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Blog | Feb 16, 2023

ATB Financial’s Automation Success in Financial Services

ATB Financial’s Success: Intelligent Automation Financial Services
Table of Contents

Success with Automation in Financial Services

Removing the Barriers Between People and Bots

Take your business to the next level by unifying your workforce.

Many organizations implement intelligent automation by focusing on small standalone tasks and deploying one or two isolated digital workers working in isolation from their human counterparts. Projects are often confined to individual departments with little collaboration between functions.

This can bring limited results, but the true value of an intelligent automation journey is achieved when people and digital workers operate seamlessly together. We recently had the opportunity to sit down with Ray MacDonald, senior director of artificial intelligence and software development at ATB Financial. Ray talked about the financial services and banking transformation his organization has achieved by connecting bots to their human co-workers into one collaborative workforce. Ray explained:

At the start, our team members were worried that bots would be taking their jobs away; the reality was that bots took away the tedious work they didn’t like doing and freed them up to do more complex, higher-value work and focus on the most important work for our team members — something bots can’t do — building relationships with our customers and creating those exceptional customer experiences. The IA workforce now completes thousands of requests for our internal and external customers. It’s hard to imagine a time without them ... and we treat them like other workers. For example, we gave our bots clever nicknames so we could refer to them. Names like: Wall-e, Neo, Mr. Roboto, Jarvis, Vision, Lisa, and even Botty McBotface. Not only did naming the bots create a ton of buzz around the new IA team but it eased them into integrating with the team members. It also had a practical component in that the team members could reference a bot by name or receive emails from a bot, and easily identify which process they were interested in. The organization immediately saw the benefits, and it wasn’t long before departments started reaching out to our team to make bots for their work. After showing the potential of what we could do, the department heads would go 'I would like some robots too!'"
Ray Macdonald Senior Director of Artificial Intelligence and Software Development at ATB Financial

Ray’s team’s approach was so successful because they made the bots an integral part of the workforce and humanized them by doing something as simple as giving them names and email signatures: thanks to this seamless integration, they have found better ways of getting work done and balancing the needs of the business with the available pool of resources, irrespective of whether it is digital or human.

Work is carried out by the best resource for the job: using digital workers to undertake routine, transactional activities such as digesting data, making updates, tracking progress, and more, while enabling people to undertake higher value, more complex work such as relationship management, conflict resolution, and problem-solving.

Learn more about our SBA loan processing program.

Loan Process Automation Excellence

21k business loans granted during the COVID-19 pandemic

But this was just the beginning of ATB Financial’s IA and RPA success story. ATB Financial helped save people’s livelihoods and supported businesses during the. In one of the most difficult times in recent memory, through their response to the Canadian government’s COVID relief loan program, businesses stayed open. 

ATB Financial achieved results that their current workforce alone would not have been able to support as demand for business loans increased sixfold. Ray recalls: 

When COVID-19 hit, there were a number of relief programs put in place by the government of Canada. One, in particular, the CEBA loan program, was perfect for automation. It involved creating the same loan over and over for each requesting customer. It would have involved reallocating a team of human workers, training them in these loans, and having them work to fulfill them full-time. With RPA, we were able to get a robot worker in place in less than a week. All told, we funded more than 21,000 loans over the life of the program with a 98% success rate. All about scale ... normal days; people can handle it ... in times of crisis, robots can handle the influx of requests/work. Prior to the pandemic, rather humorously, we had a whiteboard in our office with the message 'Celebrate once we have more than 1,000 daily loan requests,' with our peak at that time being around 700-800 requests. Once the pandemic began, we ballooned to just over 6,000 requests daily."
Ray Macdonald Senior Director of Artificial Intelligence and Software Development at ATB Financial

This is an illustration of how their digital workforce came to collaborate with human counterparts, operating as one entity, to respond to the huge influx of applications.

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Automation in Financial Services: Reasons for Their Success

ATB Financial’s one workforce broke down the silos between digital workers and humans, with work allocated to the best resource for the task at hand. In addition, the roles undertaken by the digital workforce aren’t fixed, enabling them to flex depending on business needs. All of this enabled ATB Financial to respond to 6,000 loan requests a day, a six-fold increase from the original 700-800 daily loan requests prior to the pandemic.

ATB Financial have successfully connected people and digital workers, automating work when they could and using people wherever it made more sense to do so. This was a truly impressive achievement: many businesses were able to stay afloat thanks to the loans that ATB Financial was able to grant quickly and efficiently.

Automating Financial Services: Bringing Together Digital Workers and People

The truly transformational value of intelligent automation can only be achieved by building a unified workforce of people and digital workers that work together seamlessly. Focusing on standalone tasks and siloed work just won’t do! With a unified workforce, digital workers keep systems and operations running smoothly in the background so people can focus on driving innovation and connecting with customers. Your unified workforce will help to balance roles in the execution of work for the right resource, every time, for the best business outcome.

Learn more about ATB's success with Intelligent Automation in our case study

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