KYC and the imperative for digital transformation
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KYC onboarding: automate KYC across your entire customer base

By Ed Lloyd | November 1st 2018

p class=”intro”>As a large bank, you need to onboard different types of customers around the world while maintaining consistent, compliant processes. To achieve this, you need a technology solution that works across your entire customer base, whether you’re onboarding multinational corporations or individuals.

Know Your Customer (KYC) processes are tricky to manage. Inefficiencies lead to a slow, frustrating onboarding experience that can impact your customer relations and create a bottleneck to doing business. On the flip side, good KYC processes safeguard your bank and benefit society as a whole by improving protection from financial crime. Finding a way to handle KYC effectively is critical but often painful. Factor in multiple jurisdictions and different entities and the KYC headache is particularly acute.

In today’s world where internal SLAs (Service Level Agreements) are tighter, regulations more rigorous, and customer expectations higher, manual KYC processes can’t keep up. And with processes differing according to whether you’re onboarding individuals or companies, the need for digital transformation in KYC is becoming increasingly urgent.

Transforming the KYC onboarding process

Forward-thinking financial institutions are adopting Intelligent Process Automation (IPA) to solve these issues. IPA automates repetitive manual tasks, like data gathering, saving you time and money while eliminating human error. Regardless of whether your customers are individuals, SMEs or large corporates, IPA provides the opportunity to streamline and bring consistency to onboarding efforts across the organization.


With IPA delivering a faster and more accurate KYC onboarding process, productivity increases. It can gather and analyze large volumes of information from multiple sources and compile this data into easily digestible reports that speed up onboarding decisions. In every instance, IPA addresses pain points that slow down processes. When implemented properly, IPA can make the KYC process smoother and easier than ever before.

IPA can be fully configured to the needs of the business, so variations in KYC processes due to differing regulatory requirements by region can easily be accommodated, as can a risk-based approach to Ultimate Beneficial Owner (UBO) identification, for example. This capability complies with regulations such as the EU’s Fourth Anti-Money Laundering Directive (4AMLD).

With the system established, data can be processed in an instant, providing comprehensive KYC intelligence on an entity, allowing for faster and more accurate decision making.

Cost and profit

Costs are greatly reduced using an automated KYC system. The need for armies of people to perform checks are negated as IPA performs the time-consuming legwork. Automation is more accurate as it’s not prone to human error.

The ability to process higher volumes more quickly means onboarding time is decreased. This allows faster new business approval and in turn, drives profits. You can improve customer relations as you meet, or exceed, their expectations for length of onboarding time.

KYC onboarding – the difference between individual and business customers

Onboarding checks and processes will vary depending on the customer profile. Good IPA ensures that clients, regardless of type, are assessed against the right criteria. For example:


Biometrics are increasingly used to confirm identity. Fingerprints, vein patterns, and voice recognition are very hard to forge and are becoming trusted methods of verification. This adds an additional layer of security to standard checks, speeding up the entire process.

Global banks benefit considerably from IPA because of the sheer volume of individuals among their customer base. Different types of customers require robust checks and processes that assess each individual against the relevant anti-money laundering and counter-terrorism financing (AML/CTF) regulations in each jurisdiction. Intelligent automation can do this in an instant, speeding up the system and delivering all the information needed to make the right decision.

SMEs and corporate

Here, the focus tends to be on corporate structures, associates, and UBOs. Good automation ensures relevant information is mined, retrieved, analyzed and displayed. It allows your people to make decisions based on sound business intelligence and show that the due diligence conducted is the most thorough and robust.

In all instances, the legal and regulatory aspect is at the heart of the KYC process. You can save millions in litigation costs and ensure compliance is on-point, robust and demonstrable.



A new approach to support you in a new world

Finding the right automation tools

The best automation tools integrate with your existing operations and technology infrastructure. They run in the background and blend seamlessly into day to day operations, speeding up processes while ensuring compliance and accuracy at every stage.

Your onboarding system must be able to handle high volumes of data and multiple processes, especially if your customers are both individuals and businesses. It has to be accurate and agile enough to apply the right checks to the right client. To assess SMEs and large corporate entities, systems need to drill down to identify UBOs, company and corporate structures; mapping out ownership in full. To assess individuals, systems must be able to handle biometrics and authenticate global identity documents.

Automation is not something that is coming down the pipeline – it’s here right now. It is time to get your organization up to speed and improve your onboarding, Make it faster, more efficient, and more accurate. Your clients and your board expect no less.


Digital transformation for Know Your Customer at Santander

Author: Ed Lloyd

Ed is responsible for delivering new business sales growth and increasing footprints in new verticals and geographies. He has served as a member of executive management teams at key organisations in the KYC and AML risk and compliance markets, heading up new business sales groups, and also holding responsibility at ExCo level for marketing, customer success and support.

LinkedIn Profile | Ed Lloyd

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