Nations Trust Bank has introduced several new platforms and features within its ecosystem in the last few years. All these platforms are focused on making every aspect of banking easily accessible for all. Now, they’re once again reimagining banking in Sri Lanka through their new ‘Nations Direct Self Onboarding Platform’ and speaking to us about its potential was Senior Vice President of Digital Banking and Acquisition at Nations Trust Bank, Randil Boteju.
The Nations Direct Self Onboarding Platform
‘Onboarding’ refers to a consumer signing up to get an account or services from a certain platform; in this case, Nations Trust Bank. The convenience brought on by the Nations Direct Self Onboarding Platform is undeniable – this new system automates the entire onboarding process. Consumers can then self onboard without disrupting their journey, wherever their online and physical presence may be.
Nations Trust Bank offers two types of digital onboarding processes: assisted and unassisted. The assisted onboarding process allows consumers to obtain any banking product digitally when they visit a Nations Trust Bank branch or when a bank representative visits the customer, conveniently.
Unassisted onboarding is what Nations Trust Bank is introducing through the Nations Direct Self Onboarding Platform. Through this new system, consumers will be able to open a Nations Trust Bank account from the comfort of their house from any device, not being restricted to a mobile app, as this new offering will be platform agnostic and eliminates the need to visit a branch to provide the necessary documentation. The Know Your Customer (KYC) process will be done digitally, and the account will be immediately activated upon completion.
While they plan to first offer the option to instantly create an account, the options to instantly self-onboard for all other products will also be provided subsequently. Naturally, they’ve also taken measures to ensure the safety of their consumers and transactions for all new features introduced.
The technology behind the self-onboarding system
When creating a bank account, you need to present documents proving your identity. These are cross-checked with the documents and details in the Registrar of Persons Department before the account is activated. With the Nations Direct Self Onboarding Platform having a fully automated onboarding process, this is done using Robotic Process Automation (RPA). When you enter your details on the Self Onboarding Platform, the Registrar of Persons Department checks, downloading details, and updating information is all done by software robots with the ability to launch and operate other software that was created and deployed by RPA.
The Self Onboarding Platform also uses Application Programming Interface (API) which is a connection between computers or between computer programs. It’s a type of software interface, offers a service to other pieces of software. It’s used for SMS and account creation, OTP validation, user profile creation, and updating multiple systems simultaneously. Through the use of RPAs and APIs Nations Trust Bank has sped up the whole process to the point it only takes around 8 minutes to complete from start to finish.
Nations Trust Bank’s journey in digital banking
Digital banking is an overarching term that refers to all forms of financial transactions taking place with the aid of technology. Meaning that online banking is an aspect of digital banking, but digital banking is more than online banking. The earliest form of digital banking began in the 1960s with the introduction of ATMs. Later in the 1990s, the earliest option of online banking was made available in western countries. Since then, the banking industry has improved in leaps and bounds.
Nations Trust Bank began their journey in implementing new technology for banking in Sri Lanka in 2017. At the time of these investments, they understood that investing in digital banking would be meaningless without knowledgeable staff. This led Nations Trust Bank to upskill their staff by providing them with the necessary training to handle the technology introduced. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, people were encouraged to social distance and avoid contact. During this time, Nations Trust Bank was able to leverage the foundation they built and offer consumers new features to help them continue their lifestyles.
A consumer-friendly banking ecosystem
In order to simplify banking, Nations Trust Bank has taken a step back and analyzed the digital world from their consumers’ point of view. They understood that their consumers are already accustomed to using various digital platforms and services. So they looked at how the digital world works and brought the banking processes to that to simplify the learning curve. In doing so they’ve reimagined the banking industry into one that’s much more consumer-friendly.
Nations Trust Bank has already created the option of mobile banking with the Nations Trust Mobile Banking app. They’ve also introduced FriMi, a lifestyle app that is the first step towards a higher level of digital convenience that consumers can enjoy. Now, with the Nations Direct Self Onboarding Platform, they’ll be adding another platform into their ecosystem that connects it all and enables you to experience any of their services from any platform the customer is comfortable.
The evolution of digital banking
According to Randil, banking as a whole has evolved and become more deeply ingrained in our lifestyle. And soon it will no longer be something special that requires travel or standing in a queue at all. That shift is already happening, with access to bank accounts being a few taps or clicks away on mobile devices or PCs.
“In the future, we won’t be competing with banks, but with day-to-day applications. We think banking will no longer be a specialized thing but rather a part of day-to-day life. The success of banking depends on how we can integrate banking into our consumers’ daily lives. That is the view we take on digital banking for the next 5 years,” says Randil.
Going forward, he also expects banking to be more about partnerships. Nations Trust Bank plans on partnering with different organizations through the use of their platforms. They’ll also be using APIs to facilitate various transactions. Considering that Nations Trust Bank is the first bank in Sri Lanka to use open APIs, the future is looking good for them.