Robotic process automation (RPA) is changing the way financial services operations are carried out on a daily basis. RPA solution providers are working with banks, investment management firms, and insurance companies to make the process of reducing large scale data transcribing work easier. Not only are robots being installed in back office operations of financial services companies, they are even making it into shared services operations, and in some cases, front line customer facing processes.
ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
Robotic process automation in financial services is defined as the use of task level automation software, such as; Automation Anywhere, UiPath, and Blue Prism, to reduce the amount of human effort required to process routine data related and computer work in insurance companies, banks, broker-dealers, and investment management firms. RPA can be applied to a wide range of financial services processes within these businesses – mortgage lending, commercial insurance policy underwriting, and even trade processing. RPA is agnostic to what type of financial services process it gets layered on top of, as long as the work is routine and standardized in nature. Blue Prism is currently the only publicly traded RPA company, but Automation Anywhere just raised $250 million in series-A round funding this month – proving that this is not just a fad that is going to fizzle out.
HOW DOES ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION IN FINANCIAL SERVICES WORK?
Unlike artificial intelligence, which involves advanced automated decision making, RPA in financial services focuses on administrative and routine processing type work – like simple copying and pasting from an email into a system. Robotic process automation works at the interface or presentation layer, scraping and transcribing data associated with the multiple, simple, and repetitive tasks that comprise a big part of the day of back office staff working in financial services today. Many US banks and insurance companies have already attempted RPA projects—automating more than 800 processes.
The gains of robotic process automation in financial services are not without process analysis effort, however. RPA implementation involves getting detailed information about current workflows, so there is significant preparation work and creativity to discover use cases involved. And – not all RPA use cases for financial services are created equally. Some can take a day to implement and yield 5 minutes of work savings, some can take a week to implement and can yield hundreds of hours of savings. You just have to know where to look.
Robotic process automation in financial services can improve productivity in:
- Reporting, including client reporting and regulatory reporting.
- Compliance, including AML/KYC, rule monitoring, and compliance reporting.
- Accounting and administration, including asset and cash reconciliations, client onboarding and fund setup, and fund accounting/NAV calculation.
- Securities operations, including securities pricing, vendor management, trade processing, corporate actions, and settlements.
BENEFITS OF ROBOTIC PROCESS AUTOMATION IN FINANCIAL SERVICES
Why are there so many headlines about robots taking over jobs? How is RPA transforming the consumer finance industry? What can you expect? With RPA, financial services firms can anticipate these benefits:
- Increased convenience and efficiency. Your loan officers, insurance agents, back office staff, and underwriters alike are probably tired of bolted-together, kludgy systems that force them to spend 30 minutes per transaction moving data in between email, Excel sheets and a core system – RPA can reduce this time.
- Decreased repetitive tasks and error rates. In the past, when a customer would apply for a loan, back office staff had rely on accurate data input from loan officers which resulted in time-consuming and error-prone data moving processes to load data into core systems. RPA bridges these processes and is virtually error-free when moving data at scale.
- Increased levels of customer satisfaction. Mortgage loan customers usually wait for days to get loan application to be completed – while being asked for the same information multiple times. Then, they have to wait again for the results of the application, often taking weeks—and a lot of unnecessary waiting. RPA can reduce transaction cycle times by 80%.
- Better use of existing staff resources. RPA lets your staff focus on speaking with more customers, not spending their days copying and pasting information multiple times between Excel, the cloud, and legacy core systems.
- Decreased costs. RPA is available 24/7/365 to help process consumer loans and new policy creation. Loan and insurance policy transaction costs can drop to a fraction of the cost of an FTE, and RPA can work overnight to process bulk transactions when everyone goes home! No more back logs of work in the morning when you come in to work.