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A global survey of business leaders across a wide range of sectors carried out by McKinsey & Co. revealed that 66% of respondents were already piloting solutions to automate at least one business process. 

This statistic is especially relevant for the banking and financial services industry, which are one of the most data-driven sectors of the economy today. This highly regulated market deals with massive volumes of data. That's why digitization with the help of modern and secure solutions is so important for building a competitive advantage. 

Today, banks and financial services companies implement automation solutions to streamline processes, accelerate delivery, and provide a better experience to their customers. 

This article zooms in on business process automation in the finance and banking sector to show you its critical use cases and industry examples. Read on to find out everything there is to know about automation and the revolution it's causing to the financial services market. 


What is business process automation? 


Business process automation (also called BPA or business automation) refers to managing and handling business processes using various automation technologies. 

The idea is to replace the manual, time-consuming, expensive, and error-prone methods of performing activities when specially designed automated systems can do that for us. They provide the speed and accuracy that aren't an option for human employees. 

The goal of business process automation is to increase the productivity of business processes with the help of software. Today, BPA is one of the key trends across many industries because it simplifies complex tasks, eliminates redundant activities, enhances service quality, and reduces overall operating costs. 

Business process automation is one of the cornerstones of digital transformation initiatives happening across the entire financial services industry. 

Banks are implementing BPA because it improves business workflows and serves as a critical part of the overall business strategy looking for new ways to make organizations adaptable to the changing industry needs. It also reduces human error and redefines the job roles in the rapidly developing digitized environment. 

BPA solutions can manage a wide range of banking aspects such as sales, workflow, planning, compliance, and customer relationships. 

When applied well, BPA goes beyond the traditional data management system to become a highly sophisticated software. It takes advantage of cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that are capable of:

  • simulating human cognitive abilities, 

  • interacting with humans, 

  • interpreting unstructured data, 

  • implementing decisions without any human intervention.


Principles of business process automation


Orchestration

Business process automation allows organizations to design systems that perfectly match their unique needs and fundamental core requirements. 

Integration

BPA isn't restricted to a single department within the organization. Instead, financial services and banking companies that are more advanced in their digital transformation journey spread BPA across all the divisions with the common goal of improved efficiency and performance. 

Execution

BPA reduces the effort and time required for human interventions. That way, human employees can focus on more complex and mission-critical tasks.


Business process automation vs. Robotic process automation


The goal of business process automation is to optimize the entire range of business processes with automation software - eliminating repetitive work and improving the overall productivity. 

Note that BPA doesn't focus on a single process or department. Instead, it approaches the organization on a holistic level to check which processes could be improved through automation. That's why it requires an in-depth analysis of business inefficiencies and areas for improvement. Most of the time, it involves building a solution from the ground up instead of adjusting and optimizing existing processes. 

On the other hand, robotic process automation (RPA) refers to software that enables business process automation. Instead of trying to automate an entire workflow, RPA is task-oriented. It works alongside humans to help them perform tasks more efficiently. 

The key differentiator here is the technology that automates and completes tasks. The software replicates employee behavior when interacting with the user interface, just like a human would. 

That's why RPA can also be applied to many different computer tasks such as: 

  • payroll processing, 

  • document generation, 

  • claims processing, 

  • membership renewals, 

  • underwriting loans, 

  • order processing, 

  • shipping notifications. 


Business process automation in the banking industry


Robotic process automation, artificial intelligence, and machine learning are just some of the many automation technologies today leading smooth digital transformations in financial services. 

Financial companies use BPA to:

  • automate repetitive and data-intensive/redundant tasks, 

  • automate problem-solving and analytics, 

  • enforce standardization and policies, 

  • enhance employee efficiency and productivity, 

  • work in compliance with company rules and procedures, 

  • reduce the overall operational expenses, 

  • organize internal operations and working processes, 

  • reducing the overhead count, 

  • comply with industry standards. 


As you can see, BPA offers great value to the banking industry. Here are the primary benefits organizations have seen from implementing business process automation.

Benefits of business process automation


Cost savings

The primary reason behind the interest in BPA is cost savings. Automation improves efficiency, accelerates processes, and eliminates the risk of human error. It also contributes to saving money. Experts suggest that by using automation, organizations can eliminate up to 90% of their operational costs

Capgemini suggested that the financial services industry could get up to $512 billion in new global revenue thanks to automation.


Speeding up operations

Automation reduces the time employees spend on routine and repetitive tasks. We're talking about budget report analysis, software updates, or compliance tracking. By automating processes, companies optimize their efficiency and allow employees to perform high-value tasks that require complex decision-making and problem-solving or providing customized products and services to clients. 


Taking advantage of the existing IT infrastructure

The best thing about automation technologies is that they don't even require a new setup or infrastructure. Most of them can be easily implemented in the system without disrupting any of the existing legacy structures. Moreover, they can be custom-made to integrate with as many systems as possible and deliver value across every department. 


Data processing in real-time

One challenge that banking and financial services companies face is processing data and analyzing it in real-time. This is where AI and machine learning can help. They enable real-time data processing that reduces the overall workload and risk of human errors. In this context, intelligent cash management, trade monitoring, and risk management are now possible to accomplish without any human intervention. 


Better customer experience

Today, financial organizations are customer-centric, and they strive to provide the best possible experience. Modern technologies can help a lot here by analyzing customer behavior patterns and preferences. This is how organizations provide the best products and services in areas ranging from wealth management to investment advisory. By using robotic advisors, banks can interact with customers promptly and provide high-quality assistance even in the most complex issues.


7 use cases of business process automation in financial services


1. Know Your Customer (KYC)

Customer information is a critical asset for every bank because it's required at many different stages. Most of the time, customer information goes through processes for ensuring compliance with various other agencies – such as identity verification and background checks. 

A bank sometimes needs to do this every single time it opens a new account. This is when the task becomes time-consuming and expensive. 

Intelligent automation can solve this problem. BPA software can create a centralized network of information from which it pulls information about customers easily. With the help of machine learning, the system can extract information even from PDF documents. 


2. Banking operations

BPA is transforming different aspects of back-office banking operations, such as customer data verification, documentation, account reconciliation, or even rolling out updates. Banks use BPA to automate tasks that are repetitive and can be easily carried out by a system.


3. Compliance and risk analysis

Organizations are investing in automation solutions that improve all the business processes involved in risk and compliance. Robotic process automation helps banks carry out fraud checks or quality checks and help out in risk reporting. 


4. Credit card processing

Customers no longer have to wait for weeks before their credit cards are approved. How come? It's all thanks to automation technologies that assist banks in processing applications within hours by accessing many different systems to validate information, carry out the background check, and tick all the boxes necessary for issuing a credit card. 


5. Mortgage loans

Another area where business process automation has a huge impact is mortgage loan systems. The process of approving the mortgage loan used to take even 60 days before automation stepped in. Thanks to automating the checks, history, employment status, and other required documents, the processing time is significantly reduced and delivers a better customer experience. 


6. Customer service

As mentioned before, banks now operate as customer-centric organizations. Facing competition from both traditional banks and fintech startups, these organizations are constantly striving to improve customer experience and often use automation to help with that. 

Responding to thousands of inquiries every day is difficult for human employees. Automation allows you to offer the best possible solutions at the right time - and sometimes even in real-time! 

Banks are now implementing AI-powered chatbots that take care of these simpler issues leaving the complex queries to human agents. 


7. Fraud detection

Digitalization brought about new fraud concerns for the financial services sector. However, the good news is that they can be solved with technology as well. Robotic process automation allows easier fraud prevention thanks to predictive analytics. 

Automation tools closely monitor all the transactions and flag any that seem suspicious. Moreover, when human agents review their decisions as right or wrong, they learn from these outcomes and become even more accurate in how they operate and flag transactions. 


Conclusion

There's no denying that automation is at the core of the digital transformation strategies of many banks and financial services companies. But for business process automation to bring you the most benefits, you need a qualified and experienced partner to help you handle the technology part. 

At Maxima Consulting, our core competencies revolve around the current requirements of the financial services sector. 

Our experts have assisted multiple banks and financial services companies in digitizing their processes and introducing automation successfully to relieve their employees from repetitive tasks, improve customer experience and build a strong competitive advantage. 

Get in touch with us if you're looking for a seasoned team of experts that knows how to implement business process automation successfully.