Automating Retail Banking: Purpose and Impacts


All industries are experiencing a digital makeover. The pandemic accelerated automation and innovation across enterprises that helped them achieve agility and resilience at the time of a crisis. Although the level of transformation still remains at the teething stage, the retail banking sector is not much behind in administering technology. Cognizant’s digital operations report says, “In our study, nearly two-thirds of respondents (65%) acknowledged that their organization’s automation efforts remain at the early or POC stage – if they’ve done anything at all.” The report states that 90% of respondents (banks) believe RPA and cognitive technologies are critical for the future of business. The report further raises the possibility of business units being unaware of the transformation within their reach. 


The Need for Automation

Covid-19 pandemic brought a shift in the way people access services. Everything went online with minimum cost and maximum efficiency. From booking a travel ticket to buying groceries, all came to our fingertips. There was a considerable spike in the customer inquiries which was taken care of by contact centers. Banking and other financial industries were at the brink of getting digitized. But, what about the progress? The retail banking sector needs the active implementation of automation to stand a chance in the competitive ground. PayTM, Google Pay and other digital wallet systems, which allow touch transactions are strong competitors. 

Automation of retail banking will ensure better consumer interactions. Imagine doing all the transfers, deposits and other services without hours of waiting in queues. 

Consumer banking involves abundant data transfer. Embracing automation will reduce the physical work involved in collecting data. It will address the wastage of time involved in manually gathering customer information and reduce the monotonous redundant interactions between employee and customer. This enables the employees to divert their focus towards more skill-based tasks. 


What are the Impacts?

There are several significant outcomes of deploying automation in retail banking. 

  • Improved customer relations, with intelligent voice assistants working alongside live agents. Providing better personalised services through digital channels will help gain more loyal customers. 
  • Adopting robotic process automation (RPA) makes bots more intelligent. This technology can be used to know your customer (KYC) processes that fast tracks customer identification, verification and enables easier analysis of data. 
  • Conversational AI plays a major role in making customer interactions more engaging and interactive. This will shift the workload from live agents and let them focus on other important roles. 
  • Automation will ensure higher accuracy in mortgage account creation and giving credit advice. 
  • Automation is the key to a cost-effective, time-efficient digital banking sector with maximum profits and customer traction. According to a recent study by Accenture, Financial services companies in North America will save $140 billion in productivity gains and savings by 2025 if they employ new technologies that help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their workforce.
  • Contrary to the fear of security concerns looming over AI, automation enables easier and faster detection of cybersecurity breaches and threats. It goes through pages of data in a fraction of seconds to analyze, predict and provide real-time insights. 


Summing it up

Automation is a necessary step for retail banking in the coming years. AI, machine learning and data analytics will take the customer experience to a more congenial level. A study by Chase reveals that 54% of 1500 consumers said they used digital banking tools more now as the aftereffect of a pandemic. The study also says that this trend is going to continue in the coming years. 

This reiterates the fact that artificial intelligence and technology will enable better management of banking services with less operational costs. This trend will remain. Hence, it is high time to be practical and bring a digital transformation. 

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