Automation in the Financial Industry – does it pay off?

21 August 2019 tmalik

Among all industries, the financial sector designates the most funds for automation – as results from the research performed by A.T. Kearney and Arvato. Some analysts anticipate that in the next years about 50% of the actions in the field of finance will be subjected to robotisation in the world. Like in case of all forecasts, also these ones should be approached with distance, yet these numbers prove that automation in this sector will enhance its reach.

Everyone agrees that automation changes the face of the financial industry. What is more, it applies not only to enterprises: process automation in banks is used every day by ordinary people not even being aware of this fact, for example performing defined transfers.  A lot of companies adjust themselves to changes on the market, performing process automation in their structures, yet a part of them still shrink from changes being afraid of the entailed costs.

How does automation affect the financial industry?

Application Handling

Robots are perfectly suitable for examination of applications sent by the clients, i.e. complaints as well as applications for credits, loans and cards. The software collects the entirety of the necessary information and performs the entire necessary analysis. In case of credit scoring automation, the robot works out the risk scoreprepared on the basis of the collected data, based on which the bank employee issues the decision on acceptance or rejection of the application.

Polish banks, for example Bank Zachodni WBK and BGŻ BNP Paribas, very often use robots for examination of complaints. Such a solution significantly shortens the waiting time of the client since the software is able to issue the decision in a couple of hours since the moment of lodging of the complaint and not – like before – in several days.

Insurance companies use robots also for analysis of applications and valuation of the due indemnities under policies. They also happen to be used upon pricing of the insurance premium. For example, the software checks the client and if it discovers that they are a smoker – even on the basis of the photos posted by them in the Internet – the price of their insurance premium goes up.Also the policy payment process is automated: after the client pays the premium, mechanical data exchange between the bank and the insurance company takes place and the payment is uploaded to the system of the insurer immediately.

Transaction Handling

Robots take over all payment-related tasks from people: they perform transfers, they monitor sale transactions and they generate reports. Defined transfers, mentioned above, are the most common display of payment automation.

Borrowers are one of the groups which benefit from robotisation of these processes the most. Automation of credits and loans significantly accelerates the final stage, i.e. accounting and disbursement of funds. BGŻ BNP Paribas claims that robots result in acceleration of this process by 300%. It happens that the client may receive the money in their account already on the credit granting date.

Chatbots

A popular solution applied by companies in the robotisation process are chatbots, i.e. computer software which conducts conversations with people by means of a natural language or text interface. Enterprises use them usually on their websites in customer service, where they replace traditional consultants in order to respond to questions of the clients about the services offered by the company in an automated way.

Thanks to combination of the robot with Google Assistant and soon also with Siri, the clients will also be able to talk to the consultant about the topics, for which the chatbot will be prepared. The software will operate continuously, so it will be possible to contact it at any time of the day and of the night. The process of work and learning of the chatbot is also subject to automation through aggregation of information from numerous databases and systems.

Personalisation

Personalisation is an extremely important aspect of changes in the financial industry. It is the most visible in automation of customer service and sale. The robot collects the entirety of the information on the client and on its basis – instead of offering unnecessary services – it is able to propose specific and perfectly tailored solution to them. Moreover, on the basis of templates the software can generate personalised marketing materials, from which the client may select themselves what perfectly suits them.

Liquidation of the threat of misselling is an additional yet important benefit of robotisation. This common phenomenon consists in general in causing damage to consumers on the financial market. It is here about such actions as: failure to inform on hidden costs and risk connected with the given financial product and offering of financial products which are unsuitable for the given client. Thanks to sale process automation, the misselling risk disappears as human factor is minimised.

Order Management

Order management automation provides great convenience for companies. The robot downloads the attachment with the order and enters it in the system and then sends it to the warehouse, after which it issues an invoice and sends it to the customer. Such a solution definitely accelerates this entire process.

Does it pay off?

Like in case of other areas, automation of the financial sector brings measurable benefits to companies: increase of efficiency and reduction of costs as well as decrease of risk of frauds committed by the bankers.

Contrary to a human, the robot does not get tired, does not make mistakes and performs the tasks entrusted to it much faster. It is clearly visible in case of credit process robotisation. For example, a traditional bank employee needs on average 40 minutes for performance of borrower’s risk analysis. Credit assessment automation will result in shortening of this time to 10 minutes. Thanks to the fact that all necessary analyses have been performed by the robot, the human needs only to assess on the basis of the risk score whether the credit should be granted to the applicant. BGŻ BNP Paribas stated that in non-full first year of automation the robots performed about 6 thousand instructions relating to credit applications, agreement registration and disbursement of funds while it was possible to shorten the time of performance of the instructions handled in cooperation between people and robots by 30%–70%.

It is clear that robotisation requires specific financial contribution at the beginning and later, the company bears only the maintenance costs. According to the aforementioned research of A.T. Kearney and Arvato, investment in automation pays off after one year from its implementation while in the next three years it brings 100–300% of profit.

The risk of mass dismissal of traditional employees, who may be replaced with robots, certainly raises the greatest doubts in the discussion about financial sector automation.

Some experts predict that the human will become luxurious goods in the bank structures in the future. The specialists emphasise the fact that it is the tasks and not the positions that are subject to automation and implementation of robots is aimed at facilitation of the everyday work of the employees. At the same time it must be remembered that automation entails the need of improvement of the employees’ qualifications, so that they may easily manage in the automated world of finance.

Robotisation brings also non-financial benefits. Financial process automation results mainly in increase of the level of satisfaction among the clients. Shortening of the time of waiting for decisions, improvement of communication, offer tailoring – all of these make the satisfaction of the client go up.

Summary

Profitability of automation in the financial industry should not raise any doubts. The cases described in this article are based on our own experience connected with RPA and BPA as well as on the statements of the representatives of the enterprises, in which robotisation or automation of business processes has already been implemented. So far, in our company it has been possible to robotise generation of agreements and accounting documents, payments and withdrawals as well as integration of business information and to automate inter alia:

BPA implementations to our clients, read the history of their successes:

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