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Paperless Digital ?

The terms Digital / Paperless / Straight thruough processing / seamless customer experience etc have been around for quite sometime. As customers we have begun to assume and expect it now all the time.

Therefore I was quite taken aback by a recent experience with a reputed large global multi national bank with a plush office when I applied for a credit card. After filling up the form ( online ), after a few days I received a letter in the post asking me to visit the banks branch and submit an address proof and an ID proof. Then when I went into the branch, I was asked to wait for a few minutes before being chaperoned to an officer behind a desk. This officer took my "paper letter" and made a "xerox copy" of it on paper. Then he took xerox copies of my driving license and passport ( more paper) and attached these to the copy of the paper letter and asked me to leave with no reference number / traceability of this interaction.

Paperless / Digital ? How Should Banking Change...

I am sure this bank invests millions of pounds in "Digital Initiatives" and also has a "Head of Digital" or a "Chief Digital Officer". Anyway, here are my thoughts on how this could have been done better... When I walked into the branch with the letter, using the reference number on the letter, the bank should have opened the "new credit application screen" and opened my request. Against that he should have clicked on an "operation / button / task" called "Scan original docs" and he should have clicked that and directly scanned my Passport and Driving License into that. There was no need to create paper Xerox's of my Driving License / PP. Once the DL and Passport were in the system, the system could have automatically checked their validity via API calls and the transaction could have been completed seemlessly. Using OCR / ICR Techniques they could have extracted key fields from my documents and matched that off against the Credit application.
Ostensibly the first step of sending a letter to my home was needed to verify my address but the rest of the process could have been completely "Digital"....

I keep reading why Fintechs are displacing banks and i was a bit of a doubter...but this personal experience has turned me into a believer...

I actually wrote the above blog on 5th April but never published its 21st April and I again received lots of paper from the bank, but no credit card ! The letters received today again just ask me to visit the branch and give copies of my address proof and id proof and its 8am and once again they created more paper out of paper

:-) Long Live "Paperless Digital Banking"



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Tapan Agarwal

Tapan Agarwal

SVP - Transaction Banking

Intellect Design Arena Ltd

Member since

19 Feb 2008



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This post is from a series of posts in the group:

Disruption in Retail Banking

Growth in internet and mobile technologies has transformed many industries and economies. The market forces and competitive landscape has completely changed in many sectors. iTunes has fundamentally changed music industry, Amazon has driven most big brick and mortar book sellers out of business, Expedia is one of the worlds' biggest travel company….. the list goes on. Internet and mobile technologies are big disrupters for most industries. What started (and tapered a bit!) with the dot com boom of 2000 has become a lethal threat to most business models today. Powered by mass adoption in mobiles phones, proliferation of smart phones and cheaper band-width, internet and mobile technology have changed many industries. The banking industry in has been dominated by a handful of big global or regional banks for 100s of years. While the credit crisis has shaken this industry, the core market forces for the industry have not changed. Will Innovation in Internet and Mobile technologies disrupt retail banking? Will there be 5 new names in global top 10 retail banks in 2020?

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