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When you think of particularly paper-intensive businesses, chances are, banks and insurance companies come to mind. Financial services organizations are traditionally paper-based, meaning the processes that drive their businesses begin, and sometimes end, with manually completed paper forms.

From a customer perspective, setting up a new account, initiating a claim, or applying for a loan are time-consuming, needlessly complex tasks involving reams of paperwork. These applications are also cumbersome, inefficient and costly for financial organizations themselves. The sectorĺs continued reliance on slow, manual tasks seriously frustrates its clients, which results in low overall customer satisfaction, loss of business, and diminished productivity.

Is it any wonder that, due to strong competition for clients, and government legislation, financial services firms are looking to automate business processes and bring their services online?

Customer touchpoints for financial services companies encompass a broader scope than just dealings with traditional consumers. Consider the various ways a bank or credit union interacts with all of its stakeholders via processes that could be automated:

  1. Bank-to-bank/business
    New accounts, treasuries management, loan origination, wire transfer, compliance filing.
  2. Bankľto-consumer
    New accounts, change requests, problem resolution, loan servicing, consumer self-service.
  3. Bank-to-government
    Compliance filings (S1, 10K, 10Q), SARS filings, Student loan servicing, FDIC reporting, NASD filings, and compliance with legislation (Patriot Act, Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act).
  4. Bank-to-employee
    Performance management, benefits enrollment, employee change of status, procurement applications, leave/travel requests
Best Practices for Business Process Automation

In looking at the above, it is clear thereĺs no shortage of processes that could be streamlined. By eliminating paper-based processes at their start, financial services organizations have an opportunity to greatly improve the speed and accuracy of interactions with consumers, governments and businesses, thereby creating a significant competitive advantage.

The true challenge is translating the idea of improved processes to a reality that works within the day-to-day operations of a financial institution. In automating business processes, organizations need to do more than put forms online. There needs to be a thorough examination of the existing processes and a focus on developing an intuitive system for users. It is for these reasons that electronic forms or e-forms have emerged as a best practice within the financial services market for making the move to automated business processes.


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