18 Feb, 2019· read

Mitigating burn-out in the banking sector


In our last article we talked about mitigating the impact of the baby boomer generation retiring over the next 16 years and taking institutional knowledge and experience with them. One option is to utilise AI and intelligent automation platforms to capture knowledge and decision making and automate complex yet repetitive tasks where ever possible.

In reality the solution here isn’t to replace people but take on the so-called heavy lifting so that human thinking can focus on the more complex tasks. Effectively, a technical solution that forms part of the workforce – a software robot - creating capacity in the teams and making jobs more interesting. This could also be the case in the banking sector where there is a different problem looming.

As with the legal sector, many employees are leaving the banking sector but this is also about choice as much as retirement. The history of long-hours, high pressure, delayed gratification is taking its toll with employees burning or choosing to leave to join other industries with less of a macho image to ambition. The impact of this is being seen already as turnover is at a ten year high in the sector.

In 2017 Reuters estimated that some banks are incurring up to $1 billion dollars in costs per year to replace employees leaving voluntarily.

Clearly this is a significant cost that any business would prefer to avoid but there are other issues that will have a further knock on impact. Firstly, this is likely to drive a negative perception of working in the sector, and coupled with the poor image following the banking crisis, attracting talented individuals to a career in banking is likely to become more and more difficult.


Secondly, the high turnover means that people are regularly leaving organisations and taking experience and expertise with them. Less experienced staff have to turn to their more experienced colleagues for support, placing pressure on them and causing their work to deteriorate. This degradation in institutional knowledge can have a gradual but long lasting negative impact on the efficiency and effectiveness of processes and decision making, which will, in turn, effect quality of services and the satisfaction of the employees.

Staff continue to leave and, eventually, so do customers.

Businesses in the banking sector are developing strategies to combat these challenges and the use of new technologies can be a key part of this. Artificial intelligence and, in particular, intelligent automation now has the capability to capture knowledge and institutional decision making and use this to automate some tasks thereby allowing the human workforce to focus on the more complex, more valuable and more interesting tasks.

Let's take an example

Here at XR we worked with a financial institution to develop an intelligent automation solution for assessing credit risk. Basically, reviewing applications for credit and determining where fraud is likely and further investigation required.

An activity traditionally carried out in a specific team, often part of a contact centre, where a combined knowledge of policy rules, institution guidelines, the warning signs and historic examples is required. In reality, although complex, this is quite a repetitive and mundane task where getting through a high volume is key.

Using our intelligent automation platform, we were able to create a solution that read the application, applied policy rules, assessed data for patterns of fraud and engaged co-workers for further information where required. The output was to provide the team with a likelihood of fraud rating for every application so that they could then investigate further – i.e. do the interesting bit.

Using intelligent automation in this way has multiple benefits

  • Ensures speed, efficiency, consistency and quality into a task.
  • In turn, can improve customers service through speed of response, quality and consistency.
  • Changes in volumes (seasonal or unexpected) can be handled with minimal impact on delivery or quality.
  • Reduces demand on the human workforce.
  • Takes away the boring work so that employees can focus on the interesting stuff.
  • Captures institutional knowledge so that the issues of turnover are lessened.

Software robots working together with humans effectively takes on the heavy lifting, the high volume, repetitive activities, allowing the humans to do what they’re good at and what they enjoy – creating, innovating, solving problems and having fun!

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