Banking and Financial industry is seen to be growing exponentially over the past few years with the implementation of technological advancements resulting in faster, more secure and reliable services. In order to remain competitive in an increasingly saturated market – especially with the more widespread adoption of virtual banking – banking firms have had to find a way to deliver the best possible user experience to their customers. According to PwC, nearly 81% of banking CEOs are concerned about the speed of technological change, more than any other industry sector. Internally, the challenge to maximize efficiency and keep costs as low as possible while also maintaining maximum security levels has also increased. To answer these demands, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) has become a powerful and effective tool.
RPA has been significantly adopted in this sector, for making the time consuming banking operations more organized and automated. According to reports, the largest revenue share for 2019 was dominated by BFSI segment in terms of application of RPA.
Robotic process automation has also dramatically streamlined a wide variety of back office processes that once bogged down bank workers. By shifting much of these tedious, manual tasks from human to machine, banks have been able to significantly reduce the need for human involvement, which has had a direct impact on everything from performance and efficiency levels to staffing issues and expenses.
Recently, the largest banks in Japan made news for implementing robotic process automation to save labor costs and gain operational efficiency. Major banks like Axis Bank and Deutsche bank have also made news for implementing RPA to automate business processes.
Bank employee deal with voluminous data from customer and manual processes are prone to have errors. Banks around the world are considering RPA to minimize the manual processing of this huge data to avoid errors. Processing data manually also time consuming task. Simple validation of customer information from 2 systems can take seconds instead of minutes with bots. Introducing bots for such manual processes can reduce processing cost by 30% to 70%. Several processes in the banks can be automated to free up the manpower to work on more critical tasks.
RPA has a plethora of different applications in the BFSI segment to free up the manpower to work on more critical tasks. Some of these processes include:
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- Account Origination & Receivable
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- Customer Service
Banks deal with multiple queries every day ranging from account information to application status to balance information. It becomes difficult for banks to respond to queries with low turnaround time.
RPA can automate such rule based processes to respond to queries in real time and reduce turnaround time to seconds, freeing up human resource for more critical tasks
With the help of artificial intelligence, RPA can also resolve queries which needs decision making. With the help of NLP, Chatbot can understand the natural language to chat with customer and respond like human.
[Also Read: How AI Chatbot Is Transforming Customer Care industry]
Banking being the center of the economy is closely governed and needs to adhere to lot many compliance. According to Accenture survey in 2016, 73% respondent believed that RPA can be key enabler in compliance. RPA increases productivity with 24/7 availability and highest accuracy improving the quality of compliance process.
- Accounts Payable
Accounts payable is a simple but monotonous process in the banking system. It requires extracting vendor information, validating it and then processing the payment. This does not require any intelligence making it the perfect case for RPA.
Robotic Process Automation with the help of optical character recognition (OCR) solution can solve this problem. OCR can read the vendor information from the digital copy physical form and provide information to RPA system. RPA will validate the information with the information in the system and process the payment. If any error occurs, RPA can notify the executive for resolution.
[Also Read: How Robotic Process Automation Can Streamline the Accounts Payable Processing?]
- Credit Card Processing
Traditional credit card application processing used to take weeks to validate the customer information and approve credit card. The long waiting period was dissatisfaction to customers and cost to banks. However, with the help of RPA, banks now can process the application within hours. RPA can talk to multiple systems simultaneously to validate the information like required documents, background checks, credit checks and take the decision of the basis of rules to approve or disapprove the application.
- Mortgage Loan
In United States, it takes approx. 50 to 53 days to process mortgage loan. Process of approving mortgage loan goes through various checks like credit checks, repayment history, employment verification and inspection. A minor error can slow down the process. As the process is based on specific set of rules and check, RPA can accelerate the process and clear the bottleneck to reduce the processing time to minutes from days.
- Fraud Detection
With the introduction of digital system, one of the major concerns of banks is fraud. It is really difficult for banks to track all the transactions to flag the possible fraud transaction. Whereas RPA can track the transactions and raise the flag for possible fraud transaction pattern in real-time reducing the delay in response. In certain cases RPA can prevent fraud by blocking accounts and stopping transaction.
- KYC Process
Know Your Customer (KYC) is a mandatory process for banks for every customer. This process includes 500 to 1000+ FTEs to perform necessary checks on the customers. According to Thomson Reuters, banks spend more than $384 million per year on KYC process compliance.
Considering the cost of the manual process, banks have started using RPA to validate customer data. With increased accuracy, banks no longer have to worry about the FTEs and the process can be completed with minimal errors and staff.
- General Ledger
It is mandatory for the banks to keep the general ledger updated with information like financial statements, revenue, assets, liabilities, expenses and revenue which is used to prepare financial statements. Financial statements are the public documents which are then accessed by public, stakeholders and media. Considering the amount of detailed information in the statement, error in the report can very badly affect the bank’s image.
To create the statement, bank needs to update information from the multiple legacy systems as these systems cannot integrate, verify it and make sure that the general ledger is prepared with no errors. With this amount of the data from the multiple systems, it is bound to have errors. Here comes RPA to the rescue. RPA is independent of the technology and can integrate data from multiple legacy systems to present in the required format even if the data in the systems is not in the same format. This reduces the huge amount of data handling and time.
- Report Automation
Like all other public companies, banks need to prepare report and present to their stakeholders to show the performance. Considering the importance of the report, there is no chance for the bank to make error.
While RPA systems provide data in multiple formats, it can create report by auto filling the available report format to create report without errors and minimum time
- Account Closure Process
With such a huge number of customers, it is supposed to get some account closure requests on monthly basis. There can be various reasons for the account closures and one of them is when client has failed to provide mandatory document.
With Robotic Process Automation, it is easy to track such accounts and send automated notification and schedule calls for the required document submissions. RPA can also help banks to close account in exceptional scenarios like customer failing to provide KYC documents.
[Also Read: Everything you need to know about RPA]
Banks can do more with less human resources and rip the financial benefits with RPA. A survey in financial section by PricewaterhouseCoopers shows that 30% of the respondent were not only experimenting with RPA, but were on the way to adopt it enterprise wide.
Let’s looks at some of the many benefits of RPA in banking:
- Cost Savings
Many argue that RPA does not reduce cost but provide more value addition to the overall organizational benefits and efficiency. Whereas, the various implementation show slightly different data.
Banks are always looking to cut cost in such competitive industry. Thanks to the RPA. Research shows that implementing RPA drives about 25% to 50% cost savings, improving the output metrics of applied functions.
- Expediting the Operational Efficiency
Banks play a very important role in influencing the economy. If all the banks become more efficient, it’ll have direct and ripple effect on many other industries.
RPA is an extensive solution which requires employee training, governance, comprehensive setup. But once it is in place, research says that banks will save 40-60% in the first year of implementation making processes faster and much more efficient.
- Agile Businesses
With the growing technology penetration in every industry and globalization, banks need to be more agile and flexible than ever. The effect of things happening on the other side of the world can be seen in hours instead of days. With RPA, banks get a chance to prepare for any situation and respond in no time.
Also, by freeing up the human resources from daily mundane tasks, more focus can be given coming up with innovative strategies to grow business.
- Growth with Legacy Data
Technology has allowed us to digitize the data from the paper entries making it available for businesses. With RPA, banks are using legacy and new data to bridge the gap between processes. With the availability of data in one system allows creating faster and better reports for the business strategies.
- Reduced Business Response Time
Banks are incorporating Robotic Process Automation for faster process execution and operational efficiency. Research says that banks will be able to save 75% of the cost while retaining the quality output. Banks like HDFC and ICICI are using RPA to bring down process execution time by around 60%. RPA is disrupting the way banks are operating and the adoption will increase with the CAGR of 65%.
- Leveraging the Existing Infrastructure
Implementing Robotic Process Automation does not require setting up new infrastructure. The unique quality of RPA technology allows it to integrate with any system irrespective of the development technology making it applicable enterprise wide. Banks are already using RPA in operations, sales, Human Resources, Admin, Finance functions to optimize process with efficiency and reduced cost.
- Faster Implementation with No Coding
Most of the RPA tools like AutomationEdge provides drag and drop technology to automate process. This technology allows creating automation workflow without any or minimal coding. This makes it easy to implement and maintain.
Is RPA a good choice for financial institutions?
With so many numbers of advantages, banks must consider RPA as the technology for change. RPA can provide the edge over competition with reduced cost and improved efficiency for significant growth in business. Although RPA is a costly investment, considering the value it gives to your business, you can surely get a good ROI within months of investment. It’s time you switch to smart banking operations.
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