Your bank can automate treasury onboarding. But should you?

Joe Pitzo May 16th, 2018
Treasury Management

Let’s reflect on a few spectacular technology failures that were in the news.

Facebook’s massive data scandal has everyone questioning the wisdom of taking that BuzzFeed quiz while they should’ve been working, leading to distrust of big data and speculation that it’s turning into Big Brother. And the tragic deaths caused by Uber and Tesla’s self-driving cars caused the entire car tech industry to scramble to do damage control as the driving public started to wonder whether we really need self-driving vehicles at all.

The point? Technology, whether it be big data or high-tech gadgets or, yes, even software to automate the treasury management onboarding process, is designed to make our lives easier, more efficient, faster and more powerful. But sometimes it does just the opposite. And when that happens, it opens a big can of cyber worms, leading people to doubt the very technology they were touting.

Why has treasury management onboarding become a prime automation candidate?

The process of onboarding a new business client involves endless signatures and forms, disappearing documents, and inevitable delays if the client or a vital department team member steps out for vacation. Human error. You know the drill. Between all of the delays, stops, starts, and snafus, I have witnessed onboarding timelines stretch out to upwards of six months.

Banks are fed up with the waiting, lag times, and inefficiency. So, automating the onboarding process makes sense for everyone. It makes life easier by taking human error out of the equation. Nobody is chasing people down for that signature they missed on page 35. What used to happen in weeks or months now happens in days or even minutes.

For that reason, we love automation. When long, tedious processes move faster, everyone is happy — right?

But just because you can automate a process doesn’t mean you should.

Every bank’s onboarding processes have unique quirks, and no process is perfect. What happens when you automate a bad process? Things get worse. Automating a flawed process simply results in a process that becomes flawed faster.

That’s why it’s vital to take a look at your onboarding processes with a critical eye before you invest in the automation process. But that can be easier said than done. It’s difficult to take an objective view of your own process, especially if you’ve been doing it the same way for a millennium. Here are a few suggestions to get you started:

Take a giant step back. Review your total operational flow. Where are the bottlenecks? Where are the kinks? Are all of the steps really necessary? What can be cut? What are your customer pain points?

Get everyone on the same page. Get clear with everyone involved on your end about your goals. Do you want to use the automation technology internally only, or will you allow customers to use a portal for process transparency? How much will you invest in this new system? Do you want all the bells and whistles or a more bare-bones approach?

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Most of the time, you shouldn’t have to replace your existing infrastructure to use these technologies to automate your onboarding process. It’s not like you have to turn your bank into Google headquarters with infrastructure that mere mortals have yet to see.

There’s no need to automate everything all at once. You don’t need to automate everything at one time, and moreover, it’s a mistake to do so. The benefits you’ll derive from automating the process will quickly take a back seat to the confusion and complexity of learning a brand-new system for everything. The key? Phases. If you want to automate your treasury processes or streamline onboarding for loans or wealth management, do it in manageable chunks. Let your employees learn the new system little by little instead of overwhelming them in one fell swoop.

Never trade in automation for human contact. This doesn’t and shouldn’t mean a bot is going to handle every part of your process, cutting out the human factor entirely. There’s a fine line between streamlining a lengthy, cumbersome process with technology and creating a soulless customer experience. Leverage automation and machine learning technologies to cut out the human error.  Personal interaction still has a place here.

You shouldn’t forget about your customers. After all, you’re trying to create a better, faster, more streamlined and less hassle-filled experience for them. Talk to them about their frustrations, pain points and ideas for how it might all work together. At the end of the day, this endeavor is really about creating the best customer experience possible.

There is a right way to approach automation

Remember that at the end of the day you’re making these improvements so your bank can differentiate itself from the rest of the pack. Deluxe has been leading the way in treasury onboarding automation within the financial industry for years. If you would like to learn more about how Deluxe can help streamline your treasury management onboarding processes feel free to reach out to one of our experts today.


This content is accurate at the time of publication and may not be updated.