Wells Fargo is prioritizing automation efforts for “know your customer” (KYC) and anti-money laundering (AML) processes in 2021 as the $1.92 trillion bank strives to speed up the treasury client experience.
“We’re only as fast as our slowest leg, and right now we continue to struggle with being as fast as we’d want to be with our KYC/AML and BSA [Bank Secrecy Act] processes,” said Allysun Fleming, treasury management head of client experience at Wells Fargo, during the Banking Automation Summit, presented by Bank Innovation, on Tuesday. “We are all subject to the same rules and regs associated onboarding a client, there’s a lot of opportunity for us as an industry to make it easier for clients to navigate through those processes through automation.”
KYC is a regulation that requires financial institutions to identify, and verify the identity of, new business customers to measure and reduce AML risk. The stringent regulations are designed to fight fraud and financial crime, but the associated data and steps needed to satisfy the requirements raise hurdles to creating a fast and convenient onboarding process.
Wells Fargo wants “to take people out of the process, because any time you have hand-offs, you have lag time,” Fleming said. The bank is experimenting with workstation automation, like low-code and drag-and-drop automation, to allow employees to automate their own tasks, she said.
Some of that automation effort will come down to tightening the bank’s internal data management and knowing the right public data sources. Bank customers struggle with document uploading and exchange, Fleming said, so rather than rely on optical character recognition to lift information from a document and create automation workflows to move that data, Wells is trying to eliminate documents entirely and instead collect data through digital forms.