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My impressions of the EBAM event

I just returned from London, where I attended a two-day conference on EBAM (more specifically, SWIFT EBAM). While it was a relatively targeted audience (approximately 60 people were in attendance), its primary focus was on-boarding, bank account management, identity management and customer service. There were mostly top banks on hand, such as Citi, JPMC, Bank of America, Societe Generale, Fortis and RBS, but some leading global corporations such as P&G, Shell and GE also attended.

I must admit that coming into this event, I didn’t know what to expect. The EBAM standard is not officially live yet and generally needs more work, but the commitment that some of the banks have made by travelling to this event from U.S. and Asia made me realize it was going to be worthwhile and time well spent.

So, here is what I’ve learned: EBAM is truly a competitive advantage. It helps banks position themselves as innovators and if leveraged appropriately, it can highlight how easy it is to do business with them. All banks want to be customer-focused nowadays, and since the technology exists, it’s not that difficult to implement, nor is it too expensive, either. Most banking executives I spoke to are looking to become compliant with the standard as soon as possible and then test the waters. Part of their approach is because they would like to see how other organizations react.  They will also be watching with a keen eye to see how these organizations implement it within their own enterprises, and how this standard is evolving. There are a few banks still sitting on the fence waiting for their corporate clients to push them, but this group seems to be getting smaller.

I spoke to some executives who told me they know the processes behind on-boarding and bank account management are all broken. But fixing them will take them too long, they say, so they want to jump on the EBAM bandwagon first and see how it goes. Others have taken the challenge and started automating some of these processes with a piecemeal approach that leverages their existing IT infrastructure and uses flexible technology.

Personally I think both approaches make sense. These days you need to start small, test the waters and then plan your own growth strategy. In my presentation I talked about how some of our clients have achieved success around EBAM, on-boarding and customer service/experience in three to six months. In fact, some of them have used our advanced BPM technology to do exactly what Chris Skinner was saying is very hard to do . I received a lot of interesting feedback and many questions that proved the conference was well worth my time. In fact, I hope to be back soon.


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