VeriPark's Omni-Channel delivery solutions provide the new levels of security required for open banking, says Gökhan Çakıroğlu of VeriPark. The Open Banking Initiative has been a major development in the growth of financial services and how they will be delivered. These reforms change the way banks can handle your personal information. Simply put, all banks must allow you to share your financial data, such as spending habits and statements, with other providers or banks, provided they're authorised under the scheme.
The initiative is an attempt to increase competition and innovation within the industry – something that providers rely on to offer new services. However, it's proved to be a challenge for regulators, as it requires releasing data that has traditionally been hidden behind a single institution's firewall. Open banking, and the needs of fintechs to access this information and transfer it between what could be multiple locations, therefore requires new levels of security.
In response, VeriPark became a member of the Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) with our Omni-Channel delivery solutions. BIAN aims to help define a revolutionary banking technology framework that standardises and simplifies core banking architecture. As acceptance grows for this framework, security-related data both at rest and in transit will increase due to centralisation of data, standardization of service-oriented architecture interfaces and reduction in the number of batch data transmissions.
Our Omni-Channel banking platform enables banks to authenticate users in digital and assisted channels by using biometrics including iris, palm vein, facial and voice recognition. Moreover, onboarding flows and processes are also extended to use the biometrics in order to have highly secure onboarding experience which is completed faster than the traditional ones. As a result of leveraging Azure Cognitive Services, AI and biometrics, we build smooth and secure customer experiences in digital and assisted channels.
AI-Driven Chatbots in Banking and Financial Services
"I've lost my credit card, what do I do?" "Can I transfer some money?" "What's my account balance?" Customer service advisers, in banks across the world, answer these types of questions every day. But, perhaps not for much longer, as chatbots are increasingly answering them instead of humans.
In fact, according to a recent Gartner survey, 61% of us are already using Artificial Intelligence (AI)-underpinned technology such as chatbots, Virtual Personal Assistants, driving route apps and streaming services. For 'always on' customers, who expect a smooth, seamless service 24/7, AI interactions are the new normal. Chatbots are now particularly prevalent in financial services, where their potential goes much further than transactional enquiries.
Chatbot platforms and natural language technologies are improving all the time. Gartner estimates that by 2020, chatbots will power 85% of all customer service interactions. Many banking customers start using chatbots for routine tasks but increasingly sophisticated two-way conversations result in a more positive experience.
Why Use Chatbots?
The banking customer journey is more complex than ever. Customers use online and offline channels and expect a personalized experience from their financial institution at every step of their journey. And, based on this, banks must engage with their customers in the right way, and at the right place and time.
Well integrated, intelligent chatbot solutions are a key part of this engagement process. They're changing the face of banking communications, giving customers relevant information fast and round the clock customer support.
Not Convinced? Consider This Customer Scenario
Meet Sean – he's recently married. During a dull moment watching a football match, Sean decides to check his phone to see if his new joint account has been activated. He logs in and sees quickly that it has, but he also notices he has a mortgage offer. It's a good rate and it captures his attention.
He can't call his bank right now. The football stadium is too noisy and there's no privacy. But he can have a text-based conversation with a chatbot.
He's asked to confirm his employer and salary. He's recently changed jobs, so he updates the details. He's immediately told how much he's eligible to borrow and asked if he'd like to see an in-branch adviser or if he'd prefer a home visit.
He selects to see someone in a branch and two clicks later, he has a next-day appointment at a branch of his choice, an email confirmation and a map of how to get there. With Natural Language Processing (NLP), Sean would also have the option of using voice instructions and the system would understand him in his own language from any device. Machine Learning (ML) provides a near human-level of communication ensuring he gets accurate answers to his requests in real time.
It's an instant, intuitive, personalized service using Sean's preferred digital channel. And, he hasn't even missed a goal.
That's great for Sean. He's a satisfied, engaged customer who now feels he has a good relationship with his bank. But the benefits of chatbot technology go much further. There are significant cost savings from automating transactional enquiries and it allows customer service representatives to focus on more complex customer issues that require deeper human insight.
Marketing Driven By Customer Needs
More importantly, AI-driven chatbot technology gives banks a deeper understanding of their customers' behavior, life events and financial needs. They can even be integrated with social media channels such as Facebook and LinkedIn. These actionable insights allow you to deliver highly targeted content for cross-sale and up-sale opportunities that secure and reward your customers.
Let's go back to Sean. He hadn't told his bank he wanted a mortgage. That mortgage offer communication was triggered by him getting married and opening a joint account. AI recognizes these life events as frequently associated with buying a house. The communication reaches Sean exactly when he's in a mindset to take out a mortgage and the chatbot feature allows him to jump on the offer immediately.
Using chatbots as part of an Omni-channel banking experience not only makes transactions more efficient, interactive and personalized. It can drive higher customer awareness, satisfaction and retention rates through targeted, relevant communications.
According to Gartner's latest mobile app survey, 64% of smartphone app users in the US, UK and China have used Mobile Wallet at least once in the last three months. Although currently 40% of users are using the apps more to place orders and compare prices rather than make actual payments - you don't need a crystal ball to see a future where mobile payments replace credit and debit cards completely. Here are three reasons why banks can't afford to ignore Mobile Wallet any longer:
1. Customers will come to expect instant payments and engaging service
Customers' lives are increasingly centred around their smartphone. Phones have already replaced many of the items we used to carry around such as cameras, train tickets and newspapers. How long before customers expect to be able to manage all their personal finances from their phone, tablet or smartwatch?
These Mobile Wallets are the future of how your customers will handle their money. Banks who embrace open banking principles have the opportunity to create more sophisticated and useful services than the fragmented and limited offers from challengers such as Apple, Amazon or single store apps. A bank can leverage their expertise to offer extensive features and integrate with third party providers (TPPs) to eliminate the need for multiple apps. Mobile payments will be an essential part of the financial eco-system. And, banks are the natural owners of this space. But to win the game they need to match agile and lean competitors.
2. You can't prise a Millennial away from their phone
For your younger customers the Mobile Wallet future has already arrived. This generation is not attached to bank branches; they're attached to their phone. Even internet banking is seen as an anachronism. As they accumulate more wealth and seek a wider range of financial services, this generation will become a more profitable customer sector. They are already using our Personal Finance Management (PFM) functionality to monitor and plan their spending and budget for holidays and bigger purchases. Later, they will need help at various life stages. For example, banks can use Mobile Wallet to send instant pre-approved loans with competitive rates and easy repayment options to convert any spending to microloans.
In the meantime, Mobile Wallet significantly reduces the cost of on-boarding these new customers. Adding convenient services, such as P2P payments, and innovations, such as integrating Mobile Wallet with chatbots, can also help ensure their long-term loyalty.
Mobile Wallet can also help target other previously difficult to reach (or cost-effectively service) markets. These include supporting customers on low incomes with limited access to banking and financial services and offering easy instalment repayment options for micro-loans. Mobile Wallet is a perfect example of how technology can boost financial inclusion amongst these previously neglected groups.
3. You need to know your customers, as well as Amazon and Google, know theirs
There are huge opportunities to use instant campaign feedback and customer data to gain insights into their future behaviour and improve customer service, experience and loyalty. For example, banks can work in partnership with retailers or restaurant chains to create personalised loyalty systems. With VeriPark's machine learning capability, we can analyse shopping data and issue hyper personalised, location-based push notifications to enhance offers.
Most Mobile Wallet users are currently in the millennial age group. But they are influencing older generations. Providing a compelling Mobile Wallet offering is a priority for banks who want to stay ahead of the competition. Our figures show how Mobile Wallet makes this possible. When we worked with Turkey's largest bank to develop their Mobile Wallet system, they attracted 50,000 new customers in just three months.
As great, personalised customer experiences become the new normal for consumers, financial organisations recognise the importance of applying game-changing digital innovations. New services such as mobile wallets now come into play to meet the demands of banking customers, particularly millennials who want omnichannel consumer service available on the go, anytime, virtually anywhere.
From this perspective, VeriPark designed an e-Wallet solution, building on 20 years of experience with the VeriChannel solution based on the Microsoft platform and Azure services. The solution stands out as a new way of managing finances through one single application, which is accessible 24/7 at the tips of customers' fingers. Customers can easily manage and control their budgets, monitor their expenses and reach campaigns in their areas of interest. Before e-Wallet, payment used to be tied to a location – but not anymore. Customers can now make P2P contactless payments in real time and use QR codes or NFC to facilitate faster mobile payments.
VeriPark's e-Wallet was recently implemented for a bank as a financial inclusion and digital payment solution, gaining over 50,000 customers in the first three months. Customers can instantly perform card transactions, manage coupons, follow up and apply merchant campaigns and earn loyalty points. They can also defer payment or pay in instalments, splitting the total into smaller amounts to pay off at regular intervals over a set period – and much more.
Wim Geukens is managing director of VeriPark Europe
Customer-facing professionals are likely to use the latest smartphones and tablets with advanced user interfaces in their daily lives. They drag and drop, double tap or even speak to their mobile devices to get things done. However, when they are at work, they are forced to use dated software and technologies. The complexities of this older software make it difficult for front-end staff to engage with customers and complete tasks, making them less enthusiastic in their roles.
Banks branches and their contact centres are overcoming these issues by implementing unified front end (UFE) solutions, which consolidate the user interface of all banking functionalities into one application. UFE applications have one login and one navigation menu, and they are intuitive and easy to use for front-end staff. Although users see a unified interface, the UFE simply acts as a thin layer that connects the back-end systems and applications, which all stay the same.
UFE solutions can also help banks to modernise the employee experience and align it with the types of user interfaces of the applications that they are familiar with interacting with in their personal lives. When bank associates have a piece of software they love that makes daily tasks easier to perform, they have much more time to engage with customers. In fact, banks see benefits in three key areas when they roll out UFE in branches and contact centres.
First, UFE cuts the costs of various operations. For example, VeriPark's clients can now fulfil customer requests between 17% and 48% more quickly because their staff are only using one application, rather than several. In addition, UFE enables banks to authentic users and transactions via biometrics, debit card pin validation or smartphone-based passwords. This eliminates the expensive step of signature and transaction verification.
The second benefit of UFE is that it minimises operational mistakes made by employees. Banks can use the UFE application's in-built engine to manage and change operational rules. Importantly, because the applications integrate with back-end systems – such as the customer relationship management (CRM) and data warehouse platforms – banks can even implement complex business rules while the transactions are running. For example, if the bank changes the minimum income requirement for loan products in the rule engine, the UF application will check the salary mentioned in the transaction and alert the bank associate. Similarly, the UFE can surface alerts about a customer, such as an expired ID or a missing mandatory field, so the bank associate can rectify the issue.
Finally, the third significant benefit of UFE is that it helps tellers turn into sellers because they can spend more time engaging with customers and finding ways to increase the bank's wallet share. UFE applications have integrated machine learning models that predict what 'next best actions' sales associates should present to individual customers, enabling them to suggest relevant products or services. Without these systems providing guided selling assistance, sales associates do as they've always done and try to drive sales in areas where the bank is missing targets. For example, an associate may offer a customer a credit card if the bank is missing sales targets on that product, without realising that the customer cancelled their credit card the month before. This type of sales attempt is valuable to nobody – and it annoys the customer.
However, when banks use 'tellers as sellers' initiatives and machine learning-based guided selling systems, associates can suggest relevant products – such as card upgrades, limit increases and top ups - and banks can start seeing high conversion rates of up to 14% on product offers. VeriPark has already seen successful implementations that have enabled bank associates to conclude product sales within 200 seconds.
UFEs also have multiple intangible benefits, particularly when it comes to enhancing the employee experience, reducing training times and improving client interactions. Although they don't need to be, UFEs built into a CRM application can certainly help banks to transform from product-centric to customer-centric organisations.
Özkan Erener - CEO at VeriPark
The Power of Unified Front End in Banking
A man comes running into a bank branch and says to the receptionist: "I've lost my wallet and I need to cancel all my cards, please help me."
The receptionist calmly asks the man to take a service ticket from a machine and 15 minutes later, he finally manages to speak to a customer service representative (CSR) who says the bank can cancel his cards if he is able to give the card numbers. Giving a look of clear exasperation, the customer responds: "I don't know. I lost them. I was hoping you would know."
The CSR must then log in to the bank's systems to find the customer's card information. If the CSR was lucky, the bank would have had a system that offered a 360-degree overview of all the customer's information on one screen, so it would have been quick and easy to cancel everything in one go. However, the bank does not have this system, which means that the CSR has to open the credit card application, find all the cards, cancel and then replace them one by one, before going through the exact same process in the debit card application. The CSR then has to log in to the core banking application to charge the customer a fee for replacing all of the cards. Unsurprisingly, the customer objects to the fees, so the CSR has to load up another screen to waive the charges and chase down the branch manager to approve the charge waiver flag.
Although banks frequently receive requests from customers to cancel one or more lost cards, most banks aren't able to do so quickly. For example, at one bank that VeriPark worked with, the CSR had to open three separate applications and navigate through 11 different screens to complete the operation, before printing out four paper forms for the customer to sign. In this instance if a customer walked into the branch to request a card cancellation, they would be lucky to leave in 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, this picture is common in our industry. However, there is a solution: unified front end (UFE). This is a single, unified interface to all of the applications that branch staff need to use to cancel cards, which means that that they would no longer need to launch multiple applications to get the job done. Unlike in the above scenario where the CSR takes 30 minutes to cancels a card because they need to log in to three applications, navigate 11 screens and print out four pages for the customer to sign, the UFE allows the CSR to log into one application, look at one screen and print out one page in less than 300 seconds. UFE turns the bank from being product centric to customer centric by ensuring that the customer's needs are satisfied within five minutes.
Although this concept is so simple that it should be a no-brainer, UFEs in the banking industry are as about as common as UFOs. So, what prevents banks from building UFEs? I think I know the answer.
VeriPark is currently discussing implementing a UFE with one of our customers. The bank needs to build 1,600 screens for its branch UFE by using code, but they need 200 developers to carry out the work. While this would be easy for a software company like VeriPark, it's not so achievable for a bank whose core business is not software development.
UFEs are among the most complex types of software applications to create because they need to encapsulate core banking, credit cards, loan origination, investments and more. Banks have hundreds of applications and thousands of screens, so building a UFE using code should be their last resort. Instead, the UFE screens should be built using no-code development environments.
Luckily, software tools are giving us multiple no-code development options, but which one should we use? The debate usually shortlists business process management (BPM) systems, plain old development environments and customer relationship management (CRM) systems as contenders for building these UFEs. If the UFE was only supposed to make transactions, print statements and process bill payments, I would opt for plain old development environments or even a BPM screen builder.
However, these front ends are complex. Banks want UFEs to help them cross-sell, to fix compliance issues, alert them if a customer is missing a declaration and more. Banks want these front ends to do more than just cancel lost cards on a single screen, they would like to be able to sell, serve and solve client needs in that same screen. If the customer visits the branch or the contact centre to cancel a lost card, that screen is a great place to offer insurance protection against future theft of the new cards, or to trigger a complaint if there was a disputed transaction. It is also an ideal opportunity to double check if the customer's address and mobile number are still the same. A UFE does the job it's supposed to, but also does so many other things under the hood.
Only CRM systems have the feature set to cross-sell, ensure data quality, service agreements, provide a single view of the customer and more. BPM and plain old development environments don't have these features in their DNA. For this reason, CRM systems are a great candidate to build UFEs that can turn banks into true customer-centric businesses.
Özkan Erener is CEO of VeriPark
We were honored among a global field of top Microsoft partners for demonstrating excellence in innovation and implementation of customer solutions based on Microsoft technology.
Awards were presented in several categories, with winners chosen from a set of more than 2,600 entrants from 115 countries worldwide. VeriPark was recognized for providing outstanding solutions and services in financial services.
"Our ecosystem of partners is crucial to delivering transformative solutions, and this year's winners have proven to be some of the finest among their peers," said Gavriella Schuster corporate vice president, One Commercial Partner, Microsoft Corp. "we are pleased to recognize VeriPark for being selected as FINALIST of the 2018 Microsoft Financial Services Award."
The Microsoft Partner of the Year Awards recognize Microsoft partners that have developed and delivered exceptional Microsoft-based solutions during the past year and VeriPark is the only Microsoft Global ISV enabling the Financial Services Industry (FSI) to deliver world class customer experiences across digital and assisted channels. Microsoft has worked shoulder-to-shoulder with VeriPark since VeriPark's establishment, sharing the same visions and common values; this collaboration is the driving growth of VeriPark Digital FSI solutions across the globe. VeriPark is helping its customers drive digital transformation by delivering scalable, intelligent and secure customer-centric software solutions based on Microsoft's cloud platforms. At the core of this cloud enabled digital transformation journey, Microsoft's key solution areas sits perfectly, Business Applications, Modern Workplace and Data & Artificial Intelligence.
Today, VeriPark announced its membership of standards organizations BIAN (Banking Industry Architecture Network) a non-profit group looking to reduce integration costs for banks, through the creation of consistent service definitions in a service-oriented architecture.
With the majority of banks joining the BIAN community, VeriPark has seized the opportunity to combine it's industry expertise, to define a revolutionary banking technology framework that standardises and simplifies core banking architecture, leading to enhanced architectural agility and strong adoption skill to fast-changing banking ecosystem. VeriChannel from VeriPark which offers a secure, unified platform that empowers organisations to manage seamless, consistent and engaging customer journeys across multiple customer touchpoints, including web, mobile, kiosks and ATMs will be the first solution that will be standardised based on BIAN Open Banking standards. VeriChannel omni-channel banking solution users across the globe also will be able to use VeriPark's standardised connectors to provide feature free API's to third-party developers to build applications and services.
"The possibilities created by mixing up APIs, financial data and other tech are endless. Open banking could benefit consumers with new insights that help people and businesses manage their money, gain access to products they may not have had before as well as new products that were not previously available. Services could be more personalised or tailored to the individual's behaviours and lifestyle. Based on this, VeriPark is committed to the use of open banking and payment standards which is provided by BIAN. By joining BIAN, we are building on our participation in the development of internationally standardised solutions. The banking industry architecture network will provide a BIAN Certificated Solution to community through the adaptation of the VeriChannel Omni-Channel banking solution." Added Özkan ERENER, CEO of VeriPark.
"We are delighted to welcome VeriPark in our vibrant community of banks, solution providers, consultancies and academics. VeriPark adds great value to our initiatives of integration and interoperability in the industry, sharing their in-depth knowledge. The problem at the moment is that everybody in the industry is defining its own set of APIs, thereby hindering connectivity, which sort of defeats the object of PSD2: openness and transparency with data. Only a limited set of participants in the Financial Services Industry are aware of the value of a universally adaptable reference model or taxonomy to lay out clear standard definitions for all the various banking business functions. Without such a model, it's almost impossible for the industry to visualise the different information flows within all the banking capabilities within their model, let alone interpret how these are connected and which should be taken up for API enablement. Therefore the participation of well-established and innovative organisations like VeriPark is essential for the success of the BIAN initiatives". Said Hans Tesselaar, Executive Director of BIAN.
VeriPark works with clients to develop contemporary technological strategies and solutions that address specific business needs and challenges, bringing the promise of digital transformation to life. VeriPark solutions enable clients to acquire, retain and service customers quickly, reliably and cost-effectively by accelerating the deployment of transformative customer and employee experiences. The digital innovation and consultancy services are transforming business worldwide for banks, credit unions, insurance companies, pension funds, brokerage and wealth and investment firms. Operating worldwide, VeriPark has established offices in the UK, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Africa.
Since being established in 2008, BIAN has been a self-governing, not-for-profit association created to develop and promote architectural models for banking interpretation issues. With the focus being on the creation of semantic banking landscapes, the level of detail and boundaries helps banks to gain reduced integration costs through a service-orientated discipline. See www.bian.org
The financial services industry witnessed the start of a transformation that will funda-mentally change the relationship between consumers and retail banks when the European Union Revised Payment Services Directive (PSD2) came into effect in January 2018. The expansive PSD2 regulation includes numerous updates, however the requirement for financial institutions to participate in an open banking system is by far the most challenging.Open banking is the up-and-coming trend in financial technology, emerging out of a situa-tion of shifting customer behaviour, regulatory changes, the threat from digital ecosystems and the quest for new business models. It is based on financial institutions signing over the access rights for their digital assets and services to third-party developers, who can use application pro-gramming interfaces (APIs) to build applications and services around the financial organisations. The open banking approach facilitates greater financial transparency and helps financial institu-tions to innovate and create new revenue models. If executed correctly, open banking technology will increase innovation, substitute collaboration, extend customer reach, and lower costs.
When banks are opening up their infrastruc-ture, an API strategy should be considered a business, rather than an IT, strategy. Giving API access away for free may drive brand loyalty and allow the API provider to enter new chan-nels, but it may also prove unsustainable over time. However, with careful execution, offering third-party developers free API access may act as a stepping stone for building both direct and indirect business models.
One of the biggest hindrances for banks when it comes to adopting an open banking approach is core banking systems. Owing to the complex nature of these legacy systems, dealing with core banking processes is time consuming and expensive. It is possible for banks to redesign this core infrastructure, but this is an equally costly and long-drawn-out process.
The Banking Industry Architecture Network (BIAN) is working to address the design issues of core banking systems, seeking to establish a reference framework that identifies and defines IT services in the banking industry. BIAN's framework represents an opportunity for banks to facilitate legacy system replacement and consequently, to improve business agility and reduce integration costs.
VeriPark is a member of BIAN and, now that the majority of banks have also joined the com-munity, it has seized the opportunity to use its industry expertise and architectural agility to help define a revolutionary banking technology framework that standardises and simplifies core banking architecture. In addition, VeriPark is committed to using the open banking and pay-ment standards that have been set by BIAN.
VeriChannel from VeriPark offers a secure, uni-fied platform that empowers organisations to man-age seamless, consistent and engaging customer journeys across multiple customer touchpoints. Banks can use VeriChannel to standardise their web, mobile, kiosks and ATMs services accordin to BIAN's open banking standards. Meanwhile, companies using the VeriChannel Omni-Channel Banking solution will be able to use VeriPark's standardised connectors to provide feature-free APIs to third-party developers so they can build applications and services.Mixing up APIs, financial data and other technologies will create endless possibilities for the banking industry. Open banking will also benefit both businesses and consumers by giving them new insights that will help them to better manage their money and by allowing them to access products that may not have been available before. By providing easier access to financial services, cheaper overdraft services, more innovative ways to perform financial operations, and improved comparison services for loans, mortgages and insurance, banks will be able to deliver more personalised or tailored financial services that better meet customers' individual behaviours and lifestyles.
Built on top of Dynamics 365, VeriPark's VeriTouch Solution offers huge benefits to NBK-Egypt after signing an upgrade! With additions including an upgrade of the existing system, VeriPark will implement the latest Sales, Marketing and Corporate 360 modules for SME. With the ability to consolidate data from NBK-Egypt's back-end systems and digital channels, this collaboration will allow NBK-Egypt to serve their customers more efficiently as well as solve concerns and needs due to a complete 360 view of the customer. The VeriTouch Solution will overall, allow NBK-Egypt the ability to cross-sell additional products or services to match their customers' profiles for more personalised banking experience!