Onboarding in financial services - are you missing a marketing opportunity?

Onboarding in financial services involves a lot of paperwork. Anti-money-laundering regulations mean that every prospective new customer has to present a range of documents verifying their identity and address even before they reach the credit check stage. To complete the application, they may well have to produce passports, driving licences, utility bills, bank statements and payslips. 

Aside from the sheer amount of manual labour involved in checking and cross-referencing these electronic documents, some highly valuable data is going to waste. Each one of these documents contains information that has the potential to be a major asset; useful insights can be drawn from details such as age, region, income range and spending habits. What’s more, its value can often be increased by linking it to existing information about the same customer. 

The reality, however, is that most financial services companies are storing these documents as “flat” image files, which occupy storage space and are accessed rarely. In this format, none of the information they hold can be analysed, effectively rendering them useless. As stated by IDC in a recent report, “Data, in the absence of meaning and context, is worthless and costly.”

Extracting the value from an everyday document

This needs not be the case. Ephesoft’s technology can identify and extract the unstructured data from a two-dimensional image of a document - and turn it into something useful. We can extract the relevant information from a digital image no matter what the format. Our software learns to identify specific fields on different types of documents, such as the account number on a bank statement, or the name and address on a utility bill and can be trained to recognise all of the documentation required for a particular product, whether that’s a mortgage application, a loan or a new bank account. 

Once we’ve identified a document and the important fields within it, we can add meaning to the information by putting it in context. At its most basic level, for example, the name and address on a utility bill can be cross-checked against the name on the application form, but far more is possible. When a document comes in to support a mortgage application, for example, it should be possible to link it not only to a customer’s account details, but also potentially to an individual’s credit record, to the history of the house being purchased, or even the insurance details of the property. 

Levelling the playing field

AI-based technology is opening up a wealth of new marketing opportunities. For years, the likes of Facebook and Google have been gathering data from their customers and using this to target them more accurately. In retail, customers take it for granted that the brand offering a new pair of shoes or a tracksuit for the dog will already know that they like brogues and own a Labrador. It’s time for financial services to achieve a similar level of customer understanding.  At present some lenders struggle even to recognise a mortgage applicant as an existing customer, let alone to predict their needs. 

Our AI-based data extraction technology goes far further than the practical issues of efficiency and time-saving. Yes, processing time can be slashed, customer service improved and compliance made more effective, but in the long term, it’s the improved understanding of the customer that will help you grow your financial services business. There’s a flotilla of fintech startups, including rapidly growing brands such as Revolut and Monzo, that are armed with an appreciation of the importance of customer data, so the established banks and insurance companies need to move fast. 

The good news is that it’s possible to simultaneously solve a problem and create an opportunity. You can cut your administrative costs, improve your customer service and make compliance simpler – whilst building the data structure that will in turn build your business.   

Ready for the next step? Contact us for more information  our request an individual demo or a free trial.

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How to take the pain out of KYC in financial services

Using tech to automate the capture and verification of customer data

If you’re in financial services, you’ll know only too well that a customer’s decision to sign up is just the beginning of the story. The onboarding journey can be treacherous and customers are likely to have a change of heart along the way. One particularly risky phase is during the process of checks and verifications to ensure compliance with the Anti Money Laundering (AML) and Know Your Customer (KYC) regulations. We’ve taken a look at how you can make things easier.

The way things stand, the process for making the KYC checks is far too onerous. We know that the regulations are important – nobody wants to be inadvertently helping a criminal or a terrorist to launder their money – but the process is often tiresome and off-putting for customers and expensive for the bank or insurance company concerned. 

The average customer will have to produce an array of official documents that confirm their name, likeness, residential address and date of birth - simply to prove that they are who they say they are. This can also include their passport, a driving licence and a utility bill, all of which may have to be presented personally at a bank or an office. This isn’t easy. There are no longer many financial sector organisations which still have a UK-wide presence on the high street; more than 3,500 bank branches have closed in the past five years. Even without a global pandemic the simple request to visit a branch is already a significant challenge. It’s not surprising that many customers simply give up. One large UK retail bank reported that a staggering 60% of potential customers abandon their application when asked to present documentation. 

Let’s make things easier

It needn’t be like this. Technology in financial services has advanced enormously in the past two decades and you don’t need to leave your KYC compliance process trapped in the 1960s. 

  • Capture the data

The first step is to help your customer provide the information you need. Most paper documents can be scanned via a mobile phone, while online documents can be converted into an image or a PDF; there should be no need to stuff a sheaf of papers into an envelope. Ephesoft’s AI-based data capture software can learn to recognise different types of documents and then classify and extract the relevant data. It can not only distinguish between a gas bill and a birth certificate but will extract the vital details - such as name, address, and date of birth – from each. By capturing these details from every single document, you can be sure that they are consistent before submitting the customer record for further AML or credit checks. Any discrepancies can be flagged early and fast. 

  • Check the data

Having verified the essential information, a whole variety of further controls can be applied according to the level of scrutiny required. This might include biometric verification such as facial recognition via a video selfie, but in all cases, the data in the documents can be crossed-checked against the information submitted in the customer’s application. Figures on a bank statement, for example, can be compared against the stated income or monthly spending declared by the customer. Again, if discrepancies arise, they can be flagged quickly, rather than waiting weeks for a manual check to take place. 

The new fintechs are already ahead when it comes to onboarding. Monzo, for example, with no branches, invites customers to “open a new current account while you wait in the queue to buy your lunchtime sushi or sandwich.” All documents are submitted online, with further KYC information, such as changes in income, gathered during the lifetime of the customer. Revolut also promises new customers that they can join “in minutes”.

The sheer convenience of these services makes it essential that you get the right tech in place in order to compete. Investing in the right technology can slash administration times and improve productivity, cut costs and transform the customer experience. There’s everything to play for – and you can make onboarding a smooth, painless, and rapid process. 

Want to learn more about intelligent document processing for financial services? Request a free trial or contact us for more information.

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How to Boost Digital Transformation in Healthcare with a Modern Content Capture Solution

Digital transformation is required to embrace the future of healthcare. Accessible patient data is mandatory to create comprehensive electronic patient records, referrals and triage assessments. Digital transformation initiatives to uncover hidden or data trapped in faxes, paper documents, chat logs, call records, emails or even unsearchable PDFs will enable hospitals to healthcare providers to provide better and faster care. 

When the British health care system, the National Health Service (NHS) launched in 1948, it employed around 144,000 people. By the time the NHS celebrated its 70th birthday in 2018, it was the single biggest employer in the UK, with 1.7 million workers. These doctors, nurses, midwives, porters, administrators and cleaners work for hundreds of health care trusts across the country, serving over 1 million patients every 36 hours.

360-Degree View of Patient Health Records 

When NHS trusts started looking into digital transformation to improve patient care, they sought out a solution for connecting data silos spread over various software systems, both internal and external. Their staff was spending too much time re-entering identical data into multiple software solutions, with the accompanying risk of transfer and duplication errors. 

Their goal was a solution that secures a 360-degree view of the patient health records, bringing together all clinical documents such as doctors' notes, discharge summaries, lab results, as well as digital images related to the patient. 

Additionally, patient record files should also include patient demographics, and medical data feeds. All the information should be secured within software repositories and made available via national ID schemes, e.g., eCards, DoctorID, and other services. The high security and data privacy requirements are an additional, complicated but vital factor. 

NHS End-to-End Digital Referral System 

An essential piece of the ideal solution is the digitization of NHS referrals from other health care providers, such as General Practitioners (GPs). To meet the Right to Treatment (RTT) referral targets, trusts have to transform the manual processing of referrals. Most hospitals still receive these referrals from fax or email, which are printed and manually added to the patient record system. 

NHS Hospital Trust Digital Transformation 

Ephesoft works in cooperation with a number of partners to provide an integrated and seamless solution to these pressing issues.

Ephesoft’s solution captures and classifies structured and unstructured documents electronically regardless of their source. Once GP referrals are captured and identified from email, fax, scans and printed documents, extracted data can be delivered to an ECM or healthcare system. The capture platform integrates with the NHS Digital e-RS service, which is vital for NHS acute hospital trusts. This step in digital transformation eliminates the need for manual data entry. Who wouldn't want to increase the quality of patient care even while decreasing labor costs by between 30 - 50%?

Data-Centric with the Human Touch 

The solution can also triage the referral, including accept, reject, and redirect internally/externally. Ephesoft advocates supervised machine learning because data-driven healthcare decisions still need to be validated by experienced professionals. The system learns from human feedback, which improves future data-driven determinations. 

Internal Sharing and Reporting

External options enable automated reporting and retrieval by clinicians. Reporting tools assist with the collation of RTT statistics, and an additional option allows reporting back to GPs and Social Care providers. 

Results of Digital Transformation at the NHS Trust

The digitization of the referral process led to a drastic reduction in duplicate data processing, estimated at a 90% decrease. This lead to a decrease in labor costs and data duplication errors. Simultaneously, automated processes saved a significant amount of time. 

The drastically improved referral process reduced RTT waiting times, and the reporting of these targets is significantly faster and more comfortable. Now, patients are seeing an average wait time from 6 weeks to 2 weeks. 

While these improvements bring considerable economic benefits, they also increase job satisfaction for staff and improved patient care standards. 

If you’d like to learn more about how you can implement similar changes for your healthcare organization, please email us at info,eu@ephesoft.com or contact us here.

More information:

Case Study Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Case Study The Leads Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Contact us for more details or an individual presentation of our solution.

Harness digital transformation to improve patient care in the UK

How Smart Content Capture Improves the Lives of Patients in the UK 

While most British citizens are fans of the National Health Service (NHS), many of them will admit to being frustrated by long waiting times for healthcare appointments with specialists. After their local General Practitioner (GP) has made an initial diagnosis, he or she refers the patient to a regional clinic, run by a hospital trust, for further treatment. Then, the wait begins. 

Patients' lives are put on hold as they battle with physical pain, worry about the future and possible loss of income due to being unable to work. 

NHS Referral Targets

The NHS Constitution sets hospital trusts a target of 18 weeks between GP referral and a consultant assessing each patient for routine, non-urgent conditions. Some hospital trusts, however, struggle to meet these targets, especially when they are dealing with archaic IT systems. 

Did you know, for instance, that some GPs still send referral letters to the hospital trust via fax? Like it's 1995! Other GPs are a bit more up-to-date and use emails instead of fax machines. Even then, the staff at the hospital trust still need to print out these documents and enter the details manually into their patient records systems. You can imagine how much time goes by while NHS employees type all these details into a computer system. 

GPs don't only send the referral document. They often also send supporting documents such as x-rays, scans or blood tests. Administration staff scan and upload these documents and ensure they are attached to the correct patient file. Not only does the manual work take time, but the risk of error also increases with every manual step undertaken by NHS staff.

Meanwhile, the patient sits at home and waits impatiently for their appointment. Patients may face additional worries over their financial security. In some cases, the patient may not be able to work while they wait for their appointment. Musculoskeletal problems (including back pain, neck and upper limb problems) cost the UK over 30 million working days every year. 

Smart Content Capture Automates Referral Processes

However, there are ways to alleviate this frustrating situation Ephesoft’s Smart Capture solution eliminates manual work for NHS staff. By undergoing digital transformation and using smart content capture technology, the system extracts and exports all vital patient information into their EHR (electronic health records) system, including the initial note from their GP, and even supporting documents such as x-rays, blood tests or scans. The system can automatically scan and import faxes and provides a secure connection to the NHS automated e-referral system. Ephesooft’s intelligent technology even recognizes the required information from the documents, which is necessary since each referral document is laid out slightly differently. 

Can you imagine how much quicker it is to run all these referrals through automated software, rather than waiting for office workers to enter all the data into a system? Staff will still need to “train” the system with sample documents, which then enables the system to learn to recognize that document type. We call this supervised machine learning. The more documents it processes, the system increases in value as it learns over time.

As a leading healthcare entity, NHS completed their digital transformation initiative to benefit both patients and their employees. When the NHS improved efficiency, it was not only an improvement for the hospital trust patients, but its employees’ workload is lightened, increasing job satisfaction with less potential errors. However, the primary beneficiaries are the patients whose initial consultant-led appointment comes around much faster. 

With a quicker referral process, patients can begin treatment earlier and start recovering. This enables patients to get back to their everyday routine, return to work and enjoy their life. 

More information:

Case Study Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Case Study The Leads Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

Contact us for more details or an individual presentation of our solution.


DM Award 2019

Ephesoft Nominated for Document Management Award 2019

Ephesoft has been nominated for the Document Management Award in the category Public Sector Project of the Year, based on our work for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust.

The DM Awards, organized by the publishers of Document Manager - the UK's only specialist IT title dedicated to the document and content management sector - has been running for over ten years. The online voting process allows readers of the magazine and eNewsletter to reward suppliers of software, hardware and services that have made a real-world difference to their organizations.

The DM Awards features unique 'Project of the Year' categories which invite vendors to submit the success stories of which they are most proud in that year. These case studies are judged by a panel of independent industry experts, consultants and analysts.

NHS England and the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust

The National Health Service (NHS), one of the largest healthcare providers worldwide, faces immense challenges when it comes to digital transformation. With a reliance on outdated technology such as fax machines and pagers, the 2018 announcement of a new tech vision for the future of the NHS was welcomed by staff and patients alike. A move to a more efficient connection between health care providers such as General Practitioners (GPs), specialist clinics and referral hospitals aimed to increase efficiency, reduce errors and waiting times, all the while adhering to strict data security protocols for patient details.

The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust provides services to over 770,00 residents, plus specialist services for further 5.4 million people from across the region. They are one of the largest employers in the area, with around 18,000 employees across several sites.

Ephesoft – NHS Project

At the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, patients have the right to begin consultant-led treatment within 18 weeks of referral by their GP. This Right to Treatment (RTT) is set in the NHS Constitution.

The LTH Trust found that meeting the RTT targets was hindered by the complicated referral process. The referral process for GPs to send patients for further treatment was unwieldy and error-prone. Referral documents in a range of formats were sent to the NHS healthcare trust via various transmission methods, including fax and email. These documents were printed then manually entered into the patient management system, an incredibly time-consuming task.

As part of the wide-ranging digital transformation project of the NHS, a solution was sought for this issue. The software would have to meet the NHS minimum technical standards to ensure that it was compatible with other open standard software.

Content Capture by Ephesoft was used to capture these incoming records, process them accurately without manual input by staff, and archive and deliver to the Alfresco Digital Platform, which includes ECM and BPM.

The solution includes Ephesoft Fax-Gateway for incoming faxes and integration of NHS Digital e-RS service, which is vital for acute NHS hospital trusts.

These documents aren't standardized, so the information contained in them must first be classified and organized by the system. The data is conveyed to the electronic patient file which all relevant healthcare staff, across multiple departments, can access. Users don’t need to switch between software platforms, as all the information is collected in one place.

The referral process is now faster and more efficient, which brought about an impressive reduction of manual data input and data transfer errors. The printing of documents has been drastically reduced, which aids the LTH in their goal to becoming a paper-light organization. These improvements, in turn, led to a rise in employee and patient satisfaction.

The team from Ephesoft is proud to be part of such a critical digitization project and rewarded by the knowledge that they are supporting patients and easing the workload of hard-working NHS staff.


More information and voting: www.dmawards.com