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Automating an omnichannel banking process with a low-code platform - case study of an application for changing the mortgage terms and conditions

Complex multi-step business processes can be automated. We helped one of Poland's largest banks improve the quality of customer service with an application for the process of mass change of mortgage terms. We automated the preparation of offers for customers and provided employees with a comprehensive panel to manage cases and tasks, enabling process scalability. We based it on the Eximee Low-Code Development Platform and the Camunda workflow engine. 

automating complex multi-step business process

Project background

In 2021, one of the largest banks in Poland (more than 5 million customers) approached us with the need to automate the mass handling of a new business process regarding the modification of mortgage terms. At that time, this project was critical for the organization and was supervised by the bank's board of directors.

Why did the bank choose us?

A while earlier, under difficult pandemic conditions, we had implemented a different project for the bank. It was equally demanding due to complicated regulations.

At that time, we not only delivered the software but also stepped into the role of subject matter consultants. On behalf of the bank, we engaged in discussions with government institutions to determine the necessary process components. We approached the project in an agile manner, with knowledge of market realities and a can-do attitude. As a result, we were in a position to make business recommendations.

Our initiative was appreciated and so we began cooperation on another project.

The challenge: devise a complex, multi-step process involving many stakeholders

The planned mortgage settlement process involved the participation of state institutions and negotiations, necessitating a tool to streamline the information flow.

The process was intended to be automated. However, some steps must be performed by bank employees in person (digitally or in the branch), for example:

  • telephone negotiations with customers for new mortgage terms,
  • responding to customer queries via email,
  • finalizing the process with a customer's physical presence at a branch for document signing.

The key was to seamlessly integrate all these steps into the automated workflow.

Additionally, some steps of the process cannot be automated due to regulatory requirements, technical constraints, or limitations of the bank's systems. Therefore, we focused on streamlining the process across 3 levels described below. 

During the development of the process and the business application, we took into account the diverse types of users. Each user type has specific roles and responsibilities in the process, necessitating distinct functionalities and interfaces tailored to their needs. The users included:

  1. Bank customers with different preferences regarding communication channels.
  2. Bank employees:
    • front-office employees: for example, telephone consultants who help customers start the mortgage restructuring process and check the status of a case;
    • bank mediators who negotiate new mortgage terms with customers;
    • managers who oversee the process and organize the work;
    • branch employees who are responsible for on-site signing of annexes to agreements with customers;
    • back-office employees who are in charge of document circulation, among other things;
  3. External institutions to whom data on settlements worked out with customers should be provided.

The goal: smooth handling of an increased number of processes and an excellent Customer Experience

The mediators were the ones who cared most about the optimization and the outcome of the project. They felt responsible for the success of the entire process. Their tasks – conversations, contact with customers – inherently cannot be automated. Therefore, they needed a system that would support them in the remaining tasks related to negotiations.

On the one hand, the system was to simplify the performance of particular tasks in the process, and on the other hand, to facilitate grasping the context of a particular client. We sought to enable mediators to:

  • instantly familiarize themselves with the terms and conditions of a given customer's mortgage,
  • review existing documents related to the case,
  • handily record the stipulations arising from negotiations with clients and schedule meetings,
  • determine how the negotiated changes shape the further course of the process, e.g., what documents need to be prepared next.

In this project, we did our best to reduce manual tasks to the necessary minimum, enabling bank employees to perform more mediations in less time.

The solution: a low-code process automation platform

Our task was to facilitate communication between bank employees and customers, simplify the mass management of multiple cases at different stages, and develop an end-to-end process of changing mortgage terms. To achieve this:

  1. we modeled the process using BPMN 2.0 notation and automated it; 
  2. we built the front end, a set of forms for customers, and embedded and synchronized them across all channels;
  3. we developed an application for employees to manage tasks and customer cases; 
  4. we integrated the platform with the bank's systems and external institutions to transfer and update data on amended mortgages.

We relied entirely on the Eximee low-code platform and the Camunda workflow engine.
What was the workflow step by step?

Process design

The Eximee team had a big part in the project from the beginning. We managed it and consulted on the bank's activities. We interviewed business representatives at the bank, as well as employees who were to handle the process on a daily basis. We warned against possible pitfalls, drew attention to existing limitations, and influenced the design of the mortgage terms change process. 

System analysis

During this stage, we conducted discussions with the risk department and credit department, among others. We focused on modeling the target process, paying attention to the steps that must be completed in the bank’s systems, and recommended which teams could perform particular tasks. We indicated at what points to integrate Eximee with services that already existed in the banking system.

Researching regulatory compliance requirements

At the same time, we collected information on the requirements derived from the regulations of state institutions. We determined the data to be collected from the customers, the negotiable parameters of the loan, and the extent to which they could be negotiated. Additionally, we identified the relevant authorities to whom the worked-out agreement should be transferred.

Process mapping

Meanwhile, the bank formed a business team that focused on developing the process. They held many workshops to analyze how the bank's employees had so far handled settlements and negotiations without the support of the system.

Using the gathered information and considering Eximee's and the bank's capabilities and limitations, we designed all the necessary steps of the business process and visualized the customer's paths with different options for submitting the form. We modeled tasks that can be automated, as well as manual tasks that require action by bank employees or customers.

Organizing the work of the joint bank and Eximee team

The same Eximee team members who mapped the process also laid out the work plan. It gave them a thorough understanding of the needs and allowed them to juxtapose them with the capabilities of the team.We determined which tasks at particular stages should be carried out by the bank and which should be carried out by the Eximee team, so that the project would run smoothly, with no blockers on either side.

Prototyping and testing

Prior to starting the development, we conducted a pilot test of a manually operated process in line with the new map. 

A joint team of Eximee and bank experts developed an MVP of the process, which was a trimmed-down version of the end-to-end path. It allowed us to make necessary optimizations right away.

In its basic version, the process consisted of:

  • a request by the client to start negotiations, 
  • bilateral mediation in several rounds, 
  • signing an agreement offline,  
  • notification of changes to state authorities.

Then, we iterated the project.

3 areas of process improvement

To make it easier for bank employees to perform their duties, we streamlined the process in 3 areas.

Area 1: activities that could be fully automated

These operations are performed entirely by services that communicate with each other. For instance, generating, encrypting, and signing documents, then sending them to a customer. Opening a case for a given customer is completely automated based on an email confirming the verification and regulator’s approval. Also customer messages are handled automatically – they get assigned to a specific case through keyword analysis.

Area 2: robotization of steps that could be accelerated but not automated

Certain steps in the process, such as setting up a grace period for mortgage repayment or posting were impossible to automate. Therefore, they were robotized, ensuring the transfer of complete data sets to appropriate systems.

Area 3: facilitating steps that must be carried out by the bank employee in person or offline

Some steps, such as mediation where a mediator presents options and negotiates conditions with a customer, or signing and scanning the agreement at a branch, require in-person assistance by a bank employee. During the development of the business application, we ensured these processes were as frictionless as possible.

  1. A mediator assigned to a case is provided with screens containing information to facilitate credit negotiations with a customer. It allows them to grasp the case context instantly.
  2. When signing an annex to an agreement at a branch, the system requires an agent to scan the agreement. If they don't complete all manual tasks, they do not get access to further steps in the process.
  3. Bank employees got divided into groups based on their responsibilities. Each group has a specific role in handling the process and access to different functions. With the Eximee platform, the agents can see if the previous step in the process has already been completed as a new assignment appears on their task list. It helps streamline the work of many people. They no longer need to inform colleagues they have closed their tasks so that the next person can continue the service or that the customer is ready to sign documents at a branch. Now the system informs them of everything.

One process available to customers across multiple channels

To ensure maximum convenience, the bank aimed to make the request for negotiations accessible through multiple channels. Customers may apply for the mediation process online using the banking application, during a phone call with a consultant, or in person at a bank branch.

Regardless of a channel a customer uses to contact the bank, all information about the case status and an archive of communications is available to an employee in one place. Documents signed at the bank are affixed with a barcode identifying them with a specific process and customer, digitized, and then automatically processed in further steps.

Customers can learn about the status of their cases through various channels – in the banking application, over the phone, or in a branch. However, signing the final annex must take place at a branch where the documents are sent automatically. This decision by the bank is based on the understanding that, for the most part, customers are not ready to authorize documents with qualified electronic signatures.

Well-thought-out user experience

Mortgage terms renegotiations stir up emotions in every customer. It is all the more important to ensure a smooth and flawless process and quick responses from the bank's employees. 

Thanks to the combined efforts of the bank and Eximee teams, it is possible to create a concrete and clear offer available to a client for review even before they decide to start negotiations. A customer has plenty of time to analyze the offer, as it is valid for 30 days. The documents generated automatically on the Eximee platform are readable and in line with the bank's visual identity.

Customers can carry out a subsequent step in the process in a different channel than the previous one. This lack of pressure and flexibility fosters a positive impression.

To further reinforce the positive impression, we made sure customers are guided through the process step by step. We added explanations and tips in the Eximee platform and were mindful of using plain language.

To ensure a smooth process and avoid bottlenecks, the bank progressively informed particular customer groups about the offer. Customers were segmented according to their scoring, and with the solutions developed by the bank and the Eximee team, the offer can be targeted to selected individuals based on the ID of their mortgage case.

Smooth and continuous communication with customers

We have also introduced several customer communication enhancements:

  1. Automated dispatch of documents to customers, email notifications (information can also be sent automatically to a designated proxy), text messages with codes for decrypting attachments;
  2. Various forms of authorization – a customer can confirm the request to start mediation by an SMS or accept the bank's offer verbally over the phone. They only need to show up at a branch to sign the final agreement with the bank;
  3. An immediate email confirmation of new mortgage terms established by a customer with a bank employee over the phone.

However, that is not all as far as working on the UX of the process is concerned.

Continuous user experience optimization

In projects like this one, we don't just prototype and develop the process, we test it with the bank's employees

We always create systems with the people who are going to actually use them. Investigating how our customers and end users interact with our solutions is at the core of what we do. It allows us to optimize and make improvements to the process and application even after the main phase of the project is completed.

On top of that, together with the bank, we design extensions to the platform to further facilitate handling the process.

Benefits for the bank

What did the bank achieve with this project?

  1. It enabled mass yet high-quality customer service by eliminating bottlenecks. It has automated numerous tasks and gained the possibility of scaling teams responsible for the process whenever required. Additionally, the user-friendly nature of the system requires minimal training and onboarding for employees. Assigning new permissions is enough for an employee to gain access to their tasks in the system.
  2. It gave customers a multi-channel access to a product whose service has been centralized. It doesn't matter in which channel a customer starts the process – they can continue using a computer, talking to a consultant on the phone, or in a branch.
  3. It has systematized and automated the rules for making changes to a given agreement in different scenarios. Thanks to an application that prompts the process for a specific case, there is no need to create an individual service plan for each customer, which means less work.
  1. It synchronized online and offline steps, eliminating information silos and the risk of errors. Although there are manual steps in the process, such as a phone call or a meeting with a customer at a bank branch, data collected at each step is instantly implemented into the digital process.
  2. It orchestrated work and simplified team workload management. Managers can handle absences and substitutions, delegate tasks, and even put a case on hold. Thanks to the Eximee Dashboard (a module for employees), there is clarity on workflow and task allocation, which increases team efficiency.
  3. The employee experience has improved, which is of great importance when you want to provide excellent customer service. The bank's team doesn't have to worry about task prioritization or updating case statuses. The system helps employees grasp the context of a customer's case and facilitates negotiations by suggesting the boundaries of the offer within which they can operate.
  4. The bank gained a process that can be further developed by people without programming skills. For example, activities such as adding a new form for customers, modifying content or changing automatic message triggers do not require coding, so an analyst or a low-code developer can cope with them.
  5. It has secured the ability to edit or replace subprocesses and steps without disrupting the availability of the entire process. A process based on the Eximee low-code platform and Camunda's workflow engine, can be modified on the fly without worrying about causing the entire system to crash.
  • Process automation
  • Digital transformation

Authors

Eximee Team