James Bond, no doubt, would take a shine to Robotic Process Automation (RPA). After all, it’s high tech, accustomed to after-hours jobs, and with its advanced file transfer capabilities, helpful in solving a tough case.

Like 007, banks have had a lot thrown at them, especially since the passing of the USA Patriot Act in 2001 and the USA Freedom Act in 2015. Increased government regulation also includes strict security requirements that financial institutions must meet. Within the U.S. Department of the Treasury, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on the federal government’s foreign policy and national security goals, including tracking the financials of suspected terrorists.

On the banking operations side of the equation, this means downloading regularly, if not daily, the latest OFAC list of potential terrorists and other bad actors and cross-referencing that file with the company’s accountholder database to see if any new accounts were created under the listed names. As anyone in the field knows, bank operations managers have quite enough on their plates already. They must increase revenue while containing costs; deal with limited IT resources while competition is growing; balance daily accountholder demands with emergencies and special projects; and ensure constant production amidst economic unpredictability. Now managers have to add a high-maintenance, multi-step, non-business file transfer task to that pile of onerous demands? One with the critical urgency of national security?!

Wouldn’t it be nice if a bank’s operations manager had an RPA software tool to not only download the OFAC files every morning, but also open and run them through the banking system? Instead of a human being painstakingly looking up one name at a time in a file of possibly thousands, the RPA software downloads, opens, selects, enters, processes and flags (if necessary). All by itself, all day if needed… and always exact. The one thing it fails to do is include human error!

Like Legos, RPA software scripting allows you to simply pick the building blocks and put them in the order that you want and then carry out those commands. When you put a robot on the job, 100 percent perfection is attainable and at a much, much faster speed (10 times the human rate). Also, free of those mundane file transfers and other obligations, human resources can focus on all-important customer service and higher-level projects requiring human intelligence.

Banking operations and data management work, including file transfer needs like downloading reports from the FDIC and OFAC, aren’t getting any easier. With RPA software, operations managers and their staff can save time, money and headaches.