Decades into the new millennium, finance teams are still behind with digital transformation.
Research shows that finance executives are still struggling with process improvement, whether it be document handling, collecting signatures, reporting, or forecasting.
Finance is a key function that supports the business with timely analyses needed to make informed decisions, but with manual processes placing a choke on the efficiency of teams, financial leaders will have to look to new emerging technologies that can support the need for remote work, digital-first service and the evolving expectations of clients & customers.
Stanley Huang, CTO at Moxo, a digital banking solution provider, says he’s interested in solving this pain point. Automation has been his focus over the last ten years and he’s now deploying it “to destroy the bottlenecks created by manual processes.”
Our conversation with Stanley Huang is shared below.
Crowdfund Insider: How have the preferences of financial services clients changed in the past few years? What features are they prioritizing most?
Stanley Huang: A decade ago, clients would have to interact with a bank teller and actually visit the physical branch for any banking services. Over the last few years, we’ve seen phone and email bring improvements to the client experience, but not enough to solve for the chaos created by fragmented processes that lacked any real structure.
But today, client expectations have evolved beyond phone and email, and instead, they prefer unified solutions that streamline processes, reduce wait time and offer exceptional mobile capabilities. With every bank having access to competitive digital solutions, it’s paramount that the client experience be top-notch in order to differentiate your branch strategically and keep clients onboard.
We have also seen that clients are prioritizing three things with their banking experience: digital-first, mobile, and security. Clients want to avoid the burden of traveling to physical branches, access their banking services on the go and rest assured that their sensitive information, documents and finances are protected from malicious actors.
Crowdfund Insider: What are some of the common points of friction you’re currently seeing in the banking and financial services industry?
Stanley Huang: Many of the common points of friction revolve around the customer service aspect or processes that involve a lot of client interaction. Since these processes require a lot of manual intervention, it can result in a sub-optimal experience for the client, especially today when most prefer to interact digitally and onboard remotely.
For example, due diligence processes for onboarding clients require a lot of human touch and can be chaotic for many relationship managers. This process could be make or break for any financial institution as well as a strategic differentiator amongst the competition. The goal should be to cut this time in half, but the manual review of many repetitive tasks could take days. This is the most important part of the client’s experience, as morale and attrition are likely at their low.
Aspects of the lending, underwriting and risk evaluation processes also carry a lot of friction. The handling of loan applications and other sensitive documents can lead to repetitive tasks that cross a lot of hands in the process. This can lead to inaccuracies in their assessments.
Crowdfund Insider: What emerging technologies exist to smooth over these points of friction, and how do they contribute to a finance team’s overall success?
Stanley Huang: Automation in the financial services industry is helping to reallocate resources and bring more value where it’s needed in these businesses. With relationship managers juggling many tasks and their time spread thin, automated workflows can help free up human capital, which is critical to providing quality service in the banking and financial services industries.
AI also has tremendous potential to aid in the operational process and lead to more meaningful human experiences. I believe that it will lead the next growing wave of computing technology innovation for the next 30 years, particularly due to its ability to integrate with the human component.
Underneath the umbrella of artificial intelligence are capabilities such as natural language processing and big data. Each is essential to personalizing client experiences and increasing productivity, as they allow relationship managers to handle high-value conversations, while AI handles the more structured, mundane processes.
Crowdfund Insider: What must financial institutions consider when automating their business processes?
Stanley Huang: The reality is that clients still value personalized attention, so it’s important to always leave room for unstructured, human interactions. AI comes into play for structured workflows – routine tasks requiring a lot of repetition and manual entry. With finance and banking being high-touch industries, clients require frequent human touchpoints in order to maintain a quality customer experience.
It’s critical to look at your business processes and determine which is causing the most chaos. Is it during KYC? Or maybe parts of your exception handling are creating unnecessary bottlenecks. In either case, these pain points can be alleviated by leveraging AI to streamline routine tasks while allowing representatives to handle ad-hoc requests and unstructured interactions.
Crowdfund Insider: What technological solutions would you suggest for financial institutions looking to leverage automation and reduce costly bottlenecks in their operations?
Stanley Huang: As client preferences shifted to become digital-first, many financial institutions underwent digital transformation by implementing several technologies. Although this supported the transition to digital-first service, the many disparate solutions led to chaotic processes with little to no structure.
But today’s clients no longer want to be burdened with multiple disparate channels of communication. With this in mind, financial institutions should leverage a digital client interaction hub that acts as a OneStop for all communications, collaboration and managing of the entire client lifecycle.
Clients and employees will no longer need to arrange the catch-up meeting, as all interactions can happen in one place. Digital hubs that are able to provide centralized experiences reduce costly bottlenecks, allow representatives to swiftly field ad-hoc requests and overall, deliver a modern client experience with the right blend of automation and personalization.