Transforming Commercial Account Opening in the COVID-19 Era

Katherine Manning June 16, 2020 Banking

Transforming Commercial Account Opening in the Era of COVID-19

In the digital age, consumers are used to interacting with digital companies who are able to provide a seamless mobile experience. In addition, FinTech upstarts are significantly reshaping the banking sector. Fortunately, emerging technologies pose opportunities for commercial account opening. In the COVID-19 era, many companies have transitioned from customer-facing interactions to mobile banking and digital tools. One thing is for sure: The future of commercial banking will be quite different. 

To survive in the future, operations must be digitized and automated. This includes many components of the commercial account opening process. What happens as a result? Banks can serve customers more effectively, and transform commercial account opening.

Digital transformation through process automation

Many commercial banks are either in the initial stages or in the middle of a digital transformation. This trend was further exacerbated by the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic. As employee health and safety stood at the forefront, along with prioritizing virus containment, many commercial banks now operate with remote teams as a permanent fixture within their business continuity strategy. 

As many businesses were mandated to shutter completely when COVID-19 impacts started to surge, their financial needs also skyrocketed. As a result, many commercial banks were flooded with large volumes of support inquiries and loan applications. In fact, some were faced with thousands of inquiries per day at the height of the lock down periods. Without enough human team members to adequately field all of these inquiries, process automation could help to take over repeatable tasks while redirecting human team members to higher-value tasks.

The COVID-19 era is rife with uncertainty and many businesses have either shut down completely or are struggling to stay afloat. It has become more critical than ever for banks to find new ways of servicing evolving customer demands.

On-boarding commercial accounts

It can take quite a long time for a full commercial account opening on-boarding. There are several steps to take, including:

  • New client confirmation
  • Capturing new account data 
  • Validating information
  • Configuring credit lines
  • Assigning credit limits
  • Term negotiations
  • Legal due diligence
  • Meeting compliance mandates
  • Tracking the data
  • Managing ongoing reporting

The customer experience starts to dwindle the longer they have to wait. On the other hand, process automation can assist by taking over any repeatable, and rules-based, processes associated with commercial account opening. Currently, commercial account opening requires multiple manual processes. Unfortunately, especially in a high-stress situation, human team members are prone to making mistakes. In addition, there are many disparate applications used for processing new accounts. To resolve bottlenecks, affected by COVID-19, the quickest resolution would be process automation.

Link broken processes

Use process automation to route documents to the next step in the workflow. Send stakeholders notifications when it’s time to complete items in their queue. Automate account data, not just to help with upselling and cross-selling opportunities, but also to improve the compliance process. Automate tracking and monitoring to improve transparency and to apply audit trails. 

It’s important to remember that manual processes are much more expensive than automated workflows whether it is the cost of human labor or the risks incurred when mistakes are made. Further, manual processes take longer, which leaves less time to focus on strategic responsibilities. Moreover, fraud is a significant cost for commercial banks, and can lead to missed revenue opportunities when employees are overwhelmed with tasks around fraud detection and investigation. Yet, process automation can help commercial banks to scale their repeatable processes so that they can serve clients as quickly as possible. 

The COVID-19 impact

Invariably, COVID-19 has affected every sector – commercial banking is no exception. To transform commercial account opening, it takes a clear understanding of how – and where – COVID-19 will change the customer journey. Look at these changes in terms of volume, customer need, and impact. Then, align them with your digitized, and automated, offerings. Use process automation to execute scalable changes in a standardized manner. Millions of business customers will continue to request loans, payment extensions, and other services during this time. With process automation, you can reduce workflow risks during spikes in demand. Also, you can reduce the stress levels of front-line staff by easing their workloads with a new menu of contactless business interactions. 

Final thought

There isn’t a perfect, one-size-fits-all solution. It’s a difficult time for all. Of course, the primary concern should be health and safety and to do what is necessary to mitigate the damage caused by the pandemic. In conjunction, we have to think about what business will be like when we have moved past the crisis and what we can do now to ensure we are all better able to deal with any future disruptions. 

Process automation can help banks save money and time as well as reduce errors. Further, process automation can help banks transform the commercial account opening process to meet the evolving needs of customers in a post-pandemic world.

 

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