In response to the economic hardships faced by Canadian citizens and businesses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Minister of Finance contacted the heads of Canada’s largest banks to encourage flexibility in helping customers meet their financial obligations. At the same time, new government programs designed to bring economic relief were adding to a surge in demand for banking services.

The result was a need to manage rapidly the ever-increasing volume of requests for various services, including payment deferrals and loans, while reducing the burden on overstretched customer support teams dealing with unprecedented volumes.

One large Canadian bank turned to long-time partner CGI to develop process automation solutions that would enable it to fulfill its strong commitment to helping customers through financial hardship, while also increasing the quality and speed of services and reducing risks and costs.

Using automation to reinvent services with agility and speed

CGI and the bank quickly set to work on several process automation initiatives—all designed to be fast, efficient and cost-effective. Delivered through agile methodologies and remote teams made up of line of business and technology staff, CGI and the bank released several solutions that now automate the following services:

  • Mortgage deferrals: CGI developed a bot to analyze daily mortgage payments and identify customers who requested and qualified for payment deferrals. End-of-day reporting provides bank personnel with a clear view of successful transactions and exceptions. Developed and piloted in 76 hours, the bot processed 128,000 requests in its first eight weeks.
  • Enterprise loan applications: With the rollout of Canada’s Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Loan and Guarantee program, CGI helped the bank develop a bot to take information from customers’ online applications and automate the onboarding and setup of new loan applications. In addition, the bot manages the verification process, with exception reports generated for business review. Since deployment, the bots have helped the bank process 100,000 applications with a volume of 23,000 per week.
  • Wage subsidy payments: Through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS) program, employers facing economic hardships could apply for loans to avoid layoffs, rehire employees and create new jobs. CGI and the bank set to work to develop a solution to enable eligible small business customers to receive CEWS payments from the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA). Within a week, CGI helped design, integrate and implement a digital solution that collects customer information and consent and enables CRA to direct deposit payments, benefitting businesses with immediate payments versus lengthy check delivery and clearance processes.

The result of these initiatives is a huge uplift in alleviating back-office processes that avoids changes to complex mainframe applications, while increasing speed and accuracy that enables greater data integrity and frees up resources for strategic customer support.

Reinventing the future with intelligent automation

Banks and other industries around the world are responding to the pandemic by adopting intelligent solutions that help organizations rebound from new business realities and demands. As these businesses adapt, including in a post-pandemic world, automation will help industry leaders pivot services even better than before.

According to the CGI Client Global Insights, one of the top trends for banks prior to the pandemic was to become a digital organization to meet customer needs. As the partnership with this leading Canadian bank demonstrates—along with examples of other CGI bank, government and health clients—automation creates new digital services while improving speed and customer service and reducing costs.

The pandemic has highlighted the importance of the technology supply chain to manage organizations’ end-to-end value chain. As commercial and government organizations seek to build resiliency, automation will serve as a key business enabler to reduce high-cost and manual-intensive processes, enabling organizations to free up costs and talent to focus on the strategic aspects of reinventing the business.