Given that the financial sector faces a never-ending stream of regulations that places the industry at the forefront of the fight against fraud, money laundering, and terrorist financing, they must collect extensive information from prospective as well as existing customers. That used to mean lots of paperwork.

Thankfully, financial institutions now use online forms to gather customer information. However, while the paper-based compliance process was horrible and placed a real burden on the customer, many online forms that banks now use are poorly designed, cumbersome, and fail to adapt to the user’s unique situation. Such forms can be frustrating to use and can have a negative impact on the first impressions of new customers. The situation is compounded when opening corporate accounts where the multiple shareholders and directors must be collected and checked.

Without question, banks must gather information regarding a customer’s identity, including their nationality, address, contact information, employee status, and from a customer satisfaction perspective how banks gather their customers’ data matters.

An Intelligent Approach to Regulatory Compliance

In general, individuals understand that the financial sector must collect their data in order to satisfy regulatory requirements. What they do not readily accept is their financial institution’s inability or unwillingness to leverage technology in an intelligent manner to minimise the administrative burden.

If financial institutions and other regulated businesses are to further minimise the compliance burden they place on customers and improve their overall experience, during the form development process they must spend more time considering the impact of such automation on the user. If they invest more time and effort in the customer data capture process, they will capitalise on the benefits of automation, improve the customer experience, and by extension, increase revenue and loyalty.

Businesses cannot control the vagaries of regulations, but they can help minimise the impact on the customer. When deployed correctly, technology can help gather and authenticate a customer’s data. It can also help detect errors or omissions that may delay the opening of a customer’s account, and reduce the amount of time it takes to complete complex forms.

Next time you consider asking for more data to satisfy initial and ongoing AML, KYC and KYB requirements, consider that request from the customer’s perspective. Use adaptive forms with workflows to only gather the information required for that client and with the minimum keystrokes necessary. Better yet, conduct a review of your entire new account opening process as well as the ongoing compliance-related requirements that your institution routinely shifts to customers. Then, figure out whether there is more your business could do to improve its form-driven data capture process. Your customers will thank you for it.