Illustration of a robot doing claims work while employees shake hands
Application Development

RPA – How the Banking Industry Should Leverage RPA Solutions

Posted: April 16, 2018

Robotic process automation has turned a lot of heads in recent years, spurred on by its potential to reduce tedious, error-prone work and streamline various processes. Some of the most profound use cases for this technology have occurred in the financial services industry, as banks and other firms replace various manual workflows with RPA solutions.

Where can RPA have the most profound impact on the banking industry? There are countless applications, but a few stand out as especially ripe for RPA implementation.

RPA's quick-win potential

After a period of restrained exploration, the financial services industry is beginning to embrace RPA in earnest. According to a recent PricewaterhouseCoopers survey, 11 percent of respondents have already deployed RPA solutions at various points across their entire organization, and another 19 percent are right behind them on the RPA maturity scale.

PwC cautioned against trying to do too much too fast, as this technology isn't ideally suited for every scenario. A poor fit could lead to project failure and set back a company's RPA initiative several months or longer.

Where should businesses begin on their RPA journey? By focusing on those processes that are relatively simple, repeatable, high in volume and require a great deal of monotonous clerical work. If it absolutely requires some element of qualitative thought, though, RPA should not be involved.

Banks and lenders can implement this technology to reduce the amount of hands-on, manual work needed for mortgage applications or to open up new accounts. The benefits are twofold: Customers enjoy faster service, while employees are spared tedious administrative tasks and can focus on more impactful efforts.

Where to go next with RPA

RPA's much more than just a solution for busywork. In heavily regulated fields like the financial services industry, the slightest mistake could be costly. Banks and other firms can replace their error-prone, manual workflows with repeatable and 100-percent accurate RPA solutions. Fewer errors means stronger compliance. In addition, RPA software is reasonably easy to update to account for the ever-changing regulatory requirements placed upon financial firms.

Furthermore, RPA tools effectively create a paper trail of activity that will comprehensively demonstrate due diligence in the event of an audit. No more scrambling up to the last minute to put together required documentation – RPA already has it covered.

Financial services firms can also use RPA to reduce their dependence on offshore teams. Many organizations lean on offshore personnel to handle basic processing needs, especially outside of regular business hours. As PwC noted, RPA bots can work all day and all night without exception. This way, companies can minimize – if not outright eliminate – the use of offshore staff and shift their focus to on-site employees.

Simply put, financial services staff members spend too much time on tasks that could easily be handled by RPA technology. It's faster, more accurate and, in the long run, less expensive than manual operators. There are countless use cases for RPA solutions, but start out on the right foot by focusing on the most impactful applications.