Transition, then transform
Santander UK knew it needed to transform. Quickly. And that meant partnering. Like many big banks, however, Santander Group was used to going it alone. Never in its 165-year history had it undertaken a strategic partnership for its operational activities.
So, Santander UK launched a robust and competitive partner selection process, investing an entire year to evaluate 10 professional services firms. The bank selected Genpact due to our deep expertise in banking operations and advanced digital technologies and the strong alignment between both companies' corporate values.
"Genpact's flexible and dynamic approach set it apart," says Jas Narang, chief transformation officer and head of operations, Santander UK. "Other companies seemed to have a pre-existing model or solution that they wanted to shoehorn our operations into, but Genpact listened to what we needed and adapted."
Transition to a center of excellence for customer onboarding and servicing
Genpact committed to establishing customer onboarding and servicing solutions across seven core business units: personal banking, mortgages, unsecured personal loans, cards, business banking, payments, and corporate banking.
First, we designed and implemented a new operating model, transitioning 600 full-time roles from Santander UK's shared service centers to Genpact's center of excellence for onboarding and servicing. To 'retain the brain', knowledge transfer was critical. So, we seconded and embedded 20 experienced Santander UK employees to work with Genpact for 12 months. Meanwhile, we upskilled shared service center staff, empowering them to move on to bigger and better things within the bank, such as the financial crime and compliance organization.
The transition had to avoid causing any disruption to the bank's business. This was especially tricky due to multiple headwinds the team had to navigate. First, Brexit prompted changes to the country's regulatory environment. Then, COVID-19 lockdown restrictions meant the team had to meet its goals while working remotely. Despite this one-two punch, "Genpact pulled off the transition seamlessly and noiselessly, and the execution was flawless," says Narang.
Streamline core processes through automation
Our next step was to reimagine core banking processes using advanced digital technologies. We started with the corporate account closure process.
When an agent in Santander UK's contact center received a request to close a company account, they would pass the request to a back-office service agent who had to log on to a wide range of systems. They might need to send an order to the payments department to empty the account or transfer its balance to another account. Using robotic process automation, Genpact fully automated this process – improving the customer experience while eliminating frustrating manual work, saving time, and reducing costs.
Santander UK chose UiPath as its automation partner because it's easy to create bots without significant coding expertise. And while most automation tools perform well with either attended bots (which run under human supervision) or unattended bots (which perform highly complex and repetitive tasks based upon a predefined rule), UiPath performs well with both. As a Gold Partner, Genpact could use UiPath to automate the bank's processes and more.
Accelerate customer onboarding using artificial intelligence
Santander UK's retail banking processes needed transforming too. For example, when a customer applies for a new account, loan, or credit card, Santander UK must first validate their identity. Customers might provide a range of documents, from birth certificates to utility bills, to prove who they are. Collecting and evaluating this information manually was a time-consuming, tedious, expensive, and error-prone task.
Genpact helped Santander UK use AI-powered optical character recognition to extract and evaluate the information in these documents, identify its key elements, and put the relevant data in a table. We implemented orchestration technology that then automatically kicked off a workflow, prompting employees to complete the process and approve (or deny) the application. This significantly reduced the risk that the bank would do business with government-sanctioned customers or customers engaged in illegal activities, such as money laundering, terrorist financing, or fraud. It also dramatically improved the employee experience by allowing employees to focus on higher-level skills that required them to make important judgments and decisions.
Accurately predict business volumes and staffing capacity using advanced analytics
Finally, we created a planning and forecasting environment that's as dynamic as Santander UK's business. We gathered and consolidated historical business data across all seven business units. Then, we developed statistical models to forecast business volumes and staffing needs using advanced analytics.