Business Process Management Helps a Swiss Bank Fight Fraud and Money Laundering, but Still Coddle its International Customers

Miguel Valdés Faura, CEO, Bonitasoft
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Miguel Valdés Faura, CEO, Bonitasoft

Miguel Valdés Faura, CEO, Bonitasoft

When onboarding new clients, financial institutions now must fully verify every new customer’s identity and source of deposits, and retain the data from—and the traceability of—the verification process. New international regulations—meant to fight international money laundering and terrorism financing—can make the bank customer-onboarding process more complex than ever.

But one Swiss bank has used these regulations as an opportunity to step back, take stock and decide a course of action to improve, rather than complicate, their customer-onboarding process. BCP (Banque de Commerce et de Placements) is a private investment bank whose headquarters is located in Geneva, Switzerland. The heart of BCP’s business is private business banking and wealth management for corporate customers, institutions and private individuals around the world.

  ​When providing a good customer experience is critical to business success, customer experience needs to extend beyond simply interacting with a web portal or application interface to include the entire back-office activity.   

BCP’s process of information-capture and information-verification during onboarding is long and complex. “It takes up to 40 forms and 500 questions for between 100 and 150 new accounts opened each year,” according to Florian Morel, BCP’s Business Applications and Business Intelligence Manager, Deputy Head of Information Technology and Vice President.

Despite the complicated process behind the scenes, BCP wanted to:
• Make the customer-facing parts of the onboarding process smooth and painless;
• treamline managers’ work at each step of the process for which they are responsible;
• Ensure compliance of all files before they are sent to the Central Registry, and,
• Increase the efficiency and decrease the processing time for each new customer.

“Some of our customers require highly sensitive handling for political reasons,” Morel told me. “We can’t burden them or delay the onboarding process unnecessarily.”

Rather than force-fit an out-of-the-box solution to BCP’s IT stack and unique customer needs, or develop a completely custom solution, BCP’s technical team automated the entire end-to-end client onboarding with a process-based application built on an open, extensible BPM (business process management) application platform.

Customer Onboarding Application on a BPM Platform

The technical and business teams mapped the entire customer onboarding process and its many sub-processes end-to-end, step by step, including the many points where data needs to be sent to, or pulled from, other internal and external information systems and platforms.

The technical team then built a set of connected applications. At key steps in the process, verification was automated through integration with internal and external systems to assure all checks are performed, and information is saved to assure auditable compliance. However, with more than 500 pieces of information to be gathered and verified for each new customer account, the onboarding process is also quite human-intensive. 

Therefore, the application developers built a user experience that would facilitate easy adoption by bank employees. The technical team dedicated a user portal for BCP managers, where specific forms are presented and information critical to each step are displayed. Using the open, extensible user-interface designer as part of the BPM application platform, they created custom web interfaces inside a specialized BCP portal.

Fewer Errors, Less Time, and Paper

As a result, BCP's relationship managers have a user-friendly, intuitive and dynamic assistant tool. 
They have seen a reduction in data-entry errors, as they are no longer entering the same data more than once. This also, naturally, saves time and effort. All communications between departments are captured inside the process, which guarantees the reliability and traceability of historical information.

“Today, as form-generation and the verification process is fully automated; we are extending the system to the compliance and back-office teams to directly generate the data in our core banking system. We are moving to fully paperless processes,” said Morel.

As national and international regulations evolve, compliance requirements will change. BCP will manage current and future impacts with its process-based applications that can be easily modified—sometimes even while the application is live—when new requirements are added or existing requirements change.

Wider Implications for Process-Based Applications

BCP’s successful implementation shows that building an application on a BPM platform is a solution for other financial institutions to consider if they are looking meet verification and compliance requirements through automation. 

Of course, banks are not the only organizations faced with regulatory requirements, and the flexibility of building an application on a BPM application platform can be easily adapted to create similar custom applications to manage compliance with laws, regulations, guidelines and specifications specific to other domains as well.

Nor are banks the only organizations with client onboarding requirements. When providing a good customer experience is critical to business success, customer experience needs to extend beyond simply interacting with a web portal or application interface to include the entire back-office activity. 

Great customer experience is an end-to-end experience, and a process-based solution like the one developed for BCP, that ties together all customer-facing and employee-facing actions, can be exactly the right way to go.

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