve the creation, delivery, storage and retrieval of outbound communications, including those for marketing, new product introductions, renewal notifications, claims correspondence and documentation, and bill and payment notifications.” A CCM solution essentially enables the organization to communicate with customers digitally – via the method(s) they choose – throughout the entire business process. This improves control, quality and compliance.  

Giving customers the ability to interact on their own terms, from wherever they may be, in their preferred way (e.g., online, mobile devices, email, SMS, in-branch, at their home, via phone call) is critical to the type of digitalization that fuels a superior customer experience. A flexible CCM solution will manage the creation, assembly and delivery of documents into and out of key applications and processes, leveraging the capabilities of the broader workflow platform.  

Easy Does It 

E-signatures have become a digital infrastructure imperative, especially in helping financial institutions meet compliance while improving the customer experience. Here are a few examples of how e-signatures can specifically help lenders be future-ready: 

Quicker Loan Closures – The traditional paper-based retail loan process requires multiple steps that include the lender, partners (such as retailers or car dealers), and the consumer before successful funding. Any manual errors or miscommunication along the way could result in frustrated customers abandoning the application altogether and seeking funds elsewhere. E-signatures eliminate unnecessary application and funding delays by closing the processing gap to just two to three hours instead of two to three days. 

Mortgage loans are much more complex and require even more legal paperwork that can take up to 45 days to process. Digitizing the process through e-signatures can compress the timeline by up to 21 days by some estimates, cutting costs and increasing customer retention. 

Customer Satisfaction – E-signatures provide a self-service option that increases both customer satisfaction and revenue. By enabling customers to sign electronically on their own mobile devices anytime and in any place, the purchasing experience becomes seamless, faster and more convenient — whether facilitating in-store loans for consumer purchases or while customers are sitting comfortably on their couch at home, tablet in hand. 

Cetelem, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas, offers financing solutions at the point of sale for high-value goods such as furniture or big screen TVs. Store clerks can offer the financing solution to the customer and quickly handle the transaction without touching a single piece of paper. By using tablet devices in the store, customers can then review the contract and sign it on the spot. The results have been significant. Cetelem has reduced paper use by 1.6 million sheets per year, decreased sales processing time by 54 percent, and can send payment to the retailer the day after the sale. 

Ensuring Compliance – Nothing interferes with productivity and profitability quite like ever-changing regulatory requirements. For lenders, pending changes to the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act will add another 107 metrics to reporting. Changes to Regulation C and rules on the consumer’s ability to repay are also potential glitches on the horizon. Integrating e-signatures helps eliminate several manual steps in the loan process, improving data quality for better compliance and reducing the incidence of fraud. 

Financial institutions that augment their workflow platforms with complementary digital solutions like RPA, CCM and e-signatures are primed to greatly enhance the customer experience and improve compliance. RPA eliminates cumbersome and costly manual efforts with accurate and timely results. CCM meets customers where they are to simplify processes. E-signatures speed interactions, improve customer satisfaction and help the organization meet changing rules and regulations. By building a more comprehensive digital infrastructure that takes advantage of these technologies, your financial institution can quickly achieve digital success now and maintain it well into the future.  

Dave Caldeira is Senior Vice President, Product and Solution Marketing, Kofax, Inc.

This article originally appeared in the March 2017 issue of Workflow.