In short, for IT decision-makers in financial services, COVID-19 accelerated strategic transformation and called attention to tough, long-avoided questions: Where does our compass point? What informs our decisions other than economic projections? How can we encourage our employees and customers towards advancement?
A key concept guiding these decisions was resilience. Resilience is more than enduring hardship; it’s about bouncing back. In the case of institutions focused on economic prosperity, it means that recovery is not the ultimate goal, evolution is.
Historically, financial services relied heavily on paper and in-person interactions, which led to the loss of relevance even before 2020. But digitizing document processes brings many perks, including lower printing and storage costs.
But the benefit of going digital stretches far beyond budgeting. Real-time collaboration through cloud services reduces friction in transactions. Faster collaboration on documents, forms, contracts and signature processes can impact negotiations and essential decision-making. In a Forrester study from August 2020, 56% of respondents said accelerating document processes is one of the biggest challenges for business continuity; 60% suggested document signing and approvals are the most important digital components of these workflows.
For Adobe, these findings reflect the evolution of digital document software: intuitive tools that integrate with existing business systems, cloud services and collaborative workflows and enable unlimited, legally binding e-signatures from any device. Through the automation of bills, loan applications and invoices, approvals move faster, meeting compliance requirements and data protection needs. Adobe Acrobat Pro offers a complete solution for financial organizations looking to move toward digital maturity.
Digital-first fintech services encompass paperless processes, virtual tools, remote work, mobile integration and more — and as they rise in popularity, digital document process help organization meet demands for a better Customer Experience (CX). And, from an Employee Experience (EX) perspective, organizations that adopt digital processes were better equipped to transition to remote work and retain top talent, because flexible schedules and hybrid models were already fundamental HR practices.
Traditional financial services organizations also need to consider these options for future-proofing their business. 40% of decision-makers in the financial sector anticipate that their teams will continue to work remotely on a regular basis, according to the Forrester study mentioned above.
As a result, the sector will need to increase investments in tools that enable efficient collaboration from anywhere while meeting high standards for security and compliance. With Adobe Acrobat Pro, teams can collaborate across devices with confidence as they create, review, comment and collect e-signatures in real time.
The current state of EX in fintech reflects the lifestyle and digital-first demands of millennial and Generation Z workers — not only as professionals but also as consumers. In terms of CX, the fintech market also prioritized optimizing mobile and desktop interfaces over face-to-face services, a strategy that paid off when lockdowns began.
For Q1 and Q2 in 2020, customer retention for fintech startups grew 29% compared to the same period in 2019, according to a 2020 Global COVID-19 FinTech Market Rapid Assessment Study by CCAF, the World Bank and the World Economic Forum. The growth of these new business models can push regulation and policy on a larger scale. The same study notes that 17% of firms took advantage of regulatory support for e-Know Your Customer and 12% for remote onboarding. These initiatives signal evolution and the possibility of digital document processes becoming standard practice.
Learning from industry innovators is essential for evolution. Business models may differ, but CX is always at the heart of financial services.
“Banks sometimes assume customers want bells and whistles, but they don’t. When it comes to their financial health, customers want journeys that are simple and flawless,” said Mike Gamble, director of analysis and design at London-based TSB Bank, during a conversation with Adobe about their digital-first strategy. TSB has invested millions in improving their CX with digital and self-serve experiences. By working with Adobe, they streamlined everyday customer interactions and digitally processed 140,000 forms in three months, replacing 15,000 branch visits.
For traditional banks and financial services organizations, in-person interaction with customers has been vital for over a century. Solutions like video banking facilitate virtual evolution, providing a human connection between customers and employees and bringing value to processes that benefit from interaction with a friendly face, such as onboarding, loans and mortgages.
Banks like TSB are also equipping on-site employees with tablets to help customers who visit physical branches fill out forms and e-sign, an approach that will foster larger adoption by familiarizing clients with digital document processes. Adobe Acrobat Pro lets employees collect signatures, create web forms that include institutional logos and allow clients to pay with Braintree (where available).
Insight and Adobe help businesses across industries innovate through digital experiences. For the financial industry, solutions like Adobe Acrobat Pro promote efficiency, enhance CX and simplify transactions through 100% digital workflows — making it easier for financial organizations to empower their onsite, remote and hybrid workforces.