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Banks balance customer, compliance and cost pressures 

By Mary Filippelli, National Banking Sector Leader, KPMG in Canada.

Is it possible to deliver on three pressing priorities at the same time? That’s the question many banks are asking as they feel the pressure to simultaneously improve the customer experience, meet compounding regulatory requirements and reduce operating costs. The concept of ‘Customer-Centric Compliance’ and selective technology innovation may hold the key.


Balancing customer, compliance, cost

While every industry faces its own unique challenges, the banking sector certainly has a lot on its plate including costly regulations and savvy customers who are seeking an Amazon-like experience. Bankers must strengthen the customer experience and also respond to shareholder calls for operational efficiency to drive financial performance – all under the umbrella of ever-pervasive regulation.


Banks around the world are making progress on each of these three fronts, but how can they create equilibrium between the customer experience, regulatory compliance and operational excellence?


Customer-Centric Compliance describes this careful balancing act – where the customer must be at the heart of the decision-making process. To do this, financial institutions must better understand the voice of their customers, using all research at their disposal, and applying data modeling and analytics to decide how to best serve them. Technology innovation will play a key role. One example being online issues monitoring systems that follow and communicate key processes such as mortgage applications. These tools can perform double duty by identifying problems quickly and providing a useful audit trail to target future compliance improvements.


Progressive organizations are deeply examining client needs and plotting the customer journey to uncover inherent or potential risks, including compliance issues. They are then designing effective business controls with the impact to the customer at the forefront. By bringing compliance and customer objectives together “under one roof,” it is also possible to achieve greater efficiency, eliminate process redundancies and, ultimately, lower costs.


A pragmatic jumping off point for this type of convergence is to focus on one product area at a time and to identify a small number of key customer processes or journeys. By using multiple data sources and direct customer feedback, a bank can hone in on what customers most value, redesign the best process, and introduce controls to efficiently support the customer experience and compliance requirements.


By fine tuning their ability to apply principles of Customer-Centric Compliance, banks can create or even revamp products and processes that converge to satisfy customer, cost and compliance priorities.


  • Do you face multiple, and often conflicting, customer, compliance and efficiency goals?
  • Have you considered technology or process transformation to jointly satisfy customer, compliance and cost objectives?
  • What existing product lines or service areas could be suited to an end-to-end review of the customer experience, risk and operational efficiency?

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