Financial Industry Client Documents: Why Digitization Programs Are Missing the Point

  • Shelby Austin, CEO at Arteria AI

  • 28.01.2022 01:30 pm
  • #AI #Financial , Shelby is co-Founder and CEO of Arteria AI, an award-winning global leader in digital documentation. She began her career as a lawyer, starting as a partner in David Ward Phillips & Vineburg, before founding ATD Legal, which was acquired by Deloitte Canada. She went on to be the Managing Partner of Omnia AI, Deloitte’s AI, Analytics and Data practice. Arteria spun out from Deloitte and then raised an oversubscribed Series A within its first six months.

Banks have spent billions on digital transformations, yet client documentation processes are still highly manual and costly because they are missing the point.

Agreements that were once made by handshake have now become a complex multi-step process that can take months to complete. Typically, a document is manually generated, printed, emailed, and reviewed before being scanned and digitized after it’s signed. 

After all that, parts of the digitized documents must then be entered manually back into core systems.  So, while some elements of the workflow may be digital in isolation, the digital chain remains constantly broken, making this an extremely expensive problem. 

A study by World Commerce & Contracting estimates that the cost of processing and reviewing a mid-complexity contract is over $20,000. That’s the lower bound – the cost of high-complexity contracts runs into the hundreds of thousands. If you multiply this across a bank, you have a seriously massive cost. 

Another recent report by Acadia approaches the problem through a cost-savings lens. It states that the financial industry stands to save up to $1.9 billion across existing agreements, and $42 million year-on-year for new Credit Support Annex agreements. 

Inefficient systems can have serious and costly business consequences. Not to mention that document delays can erode client confidence that has accumulated throughout the sales process. 

But it does not have to be this way. Adding isolated process and workflow automation can add efficiency, but merely scratch the surface on the real problem. The solution? A bank’s documents that are born digital must stay digital. Only this will eliminate the need to continuously re-digitize and add validation layers to documentation processes. 

This can be achieved by structuring the data from the outset of document generation, which maintains the digital chain, end-to-end. By at least partially removing the need for post-signature digitization, there is greater accuracy and access to information across the whole organization at far less cost.  The processes become much less duplicative and error prone.

That is the approach I have taken with Arteria AI, the company I co-founded.  To our users, there is no obvious change to their current day-to-day processes; they still have the flexibility to negotiate in free text, including in Microsoft Word if they so choose.  But for those in the know, we are actually representing the data in its documentary format (or for reporting purposes or any other format we choose). 

By ensuring that data within a given document largely remains structured and available throughout its lifecycle, an organization gains transformational process improvements and substantive data-driven insights throughout the process.

Coupling this data-first approach with a powerful suite of collaboration tools, workflows, tracking, search and storage, financial institutions are empowered to be confidently client centric in their approach to documentation. That means they can say goodbye to the current bureaucratic nightmare – reducing risk, cost and time to revenue. 


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