Voice of the Industry

Digital customer onboarding is the new normal

Wednesday 30 June 2021 09:14 CET | Editor: Vlad Macovei | Voice of the industry

Sara Douwes, Cristina Vlassa, and Paul Weiss, part of the Compliance & Risk team at Accenture, discuss how the pandemic led to KYC improvement for banks

To protect the financial system, financial institutions are highly regulated and are appointed as one of the gatekeepers in fighting financial crime. However, ever-increasing regulations have created a complex field of factors that must be considered when evaluating a customer (e.g. the type and number of documentation). Next to this, it is obvious that the current COVID-19 pandemic is significantly accelerating the transformation of digital opportunities and acceptance among customers. Throughout the end-to-end process of customer onboarding, review and during the customer transactional lifecycle, compliance tasks are increasing and getting more and more complex.

An example of this is the information banks need to gather to be able to substantiate their understanding of their customer’s transactions, or their rationale to make use of complex organisational structures.  

All these factors contribute to a complex KYC (Know Your Client) environment with a rise in (duplicate) information requests, fast-growing customer dissatisfaction, and an explosion of compliance costs for banks. 

It is therefore not surprising that the non-face-to-face automated customer onboarding and digital customer identification have won stable ground in 2020 and is expected to rapidly grow in the coming years, even at the more traditional banks, especially since COVID-19 has convinced even the traditional banking customers that digital contact is working. 

How Accenture is contributing

We partner with our financial services customers across the globe to solve their KYC-related challenges. and have come up with various digital solutions to improve their end-to-end KYC process, including the complete automation of their onboarding process, the set-up of compliance chatbots and the automation of daily compliance tasks. 

One example is where we partnered with the designers of a tool that enables digital customer onboarding and periodic review. The reason was that an international bank encountered a backlog of over 70.000 KYC reviews which needed to be completed within 6 months. Through the use of image recognition technology, the tool can precisely identify and categorise scanned unstructured documents in a KYC file retrieved from the bank’s CRM and analyse the text in any language. Furthermore, the tool connects with API’s used by the bank such as their internal library. Furthermore, it uses screening tools (e.g. Worldcheck and RDC) and external sources such as trade registers. Hence, the tool can verify the presented information against the sources a part of the review framework. 

The business rules-driven data and document verification process can standardise the KYC process providing the human KYC analyst with intelligent processing capabilities to yield significant productivity gains. As the tool never gets tired, it can process over 500.000 reviews per month while running 24/7. Also, the average handling time varies per entity type and risk has been significantly reduced. The tools review approximately 60% of customer files without any human intervention and therefore avoiding manual steps and errors, reducing the cost of compliance to a minimum. Human intervention is only required for files that contain red flags or other exceptions. The tool also offers a quality check module and MI (Management Information) reporting possibilities to reveal the quality of the KYC analysts performance and can be used to identify knowledge gaps and to recommend teams & individuals training. 

Partnering with the leading fintech companies

Accenture has developed alliances & partnerships in all continents with leading vendors which enable us to deliver financial crime transformation at pace to our clients. At Accenture, we are tool-agnostic this way we can focus on the development of solutions based on our clients’ needs and partner with the most promising fintech companies. This allows us to always look at the bigger picture and find strategic, flexible, and sustainable solutions. 

Together with the vendors we partner with, we shape our vision to achieve the best outcomes for our clients. 

The great reset of customer onboarding 

For banks to meet their customer needs, comply with the extensive regulations and reduce compliance costs, digital onboarding and further automation and digitalisation are expected to increase at a rapid pace. COVID-19 has shown the world that banks can and must move away from traditional customer on-boarding and into the new area of full automation. 

This interview/article was initially published in the Financial Crime and Fraud Report 2021, which showcases a picture of what is currently happening in fraud management, digital onboarding, and financial crime in financial services.

About the authors

Sara DouwesCristina Vlassa, and Paul Weiss are part of the Compliance & Risk practice at Accenture, based out of the Netherlands. Together with their colleagues they stand at the forefront of compliance transformations and support their clients on a day-to-day basis.  Any questions, please reach out to them via LinkedIn


About Accenture

With over 500.000 colleagues worldwide Accenture is uniquely positioned to help its financial services clients across the globe to resolve their end-to-end compliance/ KYC challenges. Through the combination of our core Technology and AI capabilities combined with our Compliance & Risk practices and Operational support both on-shore and off-shore, we can bring the most innovative and ground-breaking solutions to our clients and support their large scale transformations.

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Keywords: KYC, digital onboarding, pandemic, banks, COVID-19
Categories: Banking & Fintech
Countries: World
This article is part of category

Banking & Fintech