BNY Mellon Takes a Six-Prong Approach to Digitization


There is no approach to digitize a financial institution more successful than a holistic manner, according to Roman Regelman, senior executive vice president, head of digital at BNY Mellon.

Often firms tend to create what Regelman refers to as “parallel banks,” which might be considered banks within banks when attempting to digitize their organizations.

They typically start off in outpost offices in London, Singapore, or other cities and have the familiar startup trappings, such as the ubiquitous ping-pong table.

“Things get off the ground pretty quickly,” he said during his keynote address at the recent Trading Show conference in Midtown Manhattan.

The 235-year-old institution decided to take a different route. The bank, instead, has adopted a holistic approach and established its Digital Council to improve performance on multiple fronts.

“We formed it since digitization is 50,000 people’s job,” said Regelman, “Every function within the bank has a representative on the Council.”

To reach this bank’s goal, Regelman has set out six core capabilities in which the firm has invested: client experience, data, cognitive solutions, innovation centers, partnerships, and delivery.

When BNY Mellon evaluated its onboarding processes across its enterprise, it managed to reduce the length of the process by half.

“Most of the time we are onboarding clients who already are on board,” he said. “We just are onboarding them again when they move to a new service.”

The bank also is improving its data processing and data management so that it can wring the most value from it.

The firm’s investment in artificial intelligence and machine learning has already paid off in streamlined operations, according to Regelman.

By applying AI to sort the 1 million client emails the operation team receives annually, by their content, the team only needs to address 10 percent of those emails manually.

When it comes to innovation centers, BNY Mellon expects them to understand new technologies, understand the bank’s processes, and eventually develop prototypes.

“Engaging clients in that process is critical,” he said. “Most people will stop there with a great looking space. The clients come in, have a tour, and after they leave the place is no longer contributive. For us, the innovation centers are where the stuff actually happens.”

As for partnerships, firms should not be leary in establishing relationships with ISVs, universities, and nonprofits, Regelman noted.

Delivery is the hardest of the capabilities to accomplish well, he added.

The bank created cross-functional teams to drive the process, exchange data, and cross-pollinate the various organizations.

“Digitization is not just about the technology; it is about a new way of thinking and a new way of working across the enterprise,” said Regelman.

Continued improvement in these six capabilities helps BNY Mellon streamline its products and services while driving the digitization’s benefits within the bank further, he added.

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