Self-Service Analytics Can Empower Your Customers

Jon M. Deutsch's picture
 By | January 20, 2015
in Finance, Business Intelligence, Customer Relationship Management (CRM), Data Quality, Financial Reporting, financial reporting, Financial Reporting
January 20, 2015

For years, financial services institutions have been sending statements to their customers, providing static summaries of their activities.

This article was originally published in Digital Banking Club.

For years, financial services institutions have been sending monthly and quarterly statements of checking, savings, credit card, mortgage and investment accounts to their customers, providing static summaries of their banking activities.

But in today’s interactive, digital world, both retail and business banking customers want to explore and engage with their data. Financial services institutions want to provide an engaging consumer experience, especially to attract younger clientele who will grow with the bank and become an essential element of tomorrow’s revenue stream.

This trend is especially prominent within the wealth management sector, where retail banks are competing for customers by offering highly personalized, interactive services for reporting and analysis of financial and investment data.

Making the Most of Your Information Capital

How can credit unions move to the front of this rising wave? The first step is to take on a new perspective that the information you have stored in your databases, data warehouses, and transaction management systems are not only of interest to your internal employees, but also to your members, partners and other third-party stakeholders outside the business.

Just like financial or human capital, information yields higher returns the more it is used. You can extract this information and make it accessible with business intelligence (BI) software.

Market-leading credit unions are looking to BI tools to create a new generation of interactive eStatements that empower members to collect important insight at a glance, such as comparing this month's financial position to last month’s. They can identify spending patterns and outliers across several financial products, forecast progress toward savings goals, offer discounts, and suggest next year's budget and holiday spend. The same application can illustrate their investments, allocations and shares, obligations and liquidity, and the performance of their assets over user-selected time periods.

The best eStatement platforms provide many of the analytical and visualisation advantages available in today's personal financial management apps, such as online and mobile budgeting. In addition, they fulfil regulatory requirements by depicting a point in time financial condition.

Interactive eStatements reliably show the transactions associated with prior periods to effect the point-in-time condition, and can be audited on demand. PFM tools do not fulfil this obligation.

Put the Power in the Hands of Your Members

Business customers appreciate reports concerning their credit cards, debit cards, corporate cards, and other types of electronic payments.

Merchants can drill down into daily sales data by store, as well as aggregate summary information to reflect the operation as a whole. This self-service app makes it easy to access information about cash flow, in addition to consolidating statements, so merchants spend more time focusing on their customers, and less on routine administrative tasks.

Merchants simply need a standard web browser to access all of the rich capabilities of these online eStatements, making it easy to scale to hundreds of thousands of users.

Of course, as with any BI app, offering eStatements that are intuitive and visually appealing isn't all that's important. These apps aren't truly valuable unless they employ trusted information. They need to tie into a robust back-end infrastructure to ensure the quality and integrity of the information. They also need to be scalable to serve the needs of a large and increasing user base.

Use Analytics to Gain Competitive Advantage

Online banking services are already the rule rather than the exception, as credit unions and their competitors focus on delivering unique digital experiences. Routine electronic banking services are just the starting point.

Differentiation and competitive advantage will go to those institutions that can take the next step of figuring out ways to teach software to replicate complex behaviour, in particular, offering valuable advice and insights.

Almost all of the habitual activities such as transfers, deposits, withdrawals and loan applications have been partially or fully automated. Progressive credit unions are creating personal financial management applications, dashboards, and eStatements to help consumers analyse their assets and achieve their financial goals.