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Few years in, what is next for automation at banks?


September 8, 2022

Over the past few years, most banks and capital market firms have deployed robotic process automation (RPA) bots across their institutions to help process payments, open accounts, complete know-your-customer verification, and handle email service requests. And they’ve started reaping the rewards: increased efficiency, improved customer service, and stronger controls. Repetitive tasks can be left to the bots while employees focus on exception-based reviews.

However, expectations around improved client experience, costs and risk mitigation continue to increase. Against this backdrop, COOs and operations leaders need to figure out the game plan for the next few years.

The good news is that there is so much more possible today than what could be achieved even a short two years ago.


AI/ML investments are driving value, fast

Two years ago, AI got to the level where a system could ace a middle school science test, and this year, AlphaCode outcoded most coders.

In one case, a bank partnered with us to implement an AI/ML solution that scans millions of incoming customer support request emails a day, ‘reads them’, and routes them to the correct servicing team in real time. The results? Quicker responses, improved accuracy, and greater customer satisfaction.

Time to market has shrunk from more than 15 months to less than 6 months

That’s thanks in part to cloud-based AI/ML solutions and APIs that can be orchestrated quickly to build powerful solutions. COOs are now seeing faster results. And on the consumer side, the impact has been substantial. A few years ago, we helped a leading commercial bank streamline its underwriting process. The solution, which took 15 months to implement, scanned thousands of financial statements in varying formats and inputted them into a spreading credit application. It delivered a 40% improvement in efficiency and a 70% reduction in processing time.

Today solutions are arising even more quickly. We are building a cutting-edge solution, leveraging cloud-based APIs, that automates loan covenant checks and provides early warning indicators so clients can better manage risk if a covenant is breached. This solution can be implemented in less than six months.

Multi-year data and process investments are coming online

Over the last few years, banks have made foundational investments in data lakes, process excellence and customer journeys. Increasingly, teams are coming up with revenue generating ideas that tap into this treasure trove of insights.

We call this delivering new business outcomes: Operations teams partner with the front office to improve the top line. For example, at one bank, by analyzing client data, we identified loans worth billions that were likely to be paid off early due to strengthening client financial positions. This allowed relationship managers to proactively engage these customers with new services to grow their businesses. At the same time, the bank was able to protect lost revenue and redirect it to other products.

There are similar opportunities in process excellence and customer journeys. 

Delving into customer journeys to understand where value is created for the customer can help banks identify the biggest drivers of customer satisfaction — and how to achieve that through advanced automation, and in quite a few cases, even client self-service.

Realizing the full potential of reimagined banking operations

As we look to the journey ahead, we cannot be more excited on the art of the possible. We advise every COO and Operations leader to ask three questions to their teams:

  • Where is the value and how do I size it?
  • How do I rapidly drive business impact?
  • How do I sustain early momentum as the effort scales?

These are the questions we thrive on solving. Come join us on the journey.


Colette Prior

Managing Director – Accenture Operations & Credit Services