PPP prompts offers of free automation solutions


CodeImage via Pixabay.com

The second round of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) launched this week and, following Google’s lead, BankLabs is offering a free tool to help automate aspects of that loan process.

Little Rock, Ark.-based BankLabs, which provides cloud-based banking solutions, is offering free access for a year to “Participate,” its loan participation automation platform. The platform is designed to help banks participate on PPP loans, said co-founder and President Matt Johnner.

A participation loan is made to a single borrower by multiple banks, allowing participating lenders to handle larger loans than they might normally be allowed to issue. Such loans can reduce banks’ balance sheets, enabling them to originate more loans.

“On PPP loans, we truly feel like that is just the part we can play. And we have revenue from other operations,” Johnner said. If after the free year banks want to continue using the tool, then BankLabs “will ask them to pay something, but [it’s] truly free for PPP, no strings attached,” he added.

The Participate cloud-based solution automates participation loans by allowing banks to upload the loan information and send a link to a partner bank. The partner bank can create a free account to access the loan information and decide whether to accept the deal. If the bank decides not to participate, the originating bank simply sends out another invitation, rather than manually printing and mailing new paperwork.

Already, about 60,000 PPP loan applications have been submitted by nearly 3,000 lenders during the first week of this PPP round, according to a U.S. Small Business Administration statement Tuesday. The SBA limited lender participation for Jan. 11 to 17, to community financial institutions that specialize in underserved communities and smaller lenders. As of Tuesday, the PPP has been open to all participating lenders.

Technology vendors are finding that PPP is good for business. Terry Renoux, head of Jack Henry Lending, told Bank Automation News Jack Henry has seen more interest in automation since the first round of PPP. The Monnet, Mo.-based tech company processed more than 70,000 loans with a total of $6.5 billion in PPP requests in the first round. Bluevine, a fintech lender based in Redwood, Calif., told BAN it has experienced nearly 600% customer growth since the first round of PPP loans.

This explosive growth has led to some vendors offering free services for PPP. Last May, Google offered its PPP Lending AI Solution for free. The three-part solution incorporated a web-based loan processing portal that allowed lenders to track application status; a document parser tool that provided structure for unstructured data; and a forecasting analytics tool for assessing risks within lenders’ portfolios.

Data aggregator Boss Insights also offered its PPP application for free on the condition FIs using it would fund business they hadn’t previously funded, Boss Insights CEO and founder Keren Moynihan told BAN. That strategy paid off for the Canada-based startup in the form of a Forbes article and a subsequent partnership with Oracle. Boss Insights last year participated in BAN’s sister accelerator program for financial services, INV Fintech, which connected the two companies.

“Oracle saw that listing and said, ‘We want a PPP platform to take to our clients. We’d like it by Friday,’” Moynihan said. “We said, ‘No problem.’ That was Monday at midday, and we did it.”

Bank Automation Ignite, taking place March 2-3, 2021 as a virtual experience, is the event for inspiring automation initiatives and investment in financial services. Formerly the Bank Innovation Ignite conference, this new focus creates an event where financial services professionals can discover new use cases and technologies that are accelerating automation in banking. Learn more and register for the event at www.BankAutomationIgnite.com.


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2021 Bank Automation Ignite returns as virtual experience


The fully virtual Bank Automation Ignite takes place March 2-3 and focuses on new use cases of automation

Bank Automation News is pleased to unveil the agenda for the refreshed Bank Automation Ignite virtual experience, which takes place March 2-3.

The event is will showcase new uses and innovative deployments of automation technology across financial services. Attendees can explore how industry leaders are driving cost-efficient solutions, while boosting customer experience and streamlining back-office functions.

Registration and session information are found at www.BankAutomationIgnite.com.

To recommend a speaker for this event, please fill out the call for speakers form here.

The 2021 agenda is built to educate attendees on the current and future states of automation within banking, and surface fresh ideas and strategies on a wide array of technologies and facilitators, including intelligent document processing, process discovery, RPA applications and bot deployment.

Bank Automation News is proud to bring back Ignite Ideas, highlighting innovative speakers who will share “Ted Talks” on topics of interest and passion to them and to banking automation. In addition, the DEMOvation Challenge will give an under-the-hood look at the newest technologies pushing the automation envelope.

Register here for the upcoming BA Ignite conference to learn how financial institutions are investing in automation amid the changing landscape of the banking industry.


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Welcome to Bank Automation News and the new era of banking technology


When Bank Innovation was launched back in 2009, our goal was to show banking executives how a digitized bank could make a traditional bank better, how a technology-driven strategy could transform satisfaction levels that had at the time – this was during the credit crisis – plunged to all-time lows.

We are proud to say that Bank Innovation not only showed banking the possibility of a technology revolution; we have witnessed it. The data validates the reality of digital banking all around us, as exemplified by the fact that 94% of consumers in a Federal Reserve survey said that they primarily used mobile banking over the past 12 months to check an account balance or recent transactions.

It is time for Bank Innovation to show banking the possibility of the next technology revolution.

And that revolution is automation.

Starting today, Bank Innovation will transition into Bank Automation News and will concentrate its news focus on the banking automation revolution that will transform financial services over the next 10 years.

There is no industry that is better suited for automation. Beyond the “relationship,” banking is but a business of numbers and data.

“Automation has become one of the main vehicles to assist the bank in maximizing revenue and minimizing costs,” said one respondent to the automation survey we conducted in the fall. “It has become somewhat of a priority for banks as customers are staying more at home and need to conduct business with as less friction as possible.”

This is not just talk. According to the survey, 64.5% of financial services executives say that “banking has embraced automation technology as a critical driver of operational excellence in the coming years.” Not one respondent to our survey on automation said that banks will reduce their investment in automation in the coming months – this despite a recession and an unemployment rate of 6.7%.

There is clear evidence that automation is already finding outsized success in product development. JP Morgan Chase & Co., for example, now offers Autosave, a new tool that automatically transfers funds to a Chase savings account, allowing customers to choose how much to save and how often to contribute to their savings goal. Total funds saved by users of the tool tripled year over year in 2020, and enrollment grew by 77% in November compared with the year prior, according to Chase.

Automation is also changing how mobile banking applications work. Green Dot is leveraging a partnership with Plaid to automatically integrate external payroll software within Green Dot’s new mobile app, called GO2bank. The integration will allow a customer to select their specific payroll provider on the GO2bank app, sign into their payroll account and click a button that allows them to move their direct deposit into the GO2bank account.

Finally, automation is fundamentally altering processes deep within banking organizations. TD Bank is working to improve integrations for its automated case-management system, which oversees security incident cases across the bank. The goal is to, through automation, change how TD shares data across different disciplines, including compliance, fraud prevention, or TD’s cybersecurity team, to yield better overall security results.

COVID has accelerated this shift to automation. The move to work-from-home has forced banks to seek out alternative automated solutions for various problems. Meanwhile, the urgency and scope of the Payroll Protection Program led many banks to look for automated processing options, beyond what they previously had deployed.

According to McKinsey, some 88% of finance and insurance executives and 76% of information and technology executives reported increased implementation of automation and artificial intelligence – automation’s enabler — since the outbreak. Further, among executives of companies that moved most of their employees to remote work during the pandemic, 80% said they had increased automation, while only 51% of executives from companies that adopted remote work for just a few employees said automation had grown.

We have little doubt that the 80% will drive the 51% to eventually seek out more automated solutions.

Beyond the numbers, there are common-sense reasons for our concentration on automation. Automation improves customer experience, execution and operational efficiency. It will also improve inter-company operations, making for faster AP and AR, reduced risk and greater product development possibilities. We are, without a doubt, entering an era of new possibilities for financial services, where service to a customer goes beyond want to need, even when that “need” is not even known to the customer. At that point, the financial institution goes beyond just basic banking services, to customer care of a deeper and lasting nature. And that, in turn, will ensure the viability of the banking industry for decades to come.

Practically, the new Bank Automation News will track down the new initiatives and ideas that are defining the automation revolution. Bank Automation News will offer breaking news coverage on automation initiatives. We will also include a Center of Excellence, in true automation form, that will share the “how” of automation, which will include strategy, automation resources, and sample processes. All three of the former Bank Innovation events will transition to automation, starting with the Bank Automation Ignite summit, on March 2-3, and at which attendees will discover new use cases and technologies that are accelerating automation in banking.

And that is just the start. Like true technologists, we will continuously look to enhance, improve and advance Bank Automation News as a crucial resource to your technology development. We look forward to charting this automation revolution and we invite to you explore the possibilities of banking automation with us. In short, welcome to Bank Automation News.


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Automating the money experience: The future of banking and fintech


Although digital banking has existed for decades, it’s too often felt like a chore. People have to track every expense they make, manually categorize their transactions, endlessly tweak their budgets, sort through indecipherable transaction descriptions, and so on.

Fortunately, today’s data-driven machine learning and artificial intelligence have enabled something entirely different from yesterday’s digital banking tools. Backed by stable whitelisted or API/OAuth connections, automated categorization rates of over 97%, and algorithms that know how to put all of this data to use, we’re seeing a transition from cumbersome money management to a comprehensive money experience.

The money experience is an easy way to digitally connect, view, and interact with money. Customers get automated nudges in an intelligent and personalized financial feed, creating an experience that’s as unique as shopping on Amazon, streaming on Spotify, or driving a Tesla. Since every interaction is built on aggregated and enhanced data, every interaction fits the individual it’s meant for. And it’s all automated.

The benefits of this money experience extend to bankers as well. For bankers, this automated approach to banking is about gaining access to clean, dynamic, and permission-based data. With a 360-degree view of each customer, you can understand what your competitors are doing and adapt accordingly. Just like the experience for your customers, everything is simple, streamlined, and automated.

Why does this transition to the money experience matter?

Here are three reasons.

  1. The money experience transforms financial services companies from intermediaries to advocates. Instead of using banking as a way transactional relationship — which puts you at risk of being replaced by whatever company offers better service down the road — you turn banking into something that is outcome oriented. As your customers see you improving their financial strength, they’ll be more likely to stick with your organization in the long term.
  2. The money experience sets the foundation for a true data transformation. By building on a robust data initiative today, you’ll start the data flywheel needed to succeed tomorrow. The more data you get, the more intelligent and personalized products you’ll be able to build, and the more users you’ll onboard, which will in turn bring in new data and start the beneficial cycle again. Put simply, aggregated and enhanced data pave the way for new avenues in digital banking — all while setting you up as a trusted source in the space.
  3. The money experience frees you up to expand in other areas. Automated banking means that you can have more and more of your employees pivot to relationship building and complicated processes that can’t yet be replicated by an algorithm. In this way, automation is ultimately more human than the manual approach to digital banking has been.

As is the case in a range of industries — from shopping to music to driving — the future belongs to organizations that use data to build intelligent and personalized experiences.


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Manufacturers group says Cabinet should consider removing Trump


U.S. business leaders denounced Donald Trump for inciting supporters who mobbed the U.S. Capitol, with the head of the National Association of Manufacturers saying Vice President Mike Pence should “seriously consider” working with the Cabinet to remove the president from office.

Jay Timmons, head of the lobbying group that backed many of Trump’s initiatives, raised the prospect of invoking the 25th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to cut short Trump’s remaining days in office. President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn into office on Jan. 20.

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a “Save America Rally” near the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2021. Trump’s months-long effort to toss out the election results and extend his presidency will meet its formal end this week, but not without exposing political rifts in the Republican Party that have pitted future contenders for the White House against one another. Photo via Bloomberg.

“Throughout this whole disgusting episode, Trump has been cheered on by members of his own party, adding fuel to the distrust that has inflamed violent anger,” Timmons said in a statement on Wednesday. “This is not law and order. This is chaos. It is mob rule. It is dangerous. This is sedition and should be treated as such.”

The 25th Amendment outlines a process in which a president “who is unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office” can be removed and replaced by the vice president.

Other business groups and leaders condemned the rioting, as law enforcement regained control of the Capitol on Wednesday evening.

Read More: Dimon Condemns Trump Mobs as Wall Street Looks On in Horror

JPMorgan Chase & Co. Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon called for the violence at the Capitol to end. Although he didn’t single out Trump by name, he said, “Our elected leaders have a responsibility to call for an end to the violence, accept the results and, as our democracy has for hundreds of years, support the peaceful transition of power.”

Similarly, Larry Fink, CEO of BlackRock Inc., condemned “in the strongest possible terms the violence at our Capitol today.”

“The peaceful transfer of power is the foundation of our democracy,” Fink said in a statement. “We are who we are as a nation because of our democratic institutions and process.”

Wells Fargo & Co. CEO Charles Scharf urged “an immediate end to this violence. We must embark on the peaceful transition of power to President-elect Biden, a hallmark of our republic,” he said in a statement.

Other business leaders who decried the spasms of violence in Washington included two Michigan-based CEOs: General Motors Co.’s Mary Barra and Jim Fitterling of Dow Inc.

Barra, who normally shies away from commenting on political matters, said in a tweet that “violence at the U.S. Capitol does not reflect who we are as a nation.” Fitterling, who has taken a public stance on social issues such as LGBTQ rights, tweeted “those leaders upholding their oath and our nation’s ideals — we stand with you.”

Earlier: Capitol Secured After Mob’s Breach, Paving Way to Resume Debate

The Business Roundtable, a lobbying group for top chief executives, called on Trump and “all relevant officials to put an end to the chaos and to facilitate the peaceful transition of power.”

“The chaos unfolding in the nation’s capital is the result of unlawful efforts to overturn the legitimate results of a democratic election,” the group said. “The country deserves better.”

Tom Donohue, CEO of the powerful U.S. Chamber of Commerce, said Congress should “gather again this evening to conclude their Constitutional responsibility to accept the report of the Electoral College.”

Hours after Trump’s supporters broke into the Capitol, the president posted a short video on Twitter praising their embrace of his false claims of election fraud but asking them to “go home.” Pence, who had been presiding over the certification, tweeted that “The violence and destruction taking place at the US Capitol Must Stop and it Must Stop Now.”

Twitter later said it would lock Trump’s account for 12 hours.

(Updates with reaction from Barra, Fitterling, starting in 10th paragraph.)

– By Ben Brody (Bloomberg)

– With assistance from Annie Massa, Daniel Taub and Chester Dawson (Bloomberg)


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Movers and shakers: Notable December hires in fintech and
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