Robots outpacing back end number crunchers at OCBC

Robots outpacing back end number crunchers at OCBC

OCBC Bank is reporting astonishing productivity gains following the introduction of robotic process automation to handle number crunching tasks in its secured lending and sales reporting units.

The robot attached to the bank's secured lending team has stripped hours out of the mind-numbing task of re-pricing home loans. What used to take staff more than 45 minutes to complete (from the customers’ call, to checking of customers’ data, to recommending the appropriate housing loan re-pricing package to customer), now takes the robot just one minute.

Staff previously had to execute 199 process steps, toggle across five systems and 27 screens, to process one housing loan re-pricing application, says the bank. The robot not only checks checks on customers’ eligibility to re-price, it also recommends appropriate re-pricing options, and drafts the recommendation email for customer. In total, the machine can handle as many as 100 re-pricing applications a day, significant improving on turnaround times for customer queries.

The back-end production of sales report for management is also undergoing a robot revolution, freeing staff from the tedium of 166 distinct work-steps to calculate data housed in multiple spreadsheets. While staff used to take two hours to produce just one report, the robot completes the job in just 12 minutes. As a result, says the bank, management is now able to receive the report promptly at 9am, instead of the tardy 4pm bulletin from the human team.

OCBC's experience is bad news for the huge number of workers toiling away in bank back offices the world over.

Japan's Sumitomo Mitsui, for instance, claims to have eliminated 400,000 hours of manual labour from its operations through the use of robotic process automation as part of a mid-term plan to slash Y10 billion from operating costs over the next three years.

In Europe, meanwhile, Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan last week suggested that the bank could replace half of its 97,000 employees with robots within the next 20 years.

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