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Treasury Pipeline

3 Common Treasury Pipeline Challenges

man jumping hurdles

Reducing the time it takes to get your commercial clients up and running with new treasury management services can improve your bottom line and bring joy to your customers. But speeding up the onboarding process is easier said than done. To streamline your efforts, you need to identify bottlenecks and friction points, and then take proper steps to resolve them.

Here’s a look at three common challenges that may be slowing things down, as well as some tips on how to speed up your treasury management onboarding process.

1. The Forest for the Trees

Amidst the day to day grind when your team is working hard just to get things done, it can be difficult to know how well things are going (or not going). It can be harder still to pinpoint where you have friction points in your process flow that may be stalling out your new treasury service requests.

Having clear visibility into the current state of your treasury management services pipeline becomes vitally important as you work to scale your operations, or if you’re moving to a decentralized model where you have teams working at different locations.

Without an enterprise treasury management onboarding solution in place, you might not have the objective process data points you need spot trends, friction points, and opportunities. Here are some solutions to consider.

Spreadsheets, really?

If you’re starting with nothing, then a simple shared Excel spreadsheet can go a long way towards giving you the management oversight information that you need. Start with capturing the key process stages as columns in the spreadsheet and then use a separate row for each treasury management service request that you work on. Record the date that each request moves into each stage as well as the final delivery date to the customer. With a little bit of Excel formula magic you can see average time per stage, graph historical trends, and more.

This approach can work well for small teams with relatively light volumes. However, you can quickly outgrow the usefulness of this spreadsheet-as-an-application approach.

Online tools

If you’ve outgrown spreadsheets, then maybe an online project collaboration tool could help. In recent years a number of free or low-cost online services have cropped up to help teams manage their shared work. Trello is one great example of these services and could be used to track where your treasury management service requests are in their process journey. It will show you at a glance how many requests are sitting in each of your process stages, who is working on them, and can also capture comments from your team as they’re working the items.

Other online service options that we’ve seen teams use include Sharepoint (you may already have what you need running in-house) or a case management system like JIRA. BankPoint also offers an innovative treasury management pipeline solution that can streamline your operations and improve efficiency for your bank.

2. The Paper Chase

Your onboarding process will invariably require you to gather signatures from your customers on legal agreements related to the services that they’re setting up. For your more complex services and larger corporate customers this could mean getting signatures on multiple documents from several different parties. This can all add up to lengthy process delays. This is especially true if you’re still having your customers send you signed originals in the mail or if they’re scanning signed paper copies and emailing to you.

Ditch the paper

If you’re not using electronic signatures today, you should seriously consider it. The large e-sig vendors all have a range of offerings, but generally allow you to send documents out to multiple parties at the same time. This can help reduce signing delay as each party can review and sign the document at the same time. Additionally, the e-sign services have built in reminder capabilities which can send follow up emails to signers who procrastinate.

Before moving to e-signatures, be sure to check with your compliance and legal departments.

3. The Approval Obstacle Course

Some of your treasury management services may carry a degree of credit risk (e.g. ACH, wire transfer, etc). This means that your credit policy will have something to say about who needs to be included in the internal approval process for these services.

As with document signatures, the more internal approvals that are required, the longer it can take to complete delivery of the service to your customer.

Given that email is still the primary approval mechanism we see banks using today, there is added risk of things getting hung up in one persons’s email backlog. It can be especially difficult with email to determine where a particular request is stalling out.

Is email the best we can do?

Instead of email, consider deploying an automated workflow system for your treasury service approval process.

You may already have some workflow solutions in place which you could leverage for this. Microsoft Sharepoint Workflows could be a good place to start, especially if you’re already running Sharepoint for other things in your bank. Sharepoint workflows have some building blocks for setting up internal document approval workflows, so you’re not having to start from scratch.

If you’re already moving some of your operations to the cloud, take a look at Microsoft Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow). The tooling can be simpler to setup and fold into your current processes. Also, if the mere thought of starting another Sharepoint project makes you shudder, then this could be a welcome alternative. Finally, consider a dedicated Treasury Pipeline solution like BankPoint, which has built in approval workflows.

By examining your Treasury Onboarding process, you can improve the customer experience and reduce risk in your organization. From onboarding workflow, to e-Signatures, to electronic approvals, there are multiple ways to streamline the process.

Ready to speed up your onboarding process and deliver a better experience for your treasury management customers? Contact BankPoint or schedule a demo today to see how our powerful bank management system can drive results for your bank.

Do you need really need to automate your treasury pipeline?

Treasury management services are growing in number and complexity. Keeping up with that pace of change, and ensuring that you’re able to approve, set up, and deliver new treasury services efficiently to your commercial customers can be a daunting task. That’s why many banks are now considering automating these processes as a way to reduce that burden. While it can certainly help alleviate some of the manual tasks, automation can also be a big and painful process. So, you need to decide if it’s really worth it, or if you can get away with making a few tweaks to your existing process to improve efficiency. Here are some important things to keep in mind as you consider whether or not to automate your treasury pipeline system.

Where to start

Automation can provide a huge boost to productivity, but it’s not always clear when and how it should be applied. Just because you might be able to do something faster doesn’t always mean that you’re achieving your objectives.

So, before you do anything, make sure that you NEED to automate. If your current systems are already doing the heavy lifting, or your volumes are small enough that you’re not seeing any real operational strain, then you might be fine with where you are right now. It’s also important to start with the big picture in mind. Make sure that you have a solid high-level grasp of your current treasury management pipeline processes, including the systems which are involved along the way.

Can you draw a simple diagram on a whiteboard to explain the end-to-end process to someone new to your group? Are there multiple systems and departments which typically get involved in the decision-making and setup process? A simple picture here can sometimes help you spot inefficiencies and opportunities for streamlining which might not require any system changes.

All in all, a little bit of analysis on the front end can pay big dividends down the road.

Follow the data

Collecting data from your systems and plugging that into forms and spreadsheets is likely a big part of your current onboarding pipeline. Mapping out the systems involved, and even going down to the level of documenting which bits of data are coming from each system, might show you where you can reduce the number of systems involved. If you’re able to reduce the number of systems or touchpoints involved in collecting the data that you need, this will not only help you in the manual process steps, but it will also help you when it comes time to automate (if you end up needing to).

If you are pulling data from multiple systems, are they the right systems to be looking at? Generally, there will be an authoritative source for a particular type of information. You might have several systems which are authoritative for the different data you’re collecting. For example, you may have a specialized loan system which has the complete picture of outstanding loan commitments to customers, but deposit balance information may reside on a different core banking system. It’s not uncommon for data to be reflected on multiple systems. Knowing which is the source of truth for a data topic could be important because sometimes data between systems can drift.

If the data you’re collecting is a key component in the approval process, make sure that you’re getting that data from the most reliable system.

Let metrics guide the way

Are you able to see today how long it takes to approve, set up, and deliver a new treasury management service to your customers? Are you able to see this information broken down by service type or geographic location?

If not, this is certainly a good place to start. Without a good understanding of where you are today, and knowing where you want to be, you can’t really determine if things get objectively better after a process change or automation.

Monitoring of this type doesn’t have to be done in a specialized or dedicated system. Start with a simple Excel spreadsheet and log all the treasury management onboarding requests which are processed for two weeks.

Assessment time

With a clear picture of your current process, including data sources and operational metrics, you’re now at a point to determine if you need to automate.

If you can avoid making large system changes, do. If your current throughput is not too far off from your objectives, and it’s not causing undue stress on your staff, then look for small incremental changes that could bring improvement. Look for simple process adjustments to reduce the number of steps in the overall flow. Also, look for ways to trim down the number of department handoffs that occur.

If you find after your assessment that you’ve got a bigger hill to climb, then it may be time for some automation lift. If you do need to automate, start simple. Are there ways to streamline or automate the collection of data from your systems to reduce the amount of manual keying? Can you leverage an electronic signature system to simplify the process of getting documents signed?

If those changes aren’t enough to get you to where you need to be, then it may be time to find some specialized systems to help with the areas that are throwing up the biggest hurdles. BankPoint has created a unique treasury pipeline solution to automate your onboarding process and increase efficiency throughout your organization.

The world of treasury management is changing quickly. By taking time to evaluate your current system and the potential benefits of automation, you can streamline your processes and overcome the biggest challenges facing your bank.

Want to make your treasury management services onboarding process more efficient? Contact BankPoint today to see how our powerful automation solutions can increase efficiency for your bank.