Web Access Provides Big Payoff

Bank redefines process for delivering historical records, saving money for itself and its customers

InformationWeek Staff, Contributor

March 5, 2003

3 Min Read

Hanna worked with an RBC developer, Jayem Nolan, for six months to build the Bankbook Reconstruct application, with Hanna creating the business rules and Nolan developing code. Banks use thousands of transaction codes to identify customer activity--such as whether a payment was made with a check or via a funds transfer--so Hanna's team had to work with different bank units to find out which transaction codes would be needed to reconstruct the bankbook. Also, the marketing department had only two years of data in its enterprise warehouse. Hanna bumped that up to six years, which added a cost of $360,000 for additional storage.

All the data had to be cleansed and tested to assure its integrity before the system could go live. Hanna, who banks at RBC, tested a year's worth of his own transaction data to be on the safe side. Good thing. "There were missing transactions that we had to reinject into the data warehouse, and we had to make modifications in the data-collection process to do a better job of data cleansing," Hanna says. For customers who need this data for audits and other efforts, "it had to be down to the penny."

Now, when customers call the operations service center to request a bankbook reconstruction as far back as six years, agents input the dates requested via a Web-based interface, and within as little as 30 seconds they have a com- plete report in an Excel spreadsheet ready to send to the client, who's guaranteed that there are no errors because the process no longer includes manually transcribing data. Software automatically handles language translations--which is increasingly im- portant as the bank expands its reach into 66 countries.

The cost saving is estimated at $2 million per year, from increased efficiency as well as eliminating microfiche creation and storage costs. Now, RBC customers pay just $5 per reconstructed statement. "We've passed along our savings to the customer," Hanna says.

The next phase is to give access to the same data to branch tellers, so clients can simply walk into a bank and receive a spreadsheet on the spot. Hanna hopes to expand the type of information accessible by the interface beyond personal account data to include credit-card statements and more. Plus, he wants to push the service to the Web. He won't do that, however, until he's certain the data can be available 24-by-7 and that it will be secure.

Now other business units are looking at the system to see how they can use the same interface to access data. The risk-management department is using the application to make decisions for things like approving credit lines. "They can see from the data whether a customer is hanging out at a casino or is overdrawn for another reason, so they're saving because they're not having to write off loans," Hanna says. "This is huge for them."

The anti-fraud and anti-terrorist division has tapped into the system to comply with government requests that the bank monitor for suspicious activity under anti-money-laundering regulations. "We get as many as 30,000 information requests and search warrants [a year] from different law-enforcement agencies that we have to comply with," Hanna says. "Using this application saves time and speeds up the judicial process."

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