Two financial service companies talk about how they are dealing with the current crisis
Today Backbase held a “Coffee and Talk Session” with Jürgen Pulm, CEO at RBS Services (Switzerland) Ltd, Jeff Sinnott, EVP at Vantage Bank Texas, and Backbase’s Jouk Pleiter and Tim Rutten, SVP, Backbase. The subject of the chat was “navigating through these turbulent times and how to keep on innovating.”
As we face the current crisis, financial service companies have had to go beyond the worst-case scenarios in their disaster recovery plans and act immediately to make changes. The focus has had a dual purpose, address the customer impacts while managing their resources. Both Tim and Jürgen covered how each of their organizations had to shift with these challenges.
While both of these organization sit in different parts of the world and serve different client segments, Vantage is a commercial community bank in San Antonio, while RBS Switzerland serves Private Banking clients, their challenges are similar.
There was some level of preparation that allowed a small number of employees to work from home from the start. In the case of RBS, their IT team is spread out between Switzerland and the UK and are used to work remotely, although not always at their homes. For Vantage’s part, some employees have had the ability to work one day a week or so from home. To a certain extent the infrastructure exists but to scale it to move a large portion of their resources home has been and continues to be a challenge.
Aside from the availability of hardware and software, there are policies and procedures that have had to be visited. For instance, current policies usually require that any employee working from home is doing so from a bank-owned laptop with the appropriate approved encryption. However, what happens when the organization doesn’t have any more laptops to give out. Is there a way to ensure that proper measures are taken on equipment that isn’t approved by the organization?
From the customer standpoint, the focus has been on being as transparent as possible and allowing them access to the organization’s resources available. Aside from existing digital capabilities, what can be done from a technology standpoint to tool employees at branches, call centers or even at home to serve clients?
In the case of Vantage, access to the branches has remained a priority. While lobbies have been closed customers can still be serviced through drive-up lanes. While the bank has the capability of scheduling appointments digitally, the decision has been to offer that only on the phone to properly manage it. Clients can still talk to a banker via phone or some limited lobby hours. The biggest challenge has been managing access to safety deposit boxes.
There hasn’t been enough time to look forward. However, Jürgen and Tim agreed that there will be lessons from the current situation that will impact their digital roadmaps going forward. Industry-wide, they believe, there will be increased investments in digital experiences for both customers and employees.
As far as Backbase, Jouk spoke about their offer to their clients to help them in whatever issues they need help immediately. Some Backbase and partner resources have moved from working on future development to address immediate client needs.
While the industry is very focused on the immediate impact, we at Extractable are hopeful for the future. After a period of quick assessment, we anticipate an acceleration of digital innovation.