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Master multichannel challenges with efficient workflow

To stay competitive and cut costs, progressive banks are replacing manual processes with automated information management solutions.

Banks want to appear efficient, like well-oiled machines, to their customers. But behind the scenes, they have a secret: Their most important business operations, including those for opening new accounts and processing loans, are awash in paper forms, email messages, faxes, letters and electronic images of documents.

When information flowing in from multiple channels has to work its way through outdated manual business processes, customer service falters and banks risk losing their valuable customers to competitors. The consequences of inefficiency are so bad, in fact, that one recently concluded study of the financial services industry blamed manual, paper-intensive lending, savings and investment processes for declines in growth opportunities at branch banks.1

Boost Efficiency Through Automated Capture

Fortunately, many banks have found a way to overcome these threats. Automated workflow solutions provide a comprehensive set of capabilities that tame multichannel bottlenecks, reduce costs and position banks for future growth.

The best workflow solutions deliver these benefits by automating key steps in the processes banks use to capture information, moving it to core back-end repositories and making it available to everyone who needs it. These leading solutions go beyond merely capturing electronic images of branch forms and customer documents. Instead, they classify and sort the information that comes from multiple sources (including paper documents, faxes, emails, digital signature pads, mobile apps and websites) and converts the data into electronic files. The solutions then send the complete set of electronic files directly to back-end applications and repositories.

Easily Extract and Share Data

When necessary, modern workflow solutions automatically check and extract key data for proper routing, allowing bank employees to focus only on any exceptions that arise. Automated workflow systems also make life easier for branch workers by providing a reliable platform for receiving and sending information.

How to Solve Three Top Problems

The results can be a game changer in the highly competitive banking environment. Consider how modern workflow systems address these top multichannel challenges:

Problem 1: Customer service representatives in branch banks spend so much time chasing documentation, they can’t devote enough energy to serving customers.

Solution: With modern workflow solutions, branch employees have more time for strategic activities thanks to automated capture tools that eliminate the need to key-in customer information or create backup copies of documents. And because automated workflow solutions eliminate the errors and omissions that are common in manually processed files, branch representatives no longer receive time-consuming calls from the underwriting department because a key document is missing. The automated workflow system holds the application until all the items in a checklist are complete.

Problem 2: Back-office employees struggle with inefficient manual processes that keep staff members from working on higher-value initiatives.

Solution: The best workflow solutions free data-entry operators and people who verify information from manual tasks by providing innovative tools that automatically extract data from documents and verify its accuracy using existing data sources. In addition, back-office employees no longer receive the large bundles of forms and backup materials that used to routinely arrive from branch banks. Instead, the multichannel capture and distribution capabilities collect all the necessary content electronically at branch offices and insert it directly into back-end systems.

Problem 3: Banks must devote scarce resources to meeting an ever-growing list of regulations.

Solution: Compliance is easier to achieve and to demonstrate with efficient workflow solutions. A host of embedded checklists and controls mean customer service representatives can no longer submit cases without required documentation. In addition, document classification tools positively identify document types, mitigating “hustle” fraud and increasing compliance rates with regulations. Auditors aren’t required to evaluate a manual processing trail because information is stored in a single repository, which speeds information audits.

MainSource Banks on Workflow

Business has been good for MainSource Bank, a community focused, financial services company based in Indiana. But along with growth came the pressure to efficiently serve all of the bank’s new customers.

New account paperwork was once packaged up by branch personnel and sent to operations centers. Problems arose when errors or missing information were discovered. The time wasted correcting them increased costs and affected customer service.

Even without errors, MainSource Bank faced high costs, spending more than $500,000 per year on courier fees, which included vehicles, maintenance, insurance and courier staffing. The bank also lacked the ability to track the documents in the review process, which made answering customer questions impossible.

A new solution changed all that: Lexmark multifunction printers (MFPs) equipped with its Account Opening application automatically scan new account signature cards directly into the bank’s operations centers. This eliminated about $200,000 a year in copier/scanner/fax maintenance, supplies and support costs.

Bank associates now load the new account documentation into the auto-feed scanner on the MFP and select the “new account opening” icon on a touchscreen panel. The documents are automatically scanned and entered into the bank’s routing process. Intelligence built into Lexmark software specifically for MainSource Bank automatically detects errors. MainSource customers can now open accounts on the same day they request it — a big drop from the four-day wait they used to encounter. The ability to scan documents into the operations system gives bank personnel near-instantaneous visibility into document status, and costs associated with couriers and overnight shipping have also been eliminated.

Eliminate Workflow Chaos

The right automated workflow solutions eliminate the chaos of multichannel information pipelines. The result: Back-end operations become an efficient machine for improving customer service, reducing costs and closely managing sensitive data.

Read about Lexmark's banking solutions and how you can achieve efficient workflows in your banking organization.

1InfoTrends: Banking Process Automation Study, November 2012.