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08/07/2017

Onboarding automation is a budget trifecta winner

Lawrence Buettner August 7th, 2017
Categories
Treasury Management

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If you ask your corporate customers, they may say that the last innovation to speed the execution of services contracts was the use of three-part carbon-copy forms. While innovations are radically improving the customer experience in retail banking and lending, why is it that the ease of purchasing corporate treasury services lags all other everyday purchases of contracted services?

Corporations are desperate for a faster, easier, pain-free onboarding process when they agree to give a bank their business. Case in point: a recent Novantas survey confirmed that

  • Nearly half of the survey respondents deem a lengthy implementation process as a top pain point.
  • More than two-thirds of the surveyed corporations would leave their current bank for one with a better onboarding process.

We live in a world where customers — you and I — have what seems to be endless options. So while you’re working so hard to improve and innovate your bank’s services and offerings, why do so many banks let the onboarding process slip?

After all, when you give someone your business, aren’t you eager to get started?

Is there a lack of a business case?

The Novantas survey found that through an electronic onboarding process banks can enhance their compliance, improve expense control, and advance new revenue generation.

When banks are in the midst of their annual budget cycles, investment dollars can be scarce. Prioritization is a premium. Competing demands are all at play in the evaluation of each investment request. Automated treasury onboarding is one of the few investment opportunities that hits the trifecta of all of the investment criteria used in budget selection: compliance, expense control, and new revenue generation.

Solutions that automate onboarding typically encompass opening and closing bank accounts, capturing product implementation parameters account signatories or spending limits, and generating reports as required by law or regulation.

Here’s a quick glimpse of how it works:

  • Sales rep walks client through electronic forms in the client’s office on a tablet that require sign-off in order to get new treasury services up and running quickly. (Note: All forms are available to the sales rep, 24/7 — no more lugging around stacks of paper.)
  • Signed forms are submitted wirelessly via the iPad while still at the client’s office. Immediately, time is saved. You no longer have to wait for the sales rep to head back to the office — whether it’s across town or across the country — to begin implementation.
  • Electronic workflow route forms to all specified product and risk departments within the bank that should receive them, providing alerts on incomplete forms, which can be quickly addressed via the solution. The solution dashboard allows implementation to have visibility into the status and progress of each area, identifying any bottlenecks that might delay their go-live dates.

Electronic bank account management is a feature set that has been available for some time between banks and their largest corporate customers, but banks aren’t fully capitalizing on the opportunity to improve the customer experience that new mobile technology provides. And they’re missing out on a lot.

What’s to gain?

Accelerated new revenue generation: 90 percent of survey participants said they believe they can accelerate revenue by reducing implementation time. Thanks to electronic onboarding, various mundane tasks can now be eliminated, allowing sales personnel to focus more on improving the customer experience and generating revenue and less on trying to track the process of implementation.

Improved expense control: Electronic onboarding is an innovative solution that improves customer onboarding and order initiation, taking four hours or less to complete the tasks for which today’s paper-reliant methods require two to four days to finish. The implementation process as a whole can lessen time by at least 35 percent, helping to create a reduction in corporate costs.

Enhanced Compliance: With compliance requirements dominating banks’ investment lists, electronic onboarding offers banks the opportunity to double down their investment and appease both regulators and customers. It provides transparency to the onboarding process and ensures completeness of required data, and, because of the encryption of electronic signatures, it ensures document security. Electronic onboarding also promotes accountability, by providing detailed auditable history to monitor security and associate performance, and drastically reduces the amount of paper-based customer information “in transit,” which helps to improve corporate compliance, too. (In fact, banks can reduce audit and validation efforts by nearly 80 percent!)

Washington Trust, a $4 billion-asset financial institution with 40 branches and more than 750 employees and officers, migrated to automated onboarding in 2012. Since then, the bank has achieved the following results:

  • 15 percent reduction in the time staff spends on-boarding clients
  • 40 percent faster on-boarding turnaround
  • Immediate document availability
  • Automated routing of treasury agreements and setup forms
  • Elimination of interoffice mail and faxing for treasury documents

Automated onboarding is a classic case of a win-win situation. The bank saves time, money, and resources, and the customer has a better experience.

This sure looks like one area where banks should double-down their efforts!