By: Joe Spatarella, Managing Director, CCG Catalyst Consulting Group; Maggie Scarborough, Director of Research, CCG Catalyst Consulting

Historically, U.S. financial institutions utilize only 40 to 50 percent of the capability of vendor-provided commercial web and mobile packaged solutions.  During the COVID-19 pandemic, existing web and mobile services have become de facto business continuity tools enabling banks to serve consumers and businesses small to large.  Existing commercial solutions and their vendors should be part of the business continuity plan.

Implement never-implemented features. Vendor web and mobile business banking and cash management systems are often delivered to institutions with capability that was purchased but never implemented.  Some systems are delivered with the entire array of services but only those purchased are activated by the vendor.

As businesses shift to remote work and digital communications, these services can be quickly implemented for customers that can no longer visit a branch, alleviating over-burdened call centers:

  • Service broadcast messages about temporary branch and ATM availability and processing changes
  • Secure mail, chat, and formatted service requests
  • Forms capability that can stand in for product-specific customer service requests
  • Internal transfers, including payments to bank for its services or draws from loans
  • Send payments to other institutions, bill payments
  • Secure file transfer capability for payment files, payroll, positive pay, and recon
  • Secure system email used to distribute banking reports; additional users can be set up to access information when every employee is remote

You can’t drive a mobile branch into a pandemic, easily.  Many never imagined that the banking industry would ever need business continuity plans for bank-wide branch office closures and country-wide “safer at home” policies for an unpredictable, lengthy duration.  Financial institutions plan for the worst, but experience relatively short-term, local, or regional natural disasters such as floods, hurricanes or fires and even flu pandemics, but never for the sustained onslaught of COVID-19.  The industry has always emphasized the protection of employees and recovery of communications, electronic and digital systems.  Now, COVID-19 is leaving little choice but to rely almost completely on these systems as unparalleled numbers of citizens, banks, and businesses shift to telework.

Financial institutions should consider implementing the fundamental digital web and mobile business services mentioned above for all business customers from the start. Time consuming risk management and limit setting is performed in advance and self-services are activated quickly for customers. This approach aids already stressed customers and bank employees during a disaster or any day of the week.

CCG Catalyst Consulting Group can be your partner in Business Continuity Planning strategies.

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