Articles

Top Use Cases of Intelligent Document Processing

Top use cases of intelligent document processing

Currently, most enterprises have a workflow rampant with manual document-heavy processing. 

However, businesses are quickly digitizing their document-processing workflows. 50% of B2B invoices across the globe will be processed without manual intervention according to a Gartner study. The reason? Manual document processing is more expensive than the cost of the documents themselves. 

For example, the average cost of processing a single invoice was $10.89 in 2021. Manual document processing is also prone to human errors like fat finger errors. In a world where 90% of the data is unstructured, you need a tool that can automatically convert unstructured data into structured data to supercharge your productivity. 

This guide explains how you can use intelligent document processing to save your business plenty of money, time, and resources. 

What is Intelligent Document Processing?

Intelligent Document Processing (IDP) is a technology that automatically extracts unstructured data from multiple document sources, including images, online forms, and PDFs. IDP is also known as Cognitive Document Processing (CDP). 

IDP converts this unstructured data into structured data using multiple technologies, including natural language processing (NLP), machine learning (ML), optical character recognition (OCR), and intelligent character recognition (ICR). Together, these technologies make IDP intelligent.

OCR is often used interchangeably with IDP. However, that’s not true. IDP uses OCR as one of the technologies to extract data. 

How Does Intelligent Document Processing Work? 

Here’s how a document is processed using IDP: 

  • Conversion: An IDP platform starts by capturing your document through a scanning device. Once it converts a physical document into a digital one, it starts ingesting data. 
  • Document image processing: The document’s image is processed for optimal OCR and archival. 
  • Reading text using OCR: OCR helps the machine accurately read the scanned document’s text. 
  • Identify language elements with NLP: IDP platforms use NLP to find language elements using methods like feature-based tagging and sentiment analysis. 
  • Machine learning algorithm classifies information: A combination of machine learning and other techniques is used to classify the information in the document. 
  • Extracting elements using AI: IDP uses AI to extract information elements like contact numbers, addresses, and names. 
  • Validation: IDP platforms validate information using third-party databases and lexicons for data validation. Data points are flagged when the platform can’t validate them so someone from the team can review them manually. 

Top Intelligent Data Processing Use Cases in Banking 

Reading and writing financial documents make up a large portion of a bank’s workflow. As a bank, you need to process data fast to offer best-in-class services to your customers without making errors. 

IDP helps banks guarantee accuracy and efficiency to their clients. In addition to data extraction’s key role in a bank’s workflow, banks can also use IDP platforms for fraud detection. 

Here are some of the most common use cases of IDP for banks. 

Mortgage Underwriting 

Customer satisfaction with mortgage originators reduced by five points on a 1,000-point scale in 2021 according to a study by J.D. Power driven by record mortgage origination volume. Banks need to automate their mortgage workflow to scale as the demand grows. After all, customer satisfaction is one of the most significant differentiators in the mortgage industry. 

The mortgage workflow involves collecting various documents. Extracting data from these documents is one of the major factors slowing down the workflow. This is where an IDP tool can help streamline your mortgage workflow. 

An IDP tool helps you speed up the underwriting process with automation. It automatically reads and extracts relevant data and relays it to your bank’s credit evaluation system. 

Claims Processing

The P&C Customer Satisfaction Survey reveals that the claim filing process is the biggest driver of customer satisfaction. 

However, the claims processing workflow can be complex. Claims data comes in various formats—customers might send data as word files, PDFs, and images. Plus, you might receive the data via multiple channels—you might receive it via email, chat, or over a call. 

Unifying this data without manual effort is a massive challenge. Traditionally, banks used OCR to process physical documents. However, the lack of accuracy required manual review. 

An IDP tool is a great alternative to OCR for claims processing. Thanks to technologies like NLP, computer vision, and deep learning, it provides greater accuracy than traditional OCR. 

Customer Onboarding 

Customer onboarding is one of the most resource-intensive processes for a bank. Banks spend an average of $280 to onboard a single client according to Backbase—the cost can add up when you’re onboarding hundreds or thousands of customers every month. 

Many of these expenses go towards processing documents, including the bank’s forms, credit reports, or tax returns. Sure, you can try automating this workflow. However, the automation will break down as soon as a new document type is introduced or you change your form’s template. 

An IDP tool can help tame your customer onboarding costs. Your customers will appreciate a fast onboarding experience, and you’ll save money, increase productivity, and make an excellent first impression. 

Financial Document Analysis 

Banks handle thousands of financial documents every day. From financial statements to tax returns, carefully studying financial documents is critical to a bank’s operations. 

Financial analysis is a cognitively heavy task. Why make your team spend time on mundane tasks like manipulating data when you can use an IDP tool to automate this process and enable your team to concentrate on their more complex deliverables. 

Using an IDP tool helps analysts automatically structure and populate relevant financial data into their system. You’ll do your analyst team a favor by eliminating a lot of their manual work, allowing them to focus on analysis. 

KYC Process Automation 

KYC (Know Your Customer), Re-KYC, and C-KYC are critical for compliance. Banks might need to refer to a customer’s KYC details at various stages during a customer’s journey. 

However, handling hand-written KYC forms is a hassle. Migrating a customer’s KYC data comes with challenges like human error and work overload. Committing errors when underwriting a mortgage or onboarding a customer costs money, but failing to comply with KYC requirements may increase the legal, compliance and regulatory risks.

Using IDP ensures accuracy, so you never have to lose your reputation and pay a fine for failing to comply with KYC norms.  The McKinsey KYC Benchmark Survey found that by increasing end-to-end KYC-process automation by 20%, an organization could enjoy the following positive outcomes: 

  • Increased quality assurance by 13% 
  • Improved customer experience (by reducing customer outreach frequency) by 18% 
  • Increased the number of cases processed per month by 48%

 

The Bottom Line 

Banks process a colossal amountnumber of documents and data each day. Getting new customer data into the system, processing claims, and analyzing financial statements are heavily data-driven tasks that involve dozens of documents from hundreds of customers. 

The probability of committing errors is high. Banks also need a large team just to process documents and structure the data in those documents. 

Banks need an IDP tool to automate this process and remove the risk of error from the process. It also integrates with applications to make migrating the data easier. An IDP tool also validates data and alerts team members in exception cases, when it requires a human to review accuracy. 

It is important to select an IDP tool that offers the right solutions for your industry. Better yet, find a partner who can create a custom IDP solution tailor-made for you. 

Why Choose Blanc Labs Intelligent Document Processing? 

Blanc Labs partners with financial organizations like banks, credit unions, and fintechs to automate operations. 

We can help you create robust automation solutions that minimize manual effort, reduce errors, and improve productivity. Our team helps you use the most advanced technologies including AI and ML to automate complex, resource-heavy processes like document processing. 

Book a discovery call with us if your financial organization deals with plenty of documents daily. We’ll come up with a tailor-made solution to minimize the friction in your document processing workflow. 

 

Articles

Finding the right API Management Platform

APIs are an integral part of today’s digital world. They are used for secure data exchange, integration, and content syndication. As APIs become more ubiquitous in enterprise businesses, it becomes necessary to manage them efficiently.

Blanc Labs API management

Banking and Payments ecosystems are converging with Open Banking and Finance. Whether regulatory or market driven, these digital interactions are happening already – and growing exponentially. Doing APIs and API Management right are central to the growing interdependence and interoperability between Fintechs, Banks and Consumers. Stakeholders are demanding secure access to financial data to drive better customer experiences. A key enabler to that end are the systems that surround APIs.

What is API Lifecycle Management?

API Lifecycle Management is the process of building, controlling, distributing, analyzing, and reusing APIs. It also can include capabilities around intelligent discovery; one pane of glass visible across multiple API gateways and API management systems; bringing to life the visionary end state of monetizing and marketing all these capabilities to external parties to operationalize the concept of “API as a product”. Thus, there are many API Management solutions in the market offering a variety of features. But at the very minimum, an API Manager should allow users to do the following:

Discover APIs

Before you can more effectively govern their lifecycle, you need a simple and configurable tool to find, filter and tag all your API assets into a centralized repository. Simplify complexity and/or get better visibility and facts to position your organization to “open itself up” to the new business realities and opportunities emerging.


Design, build, and Test APIs


The API Management tool should provide everyone, from developers to partners, the ability to create APIs under a unified catalog and test their performance.


Deploy APIs


API Management tools should also allow you to publish APIs on-premises, on the cloud or in a hybrid environment. Additionally, the API Manager may give you a choice between managing the API infrastructure in the tool itself or on your own.


Secure APIs

By providing a central point of control, most API Management tools will ensure that you have full visibility of all your APIs across environments so you can mitigate any vulnerabilities.


Manage APIs


API Management tools should give you a central plane of visibility into APIs, events, and microservices. Most API management tools will allow you to govern APIs across all environments (on-premise, hybrid, cloud) and also allow you to integrate with other infrastructures, including AWS, Azure, and Mulesoft. A good API management tool should also provide multiple predefined policy filters to accelerate policy configuration.


Analyze APIs


An API Manager should give you real time metrics in a unified catalog. By providing data on the business performance or operations across your APIs, you can make better decisions leading to improved business results.


Extend and Reuse APIs


By giving you a single, unified catalog, an API Manager can eliminate duplication and extend the life of APIs through reuse.

The need for API Management

API management centralizes control of your API program—including analytics, access control, monetization, and developer workflows. It provides dependability, flexibility (to adapt to shifting needs), quality, and speed. To achieve these goals, an API Manager should, at the minimum, offer rate limits, access control, and usage policies. 

Essential features of an API Manager tool 

1. API Gateways 

 A gateway is the single entry point for all clients and is the most critical aspect of API management. An API gateway handles all the data routing requests and protocol translations between third-party providers (TPP) and the client. Gateways are equally important when securing API connections by deploying authentication and enforcement protocols.

2. Developer Portal 

 The primary use of the developer portal is to provide a hub, specifically for developers, to access and share API documentation. It is an essential part of streamlining communications between teams. Typically, developer portals are built on content management systems (CMS), allowing developers to explore, read, and test APIs. Other features of a developer portal could include chat forums for the internal and external developer community and FAQs. 

3. API Lifecycle Management 

 As the name suggests, API Lifecycle Management provides an end-to-end view of how to manage APIs. API Lifecycle Management is a means to create a secure ecosystem for building, deploying, testing and monetizing and marketing APIs. 

4. Analytics engine 

The analytics engine identifies usage patterns, analyzes historical data, and creates tests for API performance to detect integration issues and assist in troubleshooting. The information gathered by the analytics engine can be used by business owners and technology teams to optimize their API offerings and improve them over time. 

5. API monetization and marketing 

API management tools can provide a framework for pricing and packaging APIs for partners and developers. Monetizing APIs involves generating revenue and keeping the API operational for consumers. Through usage contracts, you can monetize the microservices behind APIs. An API management tool will offer templatized usage contracts based on predefined metrics, including the number of API calls. This empowers innovative external players to help drive your business in ways you have not dreamed up yet – and still do it securely. 

How successful is your API management?

Now that we know the features of an ideal API management software, how do you evaluate its success for your API efforts? Here are a few ways to track your progress:

Speed
How rapidly can you launch your APIs to meet your business goals? Latency and throughput are ways to measure the speed of deployment. Other areas to measure speed would be onboarding and upgrading APIs.


Flexibility
Flexibility is the breadth of options available to developers when adopting APIs. The greater the flexibility, the higher the cost and effort to manage the API.


Dependability
How available your APIs are to developers. One way to measure dependability is downtime. Quota is another way to restrict how many API calls can be made by a developer within a certain timeframe. Enforcing quotas makes API management more predictable and protects the API from abuse.


Quality
Stable APIs with consistent performance reflect higher quality. It is a way to measure a developer’s satisfaction with the API.


Cost
The above four factors contribute to cost. If your API management software provides a better view of all your APIs, it will reduce duplication and costs. Reuse of APIs is another way that you can save costs.

How are you managing API complexity?

If you are a business leader concerned about how to meet market demand through the creation and deployment of APIs, or you would like to monetize and reuse your existing APIs and reduce costs, then you need structured API management. 

In partnership with Axway, Blanc Labs offers a way to manage your APIs to bring maximum business value. Axway’s API Management Platform enables enterprises to manage and govern their APIs for developing and applying their digital services. 

Book a discovery call with Blanc Labs to learn more. 

Articles

Developing the next generation of talent at Blanc Labs’ Digital Academy

In August of this year, we launched the Digital Academy at Blanc Labs, where 100 students in Colombia had the opportunity to learn from our experts on topics that we consider key to our business.  

The students that joined the program as Associates, gained knowledge of fundamental concepts of agile methodologies, cloud computing, full-stack development, and RPA (Robotics Process Automation). 

The Digital Academy community recently shared their top takeaways from this experience.

Promoting a culture of learning at Blanc Labs

“Walking alone through the world of technology is not easy. I am sure many of us have encountered some barriers, such as not understanding what we hear in a video tutorial, or you end up having lots of questions. When we are reading the technical documentation, it may become even more complex. These situations make me appreciate my technology education teachers and the people who share their knowledge with me,” says Gustavo Camargo, a Software Engineering Associate, who is committed to achieving his dream of working in the IT industry. 

Martin Bec, who shared his experience as a Full-stack Developer in our latest bootcamp, says: “Teaching and sharing  knowledge is part of my lifelong learning way of living. I encourage others to clear up their doubts and I appreciate the opportunity to learn. My own learning approach significantly affects how I lead others to strengthen their career in IT.”

Working in technology requires a combination of technical skills and soft skills 

By being exposed to various virtual collaboration opportunities, students work on their communication, relationship-building, teamwork, and cultural awareness skills. One of their main challenges is to overcome the language barrier, identifying how to strengthen their learning in a second language in their spare time and the IT top skills they require for a booming professional career. 

“With agile methodologies, I learned that good planning is key, and I apply that thinking to my personal life. Fulfilling projects requires perseverance, coherence, and the team’s motivation to continue. There may be changes along the way, but the agile methodology is flexible with this, and you learn how to prioritize your work and focus on progress”, says Jennyfer Belalcazar, Systems Engineering Student. 

According to a Gartner study published in March 2022, an agile developer must master methods, techniques, behaviors, and various fundamental aspects of Engineering. 

  • Methods such as Scrum and Kanban, implementing Agile pilots, pivoting, and adjusting the strategy, and evaluating risks and results for the business, are highly valued
  • Understanding metrics, and User Stories are essential to promote feedback with stakeholders and gain in-depth knowledge to overcome project challenges 
  • Customer focus, continuous learning, and collaboration significantly impact interactions and work styles
  • The adoption of best practices, and the importance of test-first thinking, are fundamental for execution. The incorporation of agile architecture and the training of Database Administrators with a set of multidisciplinary skills impacts Agile teams’ performance

 

As complementary activities to their learning experience, Associates have created sessions to strengthen their conversational skills in English and they engage in activities to improve their personal brand and prepare for job interviews. 

As Associates evolve in their learning experience, they gain the most valued skills in this industry. Most students combine their Digital Academy experience with technical education, short courses, and other IT programs, particularly in development, programming, and Data Science.  

Building a culture of learning, fostering technology education, and empowering our team is fundamental to the success of our projects.Discover how Blanc Labs can bring an agile and strategic approach to your digital transformation project. Get in touch 

 

Articles

How Canada’s largest independent brokerage used Blanc Labs’ expertise in Intelligent Document Processing to speed up their time to market

Canada’s largest independent online brokerage had an aggressive target date to launch and debut its residential mortgage product to originate loans through an in-house, proprietary Point of Sale (POS) software application. The POS solution needed to collect loan application data and documents from the borrower and co-borrowers.

The challenge was to buy or build the document automation layer of the solution in a short period of time.The online brokerage had limited internal resources to build the solution and needed a technology partner with experience in building digital lending products. The chosen partner needed to either bring its own intellectual property or build/integrate with required FinTech components.

Blanc Labs’ Expertise In the Canadian Mortgage Industry and Intelligent Document Processing

Ultimately, the online brokerage chose to leverage Blanc Labs’ expertise in the Canadian mortgage industry and intelligent document processing in order to collaborate on the design of a total solution and the development of its components.

Apart from achieving the technical and functional feature set defined for the online brokerage’s document automation, the project resulted in:

  • Accelerated time to market
  • Lower Cost of Ownership
  • Futureproof Technology Architecture
  • Better User Experience
  • Enterprise Level Document Management

Want to know how? Download the case study!

Articles

5 Factors to Evaluate Open Banking Readiness in Canada

By Steven Cheung and Rishi Khanna

open banking readiness

Open banking’s first phase is almost upon us. Now more than ever, banks will need to address their digital and core systems if they wish to participate and gain from the new banking regime. The need for seamless digital experiences, especially post Covid, is shaping customers’ expectations from banks and financial institutions too. Roughly $416 billion is up for grabs and if the prediction holds true that open banking adoption will increase by 76% in the next three years, then incumbents should begin preparing themselves without delay.  

What is Open Banking? 

Open banking is a way for financial services customers to securely share their financial data with other financial institutions and third-party providers using APIs governed and regulated by universally accepted protocols. Open banking exists in several countries around the world including the UK, Australia, Brazil, and Singapore.  

The Benefits of Open Banking 

Open banking is pushing banks to innovate and play nice with Fintechs. In the UK, where open banking launched shortly before COVD-19, the use of Fintech applications for money management rose by 20% for adults and 50% for young adults. Banks, as trusted custodians of customers’ data, can take advantage of the new Fintech technologies that have sprung up as a result of open banking to deepen customer relationships and retain them by providing valuable insights on their personal or commercial finances instead of just facilitating transactions.  

5 Factors to Assess Open Banking Readiness in Canada 

The first phase of open banking in Canada will begin in January 2023. Many banks and credit unions are in the midst of preparing themselves for open banking. But just how ready are they? 

 Here are 5 Factors recommended by Blanc Labs to evaluate if you are ready for open banking: 

Factor 1: Your core and digital banking systems are up to date 

Your financial institution’s core and digital banking systems are scalable, compatible with other new technologies. You have web-banking and mobile banking platforms for retail and commercial customers. Most processes are automated, minimizing manual intervention. The core banking and digital channel systems are cloud-native 

Factor 2: You have identified business use cases for open banking 

You have identified use cases for open banking at your institution and you would now like to invest in an API-led ecosystem to monetize your data. Open banking use cases could include Account Aggregation, BNPL (Buy Now Pay Later), and Tax preparation.  

Factor 3: Your organization is united in reaching its transformation goals 

You have a non-traditional approach to growth and view open banking as a strategic imperative towards creating new lines of revenue for your business. As such, you have budgets dedicated to open banking efforts. You are looking at ways to improve how to use your data through TPPs (third-party providers) to create relationships with other financial institutions and non-banking entities and turn them into new offerings for your customers.  

Factor 4: Your API-ecosystem is mature 

Your organization has been creating APIs for internal and external consumption for some years. There is a standardization and documentation around maintenance, governance, security, and management of APIs. There is visibility over the entire API catalogue and tooling to track and monitor API performance. You participate in agile data partnerships with Fintechs, which means your onboarding processes are thorough, but quick.  

Factor 5: You can operationalize APIs and use them as products 

That leads us to the final step. Your organization can support third-party use, both in terms of system bandwidth as well as security. Your systems can take high traffic load. You are primed to use API-as-a-Product.  

Do you have an Open Banking strategy? 

Still unsure? Apart from readying the underlying enabling technology considerations, Open Banking is fundamentally a business decision and a discussion about how to best compete and win in the new banking environment.  Here is a handy Digital Maturity Assessment from Axway that can help you figure out what stage you are at and what to do next. Blanc Labs in partnership with Axway offers an Open Banking Strategy Workshop that can help you: 

  1. Define your financial institution’s goals for growth 
  2. Analyze the current state of your organization and what you need to meet your long-term goals 
  3. Identify challenges that you need to beat to ensure you can take full advantage of open banking 
  4. Zone in on use cases that will give you the biggest ROIs and the fastest time to value 

Book an Open Banking Strategy Workshop with Blanc Labs to learn more.

Articles

Open Banking in Canada: How Banks and Customers Can Benefit

By Bob Paajanen & Steven Chung

Open banking benefits Canada

Exactly a year ago, the Department of Finance released the final report from the Advisory Committee on Open Banking. It set an ambitious 18-month roadmap for Open Banking implementation in Canada. With 2023 just a few months away, it is crucial that financial institutions understand the advantages of open banking and the possibilities it can bring, not just for themselves but also for their customers. 

What is Open Banking? 

Simply put, Open Banking is a way for business owners and customers to share their data with their financial institution (and connected third-party providers or TPP) securely using APIs governed and regulated by universally accepted protocols. Customers will have full control over how much and with whom they would like to share this data. They will also have a unified view of all their balances, credit cards, mortgages, investments, and any financial transactions across all banking entities. For this reason, open banking is also sometimes referred to as “consumer-permissioned data sharing” or open finance.   

Open banking started in 2016 with European governments pushing for more open financial data and laying the foundations for banking evolution. The EU’s second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) was a powerful legislation that made an impact on the UK’s Competition & Market Authority (CMA) which mandated that nine of the country’s largest banks develop an “open banking standard” and enable customers to share data with Fintechs and third parties. 

Open banking is now present in several parts of the world, including Australia, Brazil, India, and South Korea, where it is government-led, and in countries like China and the US, where it is primarily market-led. 

Data Sharing in Open Banking  

Before open banking, banks would share data with third-party providers (TPP) or applications using a process called ‘screen scraping’, where data is taken from one app through user details, copied and pasted for another purpose. A good example of this might be a typical finance aggregator app that sends a bot to the bank’s website on behalf of the customer and uses the consumer’s bank login and password to access all their financial information. About 3.5 to 4 million Canadians currently use apps that employ screen scraping. Until now, these TPPs did not have a formal relationship with banks and had access to more information than was necessary. Banks often were unaware of which data was scraped, yet they would be accountable if and when there were data breaches. 

 With new regulations around data sharing, banks will now share only relevant data with TPPs, with the customer’s consent, through APIs or application programming interfaces. Customers will no longer have to share their banking credentials with the TPP. Thanks to this change, many Fintechs that offer open API-led data-sharing networks have come to the fore. 

 As we move closer to 2023, several incumbents and challenger banks are partnering with data aggregators that provide API-led data-sharing networks, which will allow customers to securely share their data with several Fintech applications and provide them with financial insights in real time. Recent examples include EQ Bank’s partnership with Flinks, CIBC’s participation in the MX network and RBC’s partnership with the Plaid and Yodlee networks. 

Why is this happening?  An example will illustrate the opportunity and upside for industry participants. When a customer or their Fintech requests data from multiple financial institutions, aggregators like the entities named above will be able to monetize and sell via subscription the data to each financial institution. This can generate insights around where customers are at risk, or have relationships with other financial institutions, even though the details will be masked.  Better customer profiling can be driven from empirical data through this data sharing model. 

Open Banking and Digital Transformation 

Nearly every, if not all, industries are going through a digital transformation. Long before open banking, many Fintechs had begun unbundling financial services. This trend has only accelerated thanks to open banking. In Europe, for example, TPPs grew from 100 to 450 in between 2019 and 2021. Financial services are now being restructured around “jobs to be done” rather than just products, creating better experiences and value for customers. Open banking will lead to two major outcomes when it comes to data: Interoperability and Automation. By making financial data interoperable, new customer value propositions could be created that offer better access and user convenience thereby creating new revenue streams for the bank. Once customers get a clear and unified view of their financial position, automation rules could take over to help with better decision-making to manage daily finances. This will make it possible for banks to cross-sell products and services without the customer ever leaving the bank’s ecosystem.   

How Open Banking Benefits Financial Institutions 

It is obvious to see the customer benefits of open banking. But what about financial institutions? One of the major reasons why open banking is seen as a catalyst by many governments and markets, is that it will boost growth and increase economic efficiency. Onereportfrom McKinsey estimates that the adoption of open banking could result in “1 to 1.5 percent of GDP in 2030 in the European Union, the United Kingdom, and the United States, to as much as 4 to 5 percent in India.” Another study reveals that $416 billion in revenue is up for grabs for those financial institutions that are agile enough to jump in on the opportunity. 

Hyper-targeting and faster onboarding 

A more holistic view of an individual or SMB’s finances means that banks too can make more customized offerings to their customer. Open data sharing will also make it easier and faster for customers to switch accounts, purchase new products or get approved for lines of credit. 

Reduced operational costs  

A lot of data remains in physical documents and disparate digitized sources. An open financial data system will ensure that the data is held digitally in a centralized location and make it easier for banks to adopt automation methods, thereby cutting operational costs. This is especially true for mortgage underwriting, where intelligent data processing and management can save between $7,000-9,000 per mortgage application. Here are more reasons banks can benefit from automating data intake and processing. 

Better security 

Fraud accounts for $4.5 trillion per year, which is equal to about 5% of global corporate revenue. Open banking may introduce a single-use digital token system compared to screen scraping, which is risky and open to misuse. Bad actors will have little to no access to customers’ login information during transactions, thereby reducing the risk of data breaches. Data sharing in real-time, could also provide a better view of suspicious activities and build predictive models to mitigate fraud. 

Lead Generation 

Banks acquire information from TPPs, such as credit bureaus, about potential customers during lead generation or mortgage origination. In the US, for example, nearly 50% of loan originators depend on third parties for information related to credit, KYC, and property valuation, costing banks up to $80 per application. Open data sharing enabled by APIs could potentially reduce the cost of acquiring this information and make it available securely to more financial institutions. 

Are you ready for open banking? 

Digital transformation has changed the way banks engage with their customers. With open banking, we are at the pivotal moment where customers can choose the services and products that work best for them, while banks and FintTechs can come up with innovative new ways to engage with them. Opening up banking systems can be a daunting change for banks that have operated through a linear chain thus far. Blanc Labs, in partnership with Axway Open Banking, offers a step-by-step approach for banks to: 

  • Build on existing infrastructure to reach their open banking goals faster 
  • Unlock the potential of their existing data to create new business opportunities 
  • Create a security layer for identification and consent to comply with the latest open banking standards
  • Discover, Manage, govern, market and monetize their APIs 

 

Book a demo or discovery sessionwith Blanc Labs to learn about the impact of our Open Banking solutions.  

 

Articles

Transforming a Bank’s Value Network with Automation

By Abhijit Chakarvarty

Michael Porter’s value chain has been one of the top seminal business management ideas that saw business operations with through a new lens. Just like the value chain resulted in concepts like value creation and value pricing leading to phenomenal growth in global business scale and operations in the last 50 years, we are now seeing a similar scenario in the financial services industry with intelligent automation.  

At the turn of the century, we saw a new concept emerge that resulted in changing the business dynamics in the Y2K. This new business concept came to be known as value network, a series of interactions between individuals, entities, organizations, departments, and systems that collectively work towards benefitting the entire group or ecosystem. This new concept had an astounding impact on how businesses and markets operated and paved the course of today’s business ecosystem. For instance, the rise of Apple and its ecosystem can be attributed to this shift.  

A similar shift is also taking place in the financial services industry, where the digitization, embedment, and now decentralization of the payments ecosystem with the commercialization of blockchain, cryptocurrencies, procure to pay (P2P) lending are being touted as the next big thing. 

Given the pervasive technical and innovative initiatives that are emerging at breakneck speed, it is a necessity necessary to keep transforming and innovating. This is especially relevant for the financial services industry which have millennials as customers and will soon begin catering to GenZ.

To digitally transform a bank’s value network let’s start by stating the three core areas of a bank’s value network namely, network promotion & contract management, service provisioning & billing, and platform operations. 

With a two-sided value network, the bank fundamentally connects a borrower with a depositor and thus, becomes the enabler of value creation for such a network. In doing so, a bank delivers core banking and back-office operations, payments and lending functions, and risk and treasury management activities.  

For each of these areas, hundreds of functions and duties must be seamlessly executed with precision. Today, the increase in business volumes and scale of operations has led to bankers asking, “What if these complex and time-consuming operations can be boosted with robots (bots) assisting humans to accelerate speed, increase productivity, and assure the precision of key banking functions?”  

Automation Banking Benefits

Some of the key operational areas where bots can and, in many cases, are assisting humans to realize the true potential of an enterprise are customer service, compliance accounts payable, credit card processing, mortgage processing, fraud detection, know your customer (KYC) process, general ledger, report automation and account closure process. 

Automation Process heatmap

By embracing bots, banks can improve the customer experience while reducing costs and improving efficiency. Increased automation combined with more efficient processes makes the day-to-day easier for teams and individual contributors as they will spend less time on tedious manual work, and more time on profitable projects. Let humans contribute to high-value innovation, and robots help in maintaining and running operations to ensure an efficient and effective enterprise. To realize the true value of bots, and for a bank to embark on its digital transformation journey, the right approach, executive sponsor, business alignment, process discovery & design, pilot, roadmap, and a center of excellence (CoE) is essential to succeed. By using tactics such as data alignment, problem framing, road mapping, and piloting new robots, a bank will be well poised to reach its automation goals.

Blanc Labs has deep industry knowledge and proven experience working with leading banks to gain efficiencies through intelligent automation solutions. We take a holistic approach, helping financial services companies build the necessary foundation and setting them up for long-term success. 

Book a consultation with Blanc Labs to discover the impact of our Intelligent Automation solution. 

 

Articles

Hyperautomating the Loan Origination Process: UiPath and Kapti

Over the last several years, Blanc Labs has been partnering with UiPath to provide automation solutions to clients. Recently, we created a unified solution, balancing a machine learning (ML) based document understanding and automation framework for our Canadian banking client. Our solution leveraged our document processing software, Kapti, in combination with an automation software UiPath to tackle the loan origination process.

In this whitepaper, you will learn how Blanc Labs’ hyperautomated solution for document processing works and how we are able to deliver more than 90% of the accuracy.

Articles

Open Banking API Challenges: 4 Areas That Need Intervention

By Steven Chung and Bob Paajanen

woman solving api integration challenges

As financial institutions find their way into the digital world, they face competition from several non-bank forces, including FinTechs and Big Tech companies like Apple, Google, and Amazon. FinTechs and Big Tech have begun rewriting the rules for the finance industry creating new ways of banking and new revenue streams. By offering speed, innovation, and unbundled financial services, digital non-banking entities are luring away customers from banks and credit unions. Open banking promises financial institutions an entry into the changing banking ecosystem by tapping into third-party application programming interfaces (APIs). But without the right strategy, banks may find themselves saddled with high costs, low time to value, vulnerable data systems, and no ROI to show.  

API Challenges 

As API adoption grows, so does the concern around how these APIs will be built or bought; how they will be managed; and the security and privacy risks that they present.  

API Standardization and Documentation 

The biggest concern around API adoption is standardization with more than 52% of organizations finding it a challenge. Unfortunately, there is no universal identity management framework which means that companies must rely on their developers to build their own management systems. Without proper documentation or style guides, different teams of developers within the organization may come up with varying standards for how the APIs are built and consumed, leading to issues with integration and management. The ‘State of Software Quality: API 2021’ study by SmartBear found that 54% of respondents pegged “accurate and detailed documentation as the second most important characteristic they needed in an API as an API consumer, ease of use being the topmost. Yet, close to 40% of the respondents did not use API management software or were using an in-house API management tool.  

API Security  

As banks use more APIs to enable digital businesses and provide web and mobile experiences to customers, the chances of security breaches also go up. There have been several incidents of API attacks and data leaks this year alone. API security is made worse by the fact that many organizations lack an inventory of the APIs they create or use from third parties. Research firm Gartner found that the common theme among many of the API breaches was that “the breached organization didn’t know about their unsecured API until it was too late.” Sadly, there is no tool that will automatically discover vulnerabilities in the APIs. Implementing API threat protection and access control will require endpoint security (processes, infrastructure, and protocols). Without an API management platform in place, this will present further challenges.  

“By 2022, API abuses will move from an infrequent to the most-frequent attack vector, resulting in data breaches for enterprise web applications.”
Gartner (2021)

API Governance standards and privacy regulations 

Government-dictated compliance frameworks around APIs are still some time away for Canadian financial institutions. This means that developers at banks and credit unions must rely on varying standards, including security standards, when it comes to how API integrations will work and be used. Without governance standards, financial institutions run the risk of exposing themselves to fraudulent third parties and exposing customer information in ways that could be used against their interests.  

API Reliability & Performance 

To support new functionalities and user experiences, developers in financial institutions are relying more and more on third-party APIs, APIs from business partners, and from other business units within the enterprise. Many of these APIs are licensed from providers that also look after their daily operations. Due to the composite nature of these applications, an outage with one third-party API can impact any application that is using that API. As of April 2022, there were close to 7.8 million failed API calls in the UK according to Open Banking Implementation Entity (OBIE). The financial entities with the most failed calls are the big banks including Barclays, Lloyds, and HSBC. Frequent API errors create a negative impact on customer experience and may lead to discontinued product use.  

Is your bank ready to adopt open banking? 

API integrations are a necessity as we move towards an open banking system. Financial institutions must have a clear strategy on how they want to implement, govern, monetize, and market APIs to ensure a frictionless customer experience and better business results.  

Blanc Labs has partnered with Axway to provide specialized solutions that make API integrations and management more efficient and cost-effective. Benefits of our unified API platform include:   

  1. Increased productivity, as developers are easily able to find and repurpose APIs instead of duplicating efforts or wasting time searching for them.   
  2. Less technical complexity by unifying and simplifying API services across the organization  
  3. Better security through a unified view of all APIs  
  4. Faster upgrades of legacy systems through an API-first layer allowing you to add new services more easily  
  5. More robust governance through centralized documentation that multiple teams of developers can reference 

Book a demo or discovery session with Blanc Labs to learn about the impact of our API solutions for banking. 

 

Articles

Are your APIs causing more pain points instead of solving them?

By Steven Chung and Bob Paajanen

Now, more than ever, banks are looking at ways to modernize their core technology to meet customer demands for speed, personalization, and seamless digital experiences. For the banks, a large part of that involves securely exposing customer data to third-party systems and consuming data from them. A simple example of this is using your bank credit card to pay with an app such as Google Pay or Apple Pay. For this data exchange to take place, banks build their own application programming interfaces (APIs) or use third-party APIs to interact with other systems. From a digital transformation viewpoint, APIs are indispensable in making banking services more open.

A study on APIs in banking by McKinsey found that nearly 70% of the surveyed banks planned to double the number of internal and third-party APIs and triple the use of public APIs. However, not all API integrations are successful. Close to 40% of the banks mentioned above did not have an API strategy or were still evaluating APIs. Mismanagement of APIs only increases operational issues, decreases productivity, pulls up costs, and delivers incremental results at best. Here we explore five API integration challenges and how to overcome them.

API Integration Challenges

Put simply, APIs are supposed to make it easy for disparate systems to work together. But poor integration can have the opposite effect, leading to silos, duplication of efforts, and rising costs. Some of the API integration challenges include:

  1. Technological Complexity
  2. High Costs
  3. Security Risks
  4. Time Consumption
  5. Varying systems

Technological Complexity

API integration is not an easy process. In fact, of all the digital transformation initiatives, API integration may be the most daunting. The reason for this is that integrating APIs requires an overhaul of the bank’s core systems. Understandably, many banks and credit unions are reluctant to change their core systems in one go as seen in the chart below. Yet, 75% of banks state that the number one reason for focusing their corporate banking strategy on APIs is “improving internal corporate banking processes, workflows and product management.”

Intention to replace core systems

To carefully integrate APIs while upgrading core systems at a pace that is suited to the bank requires a team of experts including highly skilled developers that come with a heavy price tag.

High Costs

Hiring a team of experts to execute APIs is only one part of the cost of integrating APIs. The question for many financial institutions is one of build or buy as this requires significant financial resources, a dependable developer ecosystem, as well as a strategy to monetize these APIs so current costs may be justified. Building a single API can cost upwards of $10,000 (as of 2020) depending on the complexity of the integration and the times it takes developers to build it. Buying APIs may come at a lower cost. Either way, there is no getting around the expense of building APIs and integrating them with core systems.

Security Risks

In Canada, the number of stolen records went up by 4,379% between 2015 and 2020. A data breach in Canada costs approximately $6.35M CAD. The use of APIs is reliant on web-based applications, which means that they are more open to threats from hackers and ransomware. Add to this the fact that a data breach can severely damage the reputation of an organization. API integration projects require hiring a team of security experts as well as updated security protocols.

Time Consumption

Setting up an API connection and integration module can take anywhere from a few weeks to months. This is the time when the development team will learn the logic and architecture of your platform and work to reduce bugs, among other things. Financial institutions that choose the wrong API solution may find that they are losing out to the competition by coming in last.

Varying systems

Within APIs and API systems, there are all kinds of architectures and software. Every system has its own logic and therefore each integration has its unique challenges. With every new system that developers work with, they need time and expertise to integrate APIs with those systems. Therefore, with multiple integrations, the process does not get faster and only becomes more complex

How to overcome API integration challenges

API integrations are a necessity as we move towards an open banking system. Financial institutions must have a clear strategy on how they want to implement, govern, monetize and market APIs to avoid high costs, duplications, and incremental gains.

Blanc Labs has partnered with Axway to provide specialized solutions that make API integrations more efficient and cost effective. Benefits of our unified API platform include:

  1. Increased productivity, as developers are easily able to find and repurpose APIs instead of duplicating efforts or wasting time searching for them.
  2. Less technical complexity by unifying and simplifying API services across the organization
  3. Better security through a unified view of all APIs
  4. Faster upgrades of legacy systems through an API-first layer allowing you to add new services more easily
  5. More robust governance through centralized documentation that multiple teams of developers can reference

Book a demo or discovery session with Blanc Labs to learn about the impact of our API solutions for banking.

Interested in hearing how we can accelerate your digital transformation?