Automation of document management, scoring and transaction analysis in VestaBank

Reduce the time and cost of processing applications in order to improve services for small and middle-sized businesses.

With the ELMA BPM Platform, the bank’s experts implemented the main document management processes of the bank, created an electronic document archive and a unified customer database.
A month into the project, the bank automated its main process – opening a settlement account. The team configured KPIs, integrated the BPM system with the core banking system, external resources, databases, a web service for verifying contractors, social media, and messengers.

VestaBank has reduced the time and the number of steps required to open a settlement account. Now it takes up to 53 minutes and the customer has to make 23 actions (filling in one field in a form is counted as one action). The cost of the process has reduced and the customer experience has improved.

Automation reduced the staff by six FTEs and increased the number of applications to 20 thousand per month. By implementing a KPI system and monthly reporting, the bank has managed to improve schedule compliance and reduced the number of errors.

We have met with Alexander Pekin, the Head of Business Process Development of VestaBank, to discuss the role that process management and BPMS play in the company’s growth.
Banking services
66 business processes
80+ users
Have been using ELMA since 2016
53 minutes to open a settlement account
700 000 rubles saved per month due to reducing manual operations

Take a tour

– According to the latest Markswebb rating, VestaBank is one of the top banks in Moscow and Saint Petersburg in customer experience in opening a settlement account, as well as in offering the best rates for small business. What makes it possible?

Alexander Pekin: VestaBank achieved success on its own. Unlike many large banks, we do not have state financing. We do not count on the brand but on the low cost of the product and the best possible services for entrepreneurs. The average time for opening a settlement account in VestaBank is 53 minutes.
In other banks, a client can wait for up to a month to complete an operation or has to visit the office four times in order to fill in all the documents. That is not how we do things. For us, it is important that people do not waste time waiting in queues.

– How do you manage to reduce the cost and processing time?

Alexander Pekin: We are very careful with any expenses and try to make the most of technologies. Our latest IT-projects aimed at optimization of internal processes allowed us to significantly expand the customer database to 6-7 thousand companies. We open many accounts and are expanding to other regions. We have eight branch offices and are now opening four more.

– What is important for you when choosing software?

Alexander Pekin: The price and the speed of implementation. I can tell you what many companies do when buying an IT solution: the managers spend a lot of time selecting the tool, then purchase millions worth of licenses and then the company spends a couple of years finishing and customizing the tool without having any return on investment. We, on the other hand, have precise control over our investments: we opt for software that can be set up quickly and give fast results. Such an approach allows us to keep the lowest prices on the market.

– What software systems are you using?

Alexander Pekin: The two main systems are the CFT banking system and ELMA BPM. Talking about quick implementation – it took us only a month to automate the first and the most important process in ELMA.

– At what point did the bank’s management decided to implement ELMA?

Alexander Pekin: Originally, processes played an important role in the business, although we didn’t call it BPM at that time. We had always known that it was important to set up working processes with no attachment to specific persons. We implemented ELMA at the point when we were expanding our customer database. As the number of tasks grew, we thought about attracting new employees. However, we did not want to hire too many people, so we started to look for an IT solution that could help us scale up the business.

– What were your criteria for choosing the system?

Alexander Pekin: We looked for simplicity of implementation and it was important that the developers were open for communication.
We did not consider software that required people with specific expertise to set it up. After analyzing the BPMS market, we chose ELMA BPM. This system has a detailed Help, simple video tutorials, and many partner companies. ELMA Community gives access to a lot of useful information and best practices.

– Did you carry out the implementation project on your own?

Alexander Pekin: Yes, we did it ourselves. We started by automating document management: contract approval, reference documentation database, electronic document archive, processing of inquiries from regulatory authorities.
Then we launched the Open Settlement Account process with automatic scoring and transaction analysis. Later we integrated ELMA with other IT solutions.

– Could you please tell us more about that?

Alexander Pekin: The system acts as a full-fledged process bus in the bank’s IT infrastructure. Now it handles the operation of CFT, collects data from different sources. For example, it interacts with Blinger, a messenger aggregator. We are now linking ELMA with Contour-Focus, a web service for checking contractors. We are planning to configure interaction between ELMA and SMEV, a unified system for interdepartmental electronic interactions.
Very soon, entrepreneurs will be able to make applications simply be sending data to Telegram or WhatsApp. The data will be transferred to ELMA and then to Contour-Focus and to the core banking system. At the end, an invoice will be formed, and the system will notify the customer via a messenger or SMS. Apart from that, we are thinking about automating the input of customers’ personal data. At the latest conference, ELMA demonstrated such a possibility.

It was important that the developers were open for communication.

– What other tools do you use?

Alexander Pekin: We have created a mature KPI system: we see how our employees are performing on their tasks. For every completed task, employees receive bonus points. ELMA registers these points, sums them up and creates reports allowing us to have a clear picture of how the company works.
The departments can see the statistics on their processes and immediately act upon it. We are able to discover the bottlenecks in our processes and correct them in order to get the maximum benefit.

– Who are the main system users? Those employees, who work directly with the customers?

Alexander Pekin: The entire bank works in ELMA, both the front office and the back office. All approvals, document review, and escalation of certain issues are handled in ELMA. The financial monitoring services are also switching to ELMA.

– What are your plans for development?

Alexander Pekin: We want to work on process maturity and reduce the number of manual operations. Now, when making a decision on an application, an employee thinks, “Shall I approve the application and open the account? Are there any risks?” This might seem to require analysis and critical thinking, but the employee actually follows a certain algorithm. Soon we will automate it and it will probably be easier to identify risky cases.

In two months, we compensated expenses for purchasing ELMA and started to gain profit.

– Did you encounter any difficulties when you started working with the new tool?

Alexander Pekin: I used to work in consulting in another bank. There, we implemented expensive software from foreign vendors that was difficult to configure because it required developers with specific expertise and many financial resources. There were issues with maintenance, too. Whenever we worked on some improvements and adjustments, by the time they were done, they would already be outdated.
ELMA is more flexible in both process development and maintenance. I remember once writing to tech support of a foreign vendor, “When I do this and this, an error appears”. After four hours, they replied, “It’s simple. Don’t do it, and there will be no error”. I have never received such replies from the ELMA team.

– How did your employees react to ELMA?

Alexander Pekin: Of course, there was a transition period, but it went well. In two months, we integrated ELMA with the core banking system; it took the workload off the employees and helped them get used to the new system.

– Do the employees participate in process improvement?

Alexander Pekin: Yes, actively. They saw that making changes and adding features in ELMA is simple, unlike in, for example, CFT, where it’s difficult and expensive. The employees are getting more and more involved; on average, we implement 5-6 updates each week.
Another great advantage of ELMA is that the managers can easily receive feedback from the users, customers, and partners, and therefore cancel any unsuccessful updates and further develop the successful ones.

– What is the average time for developing one process?

Alexander Pekin: It usually takes about three weeks from an idea to actual operation.

– Can you give us an example of the latest improvements that you have made?

Alexander Pekin: We automated monitoring of time limits for application processing. If after ten minutes from the moment a customer sends in an application, the application is not processed and no one calls the customer back, the task is escalated to the vice-president of the board.

– That is a pretty demanding timeline.

Alexander Pekin: Yes, therefore everyone tries to be efficient. We can see if applications, contracts or memos are stuck on one person. Now schedule compliance is transparent and the results are stable. We contact our customer in ten minutes. In another ten minutes, we give them the number of their account. I know that in some banks this procedure takes from 4 to 20 hours even with express charges.

– Speaking of results, what problems have you solved with ELMA?

Alexander Pekin: Due to the process approach and the technologies that we have implemented, VestaBank has been receiving high ratings on product cost and service rate. For example, in their latest study, Markswebb evaluated how many actions a customer has to make in order to open a settlement account in a bank. We were rated second with only 23 actions, all thanks to the integration of ELMA with messaging applications and automation of data capture. State banks require the customer to do a lot more: the form has to be filled out by hand in two copies and then brought into the bank’s office.
Another great result of the project is the possibility to scale the system and to cut costs. Decreased amount of time for verification, scoring, and data entry makes processes less expensive; therefore, we can process more applications. Comparing to the prior period, in this period the number of accounts opened each month has grown by 77%.

– Has ELMA proved to be cost-efficient for your business?

Alexander Pekin: In a state bank, the procedure of opening a settlement account involves a thousand people. In VestaBank, it is only a few dozens. In the nearest time, we will retire six FTEs. This will save us 700 000 rubles each month.

– What would you recommend to those companies that are now considering implementing the process management approach and a BPMS?

Alexander Pekin: It is very simple. You cannot expand your business without BPM. You can only scale and grow something that has been described and, ideally, automated. A friend from school owns a popular restaurant network in Moscow. It used to be just one restaurant, but after implementing the process approach, they have grown to 30 restaurants all over Moscow.
It is thought that implementing a BPMS takes a lot of time and money. In fact, you can spend more time discussing the implementation than actually setting up the system. Speaking of prices, ELMA’s licensing is very flexible, and you can develop simple processes by yourself, free of charge. Today it is important to not only provide a quality product, but to do it fast. My advice is to experiment more and try new things all the time.

In a state bank, the procedure of opening a settlement account involves a thousand people. In VestaBank, it is only a few dozens.