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Digital Banking

Automation + Digital Banking = Improved Operations

Rob Loethen
May 31, 2023

I remember when my dad bought our family’s first calculator. It was from Texas Instruments, and the numbers glowed red as you entered your simple mathematical task. I thought it was a remarkable invention, saving so much time. Yet my schoolteachers lamented their use, afraid that calculators were ruining our ability to learn how to do math. 

As it turned out, we still learned our math. Once we understood the concepts, calculators just let us find answers faster and with more accuracy – unless human error struck and we keyed the formula incorrectly, of course.

Today’s Challenges and Opportunities

As a financial services professional, you’ll often find yourself – or the teams reporting to you – performing daily tasks that aren’t hard to do but take a fair amount of time, are mundane, and include opportunities for human error. As a leader, you feel the frustration of your teams when manual tasks cause their eyes to glaze over and minds to disengage from their work.

At the same time, you’re focused on creating an exceptional experience by providing the speed and accuracy that are top-of-mind for your accountholders. As an accountholder yourself, you understand their frustration when a task that seems simple, like an address change, isn’t performed correctly or completely, requiring more than one attempt to get it right.

That’s where the benefits of automation come into play. 

Applying automation to manual processes creates opportunities for speed and accuracy within the accountholder experience while removing time-intensive and mind-numbing tasks for your employees. This provides opportunities to create a more engaged workforce that can perform higher-value work while simultaneously removing friction points for your accountholders. 

Implementation Challenges

Despite all of the benefits, challenges to implementing automation have dogged financial institutions for years. 

For some, it’s the belief that automation creates negative human impacts. Similar to my teachers’ concerns so many years ago, there’s a lingering worry that automation takes something away from the people involved in delivering financial services, removing the humanity that sets community banks and credit unions apart. 

For others, it’s the technological challenges that spring up when the various pieces of software don’t share their data, rendering automation attempts impossible. It’s especially true of older financial services software, built before integration was top-of-mind and open APIs were but a dream.

Fortunately, many of today’s technology platforms – including Jack Henry’s – are built with openness and integration in mind, making it easy to help progressive banks and credit unions move forward. 

Low-Hanging Fruit: Automation + Digital Banking

While automation can create efficiencies across all parts of a bank or credit union’s operations, with today’s consumers expecting more self-serve functionality within the digital platform, it’s the perfect time to explore automation within the digital banking experience. 

Here are three things I regularly recommend integrating and automating through your digital banking front door:

1. Address Changes – The very idea of automating address changes can strike fear into the hearts of your fraud and compliance department while delighting your back-office operations team and accountholders all at once. 

From your accountholders’ perspective, an address change is time-consuming and inconvenient. Often requiring an in-person trip to the branch or authenticating their identity in numerous ways with a call center representative “for security purposes,” the effort seems to outweigh the benefit.

With 78% of Americans preferring to bank via a mobile app or website, it makes sense to integrate address change processes into your digital banking experience – in a way that leverages automation to make even the most skeptical fraud department employee comfortable.

Picture this: An accountholder logs in to your digital banking app, authenticating their identity through 2FA. They enter their new address into a form, which kicks off an automation workflow that immediately runs the new address by the USPS database to confirm its validity. 

Upon verification, a text is issued to the mobile number listed on your core, asking the accountholder to reply with a confirmation that the address change request is legitimate. If the reply is affirmative, the new address is updated on the core. If not, the digital profile is immediately locked down and an alert is posted to the accountholder’s profile.

Seamless for your accountholder? Absolutely. Caution that satisfies your fraud prevention team? One hundred percent. 

2. Remote Deposit – Offering your accountholders the opportunity to deposit checks from their mobile device has become table stakes, as the percentage of consumers who used mobile deposit increased from 40% to 53% in 2022. 

And yet, at many banks and credit unions, remote deposit enrollment and deposit limits are handled manually, causing delays and a friction-filled accountholder experience. In 2022, 22% of Cornerstone survey respondents chose not to use remote deposit because they wanted faster access to their funds, while another 25% were stymied by single-check or monthly check limits. 

At a time when capturing low-cost deposits is essential to successfully managing your balance sheet, creating workflows to manage remote deposit enrollments and limits can be key to deposit retention and growth. 

Flexible workflows can make all the difference in this scenario, creating efficiencies while also managing your institution’s risk appetite. Workflows could include an option for manual review of new remote deposit enrollment requests, or utilize automated approvals based on things like the length of the relationship or average balance, triggering manual reviews for applicants that don’t automatically qualify.

Some financial institutions, like Simmons Bank, have even used integrations with the Banno Digital Toolkit™ to adjust daily remote deposit limits automatically, based on account activities and behaviors. Tripling their dollar volume of mobile deposits, this automation has also led to a drastic reduction in mobile deposit losses.
3. Digital Form Submission – As you create your continuum of digital service delivery, you’ll discover that accountholders and support representatives alike benefit from the ability to send, complete, and submit forms through the digital channel. It’s especially helpful in the context of an authenticated chat session, the way Banno Conversations™ is baked into the Banno Digital Platform™. 

When your service representatives are helping accountholders, they may uncover the need to attach a form or application to the conversation for the accountholder to complete. Reg E claims, skip-a-pay forms, or applications for new products or services all come to mind. Savvy automation can help this process along.

Event tracking within the digital conversation can trigger workflows that send eSign-compliant forms directly to the accountholder, and even file completed forms into your document imaging system automatically. Additional actions, like notifying functional areas of your financial institution or automatically updating an account setting, could also be programmed, making processes smooth and efficient from both the accountholder and back-office point of view.

Wrapping It Up

In an age where consumers are 2.4 times more likely to stay when companies solve their problems more quickly and 89% of consumers have switched to a competitor following a poor experience, creating low-friction experiences is more important than ever. 

Automation platforms like jhaEnterprise Workflow™ make it possible for banking systems and applications to share data and trigger follow-up actions at the very moment a qualifying event occurs. When that functionality is combined with your digital banking platform and event management system and is connected to your core, you’ll gain powerful tools to create efficiencies and improve the accountholder experience.

Technology doubters – like my teachers of yore – will quickly discover that automation isn’t a replacement for talented employees or specialized knowledge … it simply lets them zip through the mundane tasks of the day, freeing them up for more engaging work. And those who may have struggled in the past with technology silos will be pleasantly surprised by the impact of open design in modern technology architecture.

By practically eliminating human error in processing and making accountholder-initiated changes nearly instantaneous, you are creating operational efficiencies while providing the best possible experience to two valuable audiences: your accountholders and your employees.

Learn more about how you can harness the power of automation with Jack Henry’s digital banking platform and workflow solutions.

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