One of the first industries to adopt RPA and one that reaped the most significant benefits was the financial industry. It is not surprising if you consider the current state of most banks: they are one of the biggest institutions in existence, sometimes having a history going back centuries, employing thousands of people.
An ideal environment
Size mandates strict structure and strict structure is fertile ground for RPA processes. In banks, almost every process is heavily documented and has more or less clear rules when, how, and why it is being done. Rich history usually implies a combination of old and new technologies, trying to keep up with the times. Some systems, be it because of convenience budget restrictions, are somewhat outdated but still in use. Some new systems are implemented and seem like night and day differences compared to the legacy stuff. This kind of technology mix creates an ideal groundwork for RPA – an easy way to bridge different applications that do not have a built-in way to communicate, helping them act as a united system, as part of a whole.
The best way to calculate if automating a process with RPA is worth it is to evaluate the following formula:
(COST OF MANUAL LABOR PER JOB) * (FREQUENCY OF THE JOB) / (COST OF AUTOMATION)
Cost of labor – Working in a bank usually has to do with complex calculations, transactions, or regulatory rules, which requires a skilled workforce, which is usually not cheap. Those (complex) jobs are not what we aim for with RPA. We want to eliminate the predictable, competitive tasks that the same skilled employees have to do.
Frequency - As an employer of thousands, banks usually have entire departments and a team of people that are responsible for several vital processes. In other words, a lot of people are doing the same thing. This means that many business processes happen often (think of 10 times a day, more than 100 times a month, or similar)
Cost of automation – This is process-specific. The simpler the process, the lesser the cost. The cost is usually fixed, so the automation usually pays off, but with various ROIs (time required to get the initial investment back). Besides, this is where we must consider if the current processes are permanent or are likely to change in the near future.
Unquantifiable benefits – Not in the formula, but there are usually benefits such as faster response time (for a customer-oriented process), reduced errors and mistakes, happier employees (no more boring work), ability to handle high loads.
Where to look in banking
The best place to start looking for good automation candidates is the back-office departments and organization units. Here are some examples:
- Backoffice – Creating new clients, disabling credit cards, the first level of support, blacklist removal, setting account notifications, setting daily limits, payment warnings, 3rd party (legally backed) transaction listing requests
- Banking operations – Propagating loans to different systems, return of pensions, SEPA booking, seizure withdrawal, inheritance documentation
- Compliance – Credit card reports, regulatory reports, data fetching, negative news screening, fraudulent checkups
- IT – Employee onboarding, account creation, the first level of support, utility proactive processes, daily checkups
In one of our recent projects, we managed to automate 23 business processes for one banking institution. We started with back-office processes, then expanded the project to controlling and accounting departments. If you are interested in digging deeper into this customer success story, here you can find more details on FTEs saved and the required period.
Make the first step
Don’t just think about making the banking processes more efficient. Talk to your team. Use this process assessment template to calculate the suitability of automating the business workflows. Explore further. Contact the firm that has experience with developing software robots. Check out the success stories of other financial institutions to gain ideas. Bring the change to your team and make people’s tasks less monotonous.