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Running a bank’s or credit union’s data operations can sometimes feel like riding on one wheel in a hurricane: there’s so much swirling around you, making balance difficult to achieve. Confronting a data emergency can be like adding an earthquake to that already challenging mix. A bank operations manager and his or her team need every advantage when facing such a unique challenge.

When data crises arise, financial institutions are increasingly leveraging Robotic Process Automation (RPA) software to save the day in terms of time, money and customer satisfaction. Let’s look at a few common scenarios that RPA can effectively address:

Braving a Breach

Data breach recovery is the No. 1 emergency for operations teams at banks and other financial institutions. No other data crisis can be so insidious and pervasive. In fact, identity theft was the top consumer complaint for 15 years running, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). During a data breach, the financial institution must make sure the execution of its recovery road map is swift and standardized for customer protection and satisfaction.

Here are a few steps proactive banks and credit unions can take to protect their accountholders after a big breach:

  1. Query Customer Accounts for Potential Fraudulent Purchases: With the latest data automation software, like RPA, financial institutions can scan customer accounts for transactions at the retailers in question, during the time period in question, and flag them.
  2. Adjust Spending Limits: If an accountholder’s card is flagged, the next step should be to immediately reduce the account’s spending limits as a precautionary measure.
  3. “Hot Card” the Compromised Accounts: RPA allows you to quickly identify the accounts, go into each one and then flag and cancel them.
  4. Get New Cards to Customers Fast: Data automation software can easily complete the reissue task that traditionally would have taken up to five employees more than 16 hours to complete.
  5. Notify Customers: An informed customer is usually a happy one. While a bank or credit union can’t prevent all data breaches, they can control how accountholders view their operations in the aftermath.

Weathering the Storm

While it can seem that severe storms and natural disasters are relatively rare occurrences, around 50 percent of all businesses have experienced them to the degree that it interrupted operations. Time is money, including downtime. In fact, according to one source, the average small business incurs a loss of approximately $8,000 per hour; medium-sized businesses between $74,000 and $90,000 per hour; and large corporations can take a hit of $700,000 to $800,000 per hour for downtime.

Hurricane Sandy was the second costliest storm in U.S. history. During that difficult disaster recovery in 2012, northeastern businesses needed to update data from remote sites and encountered issues getting accounts refreshed on back-up systems. Believe it or not, the IT department of one RPA customer only required less than half of one day to update its data.

Fast Fix

Error resolution — whether for data entry or during a system conversion — is a common application for data automation tools. In fact, one bank was faced with such a situation in its back-office when a holiday was input incorrectly into its core system. To quickly resolve the issue and avoid customer dissatisfaction, RPA software was used to remove thousands of concerning account posts. Through the use of the data automation tool, the process was complete in about 30 minutes without the bank’s customers becoming any the wiser. This same institution also has several different RPA scripts it can run daily with an estimated savings of three to four people.

Additionally, at an RPA conference one attendee recently returned to his company’s operations department with 62 unique use cases for the “automated employee.” The robot successfully serves financial institutions’ day-to-day data needs, but its fast functionality makes it particularly valuable during a banking emergency.