There was a sense of sanguinity in the Financial Services sector late in 2019. M&A activity had gathered pace across the financial services spectrum. New Products and Services were being launched to capture a rapidly changing demographic. At the dawn of 2020, the opportunity in Financial Services seemed limitless. There was an air of anticipation of what would be next? Who would be the Next to create a global currency? Which Fintech would be the Next revolutionary in Banking? How would technology influence Payments, Commerce and how we live?
Fast forward to March – a global pandemic would see entire countries shut down to the world and businesses adversely impacted. The coordinated and global nature of the impact of the pandemic caught us all by surprise. The optimism vanished into thin air within a few weeks in March. The world grappled with complex public health issues of containing the pandemic and finding a cure.
Analysts are unsure of what the recovery will ultimately look like or how long it will take. However, some consensus can be found in the data, not least of which being that the future is here. From the use of automation, Blockchain, and a Work from Anywhere culture, the Financial Services sector can no longer cling to “traditional” business models. From our own experience working with large financial services firms during the pandemic, we saw a surge in volumes in Mobile Banking, Market Volumes, Dispute calls, Loan Modifications to name a few. Firms that were set up with data-driven AI funnels were better placed to handle this spike.
As we continue along this uncharted terrain, it is important to look back, remember the lessons of this pandemic, and acknowledge that a “return to normalcy” will be different from what it was before. Financial Institutions will need to remain open to new forms of work and finding ways to continue to support and protect employees and customers alike. For many in Financial Services, investing in Cloud, AI and RPA will help alleviate many challenges.
Combating the COVID-19 challenges with automation & AI
Remote working, social distancing, and concerns related to health have precipitated automation and digitization in areas where the need existed for long, but the progress was slow. We saw this playing out across our global client base.
For instance, our clients in Capital Markets had a long-standing goal to establish straight-through processing between middle and back-office operations. Processes had several manual steps and with a large portion of the workforce at home, this became an urgent call-to-action. Infosys is enabling this automation leveraging the Infosys Nia Platform.
Mortgage servicers are still facing many current and future challenges resulting in a deluge of loan modification requests overwhelming call centers and loan officers. Mortgage originators and servicers are expediting digitization of the paperwork required to originate, modify or refinance a mortgage. Several clients are leveraging the Nia DocAI Platform, which combines the power of NLP, OCR, and Computer Vision to automate document (handwritten & structured) comprehension and analytics with high accuracy to manage the volume surge in a safe and efficient manner.
Our clients in Global Money Transfer are urgently working on Digitizing the process by making it agentless and cashless. We are helping to accelerate this with our expertise in integrating with real-time payment rails in different markets and EdgeVerve’s platforms. The power of EdgeVerve’s AI and Automation platforms to cut down the time to build straight-through processing is helping them accelerate this transformation.
For our banking clients in the US, the need for AI and Automation became urgent when they had to process million of loans within a couple of weeks as part of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). By leveraging the power of RPA, ML & Deep learning, from EdgeVerve’s suite of products, we were able to bring hyper automation in the PPP loan processing and cut down the cycle time by 80% and error rates by 90%.
The disruptive potential of fintechs in 2021
We can already see the contours of the post-COVID business environment taking shape. Automation will be used effectively, not only to improve efficiency but also to increase health and safety.
This pandemic is a gigantic stress test. Immense financial and operational challenges are clearly visible. The need for automation and digital transformation is urgent to reduce costs, cement customer loyalty and boost revenues. From payment and lending to insurance services, AI/ML technologies are essential for sustained growth and performance. The pandemic has taught us many lessons and solidified the reality that the future is unpredictable and at times unimaginable. Emphasis on digital tech innovations rings true more than ever, pushing companies to recognize the combination of technologies and resilience as a key success factor. The pandemic has also given us an opportunity to reimagine and reinvent the future to be stronger and more resilient. To think big and move ahead with confidence in the emergence of a new normal.
As we look ahead to 2021, I believe we are also looking at a world with unimaginable possibilities and the people, means, and tools to achieve the greatest of dreams. The air of optimism and anticipation is back.