There’s no denying it: The past few years have been incredibly turbulent for financial services organizations. The stresses of navigating an uncertain economy, dealing with staff shortages, and operating on limited budgets have taken a toll on finserv professionals.
Further adding to the stress? Client demands are growing. The last few years have created rapid changes across all areas of financial services, but few things have accelerated as quickly as the need for digital customer experiences. A Temenos survey of 4,700 banking customers worldwide found that 65% prefer to use a mobile banking app versus going into a branch. Gone are the days when it was acceptable to require people to fill out stacks of paper forms when taking out loans or setting up an account. Clients want fast, easy access to the services they need, from online account creation and credit card applications to loan approvals and invoicing.
Despite this, financial services organizations are struggling to deliver digitization fast enough. It’s no surprise, given the challenges faced by the industry. A digital paradox has arrived—forcing finserv orgs to deliver innovation with skeleton crews and tight budgets.
Yet institutions like Lenderfit, Great Plains Brokerage, Tri Counties Bank, and America’s Christian Credit Union are doing just that. How? Through the power of automated finance workflows. Megan explains:
This guide provides real-life examples from these organizations that show how they are simplifying financial process automation to better address the needs of clients and employees. Get step-by-step guidance for building efficient digital processes that can power all areas of your financial services organization.
The Power of Financial Process Automation
Before we dive into the workflow examples, let's review why it's important for financial institutions to implement digitization and automation.
When potential clients want to visit your branch or connect with a representative, they expect seamless experiences with quick responses. The same goes for your current clients when they want to apply for a loan or need help with a policy. If you require them to fill out lengthy paperwork, manually enter data they've likely provided before, and wait for a response, you create negative experiences that impact customer retention.
And clients aren't the only ones who expect digital innovation and ease. Employees are just as likely to want digital-first experiences that eliminate paper pushing. Whether they work in HR, client services, sales, or marketing, employees want to be free from manual work and paper processes.
In fact, our State of Digital Maturity report found that 72% of workers think inefficient processes negatively impact their job. When organizations lack digitization and automation, employees report higher levels of frustration, stress, and dissatisfaction. They end up devoting their time to mindless, repetitive tasks instead of more strategic, fulfilling, and impactful work. How much time exactly? An average of two hours per day, according to our research.
But the negative impacts of manual work don't stop there. Just one employee wasting two hours per day on inefficient tasks costs your organization about $14,560 a year. The average industrial banking institution in the U.S. has over 85 employees, which means this can add up to more than $1.2 million. Is there room in your budget for that labor cost?
The best news is that automating your workflows doesn't require a massive budget, timeline, or IT team. All you need is the right technology and a bit of guidance. That's what this guide is here to provide.
How to Automate Financial Processes
Every team across your organization can reap the benefits of financial workflow management, from client services and sales to marketing and HR. With a tool like Formstack, you can easily build fully automated financial workflows that address the evolving needs of clients and employees.
The Formstack Platform empowers anyone at your institution to achieve more in less time. With digital forms, document generation, and eSignature collection, you can create solutions and automate busywork in one easy-to-use visual workflow builder. From completing daily tasks to creating organization-wide systems and processes, you can build the workflows you need without relying on IT or needing to know how to code.
We specialize in helping financial services organizations streamline their processes and take control of their data management across teams and departments. Here’s how to use Formstack to automate some of the most common financial services workflows.
Workflow Tip: You can build seamless, automated Salesforce workflows with Formstack for Salesforce, an all-in-one form, document, and signature solution for your existing ecosystem.
7 Examples of Workflow Automation in Financial Services
You don’t have to waste countless hours each week copying and pasting data, preparing paperwork, searching for files, sending emails, and entering data. By implementing the financial services workflows below, you can save around 14 hours per week.
What can you do with all that extra time? Focus on impactful work that improves not only your workday but the lives of thousands of customers and employees. Let’s get started.
#1: Digital Loan Applications
Loan applications are known to be long, cumbersome, and complicated. Paper applications can cause data inaccuracies and bottlenecks, while legacy applications can be slow and require maintenance by IT. Use this no-code finance workflow process to securely gather financial information and quickly process new loan applications. Offer customers an excellent digital experience, eliminate manual data entry, and ensure top-notch security.
Products: Forms · Documents · Sign
Features: Portals · Smart Lists · Dynamic Document Creation
Templates: Loan Agreement · Authorization for Automatic Payment Form · Income Driven Repayment Plan Request Form
Optional Integrations: SharePoint · ShareFile
Step 1: Customer Inquiry and Application
New or current customers can easily inquire about loan options, processes, and applications from a lead form on your website or within your mobile app. Upon form submission, data routing can automatically alert the right loan officer depending on loan region, type, or size. When ready to apply, the customer can find all the forms needed within an organized portal, which will send them automated alerts on deadlines. The loan officer can easily see where each form is in the process to avoid inundating the customer with email check-ins.
Workflow Tip: Use Smart Lists to quickly manage long, evolving lists of field options across all your forms. This is great for listing branch locations, loan officers, loan offerings, and more.
Step 2: Application Review and Approval
Use Workflows to assign different people, teams, and departments to review and approve loan application details. Field Validation ensures common fields—like credit cards, emails, and phone numbers—are verified in real-time, minimizing data errors and inaccuracies. If further information or edits are needed from the customer, the form can be sent back to them with clear instructions. Upon final internal approval, connect your forms to Formstack Documents to automatically generate customized, secure loan documentation.
Step 3: Loan Documentation, eSignature, and Storage
With document data routing, you can automatically combine files into one document or create several types of documents from a single data source. Easily create professional, branded documents with top-notch security features, such as secure downloads, data encryption, and firewall technology. Use Formstack Sign to gather secure electronic signatures from employees and customers via email and text or in the office. Receive a signature audit trail for each document so you can see who signed a document and exactly when they signed it. Upon collecting all signatures, automatically send finalized documents to your preferred document storage solution.
#2: New Customer Onboarding and Welcome
With an average customer attrition rate of 15% and a cost of $500 to acquire a new customer, financial service providers must make smart, strategic decisions when welcoming new clients. Quickly engage with prospects and make new customers feel welcomed with this new customer onboarding and welcome workflow. Automate every step of this finance workflow process, from initial inquiry to signing agreements.
Products: Forms · Documents · Sign
Features: Conditional Logic · Themes and CSS · Electronic Document Signing
Templates: New Customer Registration Form · New Customer Welcome Letter · Customer Satisfaction Survey
Optional Integrations: Salesforce · Microsoft Dynamics · Lob
Step 1: New Customer Form Submission and Review
Create beautiful, branded online lead forms that embed easily on your website and are fully mobile-optimized. Make it incredibly simple for prospects to do business with your bank, credit union, or insurance agency by eliminating complicated PDFs and slow paperwork. Use Conditional Logic to only ask necessary questions, which improves the customer experience and creates a shorter form. If certain criteria need to be met to become a member, use Approvals to allow for member application review and approval.
Workflow Tip: If you’re a Salesforce user, consider using this workflow with our native Salesforce tool, Formstack for Salesforce, which combines forms, documents, and eSignatures into your existing ecosystem.
Step 2: Welcome Packet and Letter
Providing the best initial experience turns new customers into long-term advocates of your business. Personalize a customer welcome packet with the new customer’s information by connecting Formstack Forms to Documents. Automatically generate final documentation, like compliance disclosures or member agreements, and personalize marketing materials. To really make an impact, consider mailing a welcome letter with some helpful information as well.
Step 3: Customer Agreement Sign-off and Survey
Financial service organizations have a lot of regulations and compliance standards to meet. If onboarding a new customer includes getting their sign-off, it’s easy to add secure electronic signature fields to your documents. Upon return of the onboarding materials, you can automatically add new customer information to your CRM through one of our many integrations. After 30 days, consider sending a customer satisfaction survey to ensure your products and services are meeting expectations.
#3: Quote Proposals
The insurance market is incredibly competitive, and consumers expect quick and excellent service. In fact, J.D. Power found that auto insurance buyers are eight times more likely to shop around for a new provider after a poor service experience. Use this quote proposal workflow to ensure prospects are contacted quickly, sent an accurate and clear quote within hours, and able to easily sign documents from their computer or mobile device.
Products: Forms · Documents · Sign
Features: Calculating Fields · File Uploads · Document Data Encryption
Templates: Request a Quote Form · Proposal Document Template
Optional Integrations: Excel · Airtable
Step 1: Quote Inquiry and Follow-Up
Add a mobile-optimized form to your website or mobile app to allow prospects to request an insurance quote. Use UTM Tracking and Partial Submissions to provide the marketing team with valuable insights that can increase conversions. Upon submission, the prospect will receive an automated follow-up email that includes information about their specific insurance rep, next steps, and a timeline.
Step 2: Quote Creation and Documentation
Upon submission of the quote request, data routing can send the prospect’s information to the correct rep, which will kick off a Workflow to begin the quote process. A more in-depth form can be sent directly to the prospect or filled out by the rep during a phone call. Calculating Fields can be included on the form to easily create cost estimations and perform financial analysis.
Workflow Tip: Skip cutting, pasting, copying, and typing data into documents and automatically generate quote proposals by connecting your form to Formstack Documents.
Step 3: Proposal Review and Signing
Upon completion of the proposal, the insurance rep can electronically sign the document. Formstack Sign’s multiple participant workflow will then automatically send the work order document to any other employees who need to review the proposal before sending it to the prospect. Automate text or email reminders to ensure the prospect signs off on the document within a specific window of time. If on-site document signing is preferred, the document can be signed in person by both parties from a mobile device.
#4: Client Agreements and Payments
If your organization provides wealth management services, it’s important to have a secure workflow in place for client onboarding. Giving clients a seamless experience that runs efficiently in the back end—from signing the agreement to collecting initial fees—is an absolute must. This finance workflow process takes minimal time to set up and can integrate with your most-used systems, ensuring accurate data is sent quickly to the correct people and places.
Products: Forms · Documents · Sign
Features: PCI Compliant Forms · CRM Document Generation · Digital Signature Security
Templates: Client Information Form · Sales Contract · Credit Card Payment Form
Optional Integrations: Authorize.Net · Pardot · Salesforce Marketing Cloud
Step 1: New Client Data Collection
Financial advising and wealth management require gathering a lot of data and information from your clients. Creating a great initial experience is crucial to starting out on the right foot. Formstack’s secure online forms make it easy to create an exceptional form experience that won’t frustrate or confuse your clients. The drag-and-drop, no-code builder makes it easy for any employee to create a robust form within minutes. Adding features like Conditional Logic, Save and Resume, and File Uploads ensures you can collect all the data you need safely and securely while providing clients a streamlined, shortened form they can complete on their own time.
Workflow Tip: Integrate this form with your CRM to eliminate manual data entry and automate other customer welcome and onboarding steps.
Step 2: Agreement Creation and Signing
Use a Workflow alongside your onboarding form to send the collected data to all internal parties who need to review and approve the data submission. If there is ever a question or more information needed, a request can be sent to the client through the workflow. Upon approval, the form data can automatically generate a customized client agreement document to be signed by the financial institution and client. Once all signatures are collected, the documents can be automatically sent to your document storage solution or CRM.
Step 3: Initial Payment and Referral Offer
Few people want to mail in a check or request a wire transfer to pay for their initial deposit. Please your customers and simplify back-end processing by providing an online payment method. Add your preferred payment processor to an online payment form to gather secure payments or even set up recurring payments in seconds. Once your relationship with your new client is established, you can share a referral form with your client to help secure more business.
#5: Client Info Change Request
Whether it's a name change for a credit card or a needed update on an insurance policy, handling change requests from clients is an inevitable task for finserv orgs. Managing these requests can become complicated and confusing without a strong process in place. Your employees already have a lot on their hands—simplify their workday with this streamlined system for client change requests. Easily track new requests, generate signable documents, and receive updates when requests are complete.
Step 1: Change Request Submission
Streamline change requests by creating an easy-to-use client info change request form with the help of drag and drop. Use Conditional Logic to ask questions that are tailored to the specific type of request. Add a file upload section so clients can upload any necessary documents, such as proof of address. The form can be embedded on your website or client portal so clients can easily fill it out from a laptop, tablet, or phone.
Step 2: Request Documentation and Assignment
Use Approvals with the change request form to ensure all data needed to process a request is collected. If further details are required or the request is invalid, the approver can deny the form submission or send it back to the submitter for more details. Once approved, data from the form can be routed into a request document and sent to the team members responsible for the specific change being requested.
Step 3: Final Sign-Off
Upon completion of the request, the appropriate team member can sign off on the change. Formstack Sign’s multiple participant workflow will then automatically send the request document to the client for eSignature to confirm completion of the request. Automate text or email reminders to ensure the client signs off on the document within a specific window of time.
Workflow Tip: Confirm when a document was sent, how it was sent, and when it was signed with Formstack Sign’s automatic audit trails.
#6: Marketing/Sales Lead Capture
Finserv marketers can improve client acquisition by creating campaigns that generate more interest in what their organization can offer. One way to do this is by offering a monthly email newsletter. A newsletter can be an easy, simple way to connect with prospective clients online and showcase your financial expertise. It can also help you gather valuable data on engagement and find opportunities to further improve your marketing and services. Here’s a look at how you can set up a newsletter signup workflow on your website.
Step 1: Form Optimization
To ensure your newsletter campaign is successful, you need to optimize your signup form for maximum conversions. Enhance your mobile-friendly newsletter signup template by pairing it with the Conversion Kit. Tools like Field Bottlenecks can help you identify problem areas and discover opportunities for improvement. You can add your branding with easy-to-use design tools, embed the form directly on your website, and generate links that can be sent via email.
Step 2: List Building
Connect your signup form to email marketing platforms like Mailchimp, Campaign Monitor, or AWeber to quickly build a newsletter email list. Details like name and email address can be added to your system for easy reference when analyzing your lists or looking for opportunities to include contacts in new email campaigns. You can even include a question like “What topic/s are you most interested in?” to better inform your newsletter and identify which campaigns may be most effective on different contacts.
Step 3: Data Analysis
As you build your newsletter list over time, you can do data analysis on your signup form to pull out helpful insights on your audience. Easily access an analytics dashboard that lets you view metrics like unique views, conversion rate, and abandonment rate. You can also include your data in custom visual reports and graphs that can be shared with other members of your team. If you want even more data insights, connect your form to Google Analytics for deeper analysis.
Workflow Tip: You can further streamline your marketing efforts by sending newsletter data to Salesforce and automating the creation of new leads.
#7: IT Service Request
As finserv institutions and their customers continue to shift to digital workflows and become more reliant on technology, they’ll become more reliant on IT as well. Ensure requests at your organization are addressed quickly and appropriately by creating a robust IT service request process. Easily collect requests, assign them to the correct team member, and track completions in Formstack or your project management tool of choice.
Features: Conditional Logic · APIs and Webhooks · Data Routing
Templates: IT Service Request · IT Hardware Request · Employee Equipment Checkout Form
Optional Integrations: Trello · Zendesk · Microsoft Teams
Step 1: IT Service Request
Use Conditional Logic to build out a master IT service request form that branches into multiple scenarios, covering everything from equipment rentals and password resets to computer repairs and software assistance. If you choose to build out separate forms, use Smart Lists to quickly manage long, evolving lists of field options across all of your forms. Customers and employees can quickly submit the request form from a phone, tablet, or computer. Embed the form within your customer portal, website, and help site for easy access.
Step 2: Data Routing and Job Assignment
Immediately upon form completion, the submitter can receive an automated email notification with their case number, IT rep, and expected service timeline. These details can be added to the automated emails by inserting hidden fields into the form that autofill based on logic and calculations. Data Routing can then send the form data to the employee responsible for the type of help requested. If your team uses help desk software to track IT requests, the form can be connected through one of our native integrations or by using the Forms APIs and Webhooks.
Step 3: Request Completion
Use multi-step Approvals to allow the IT rep to approve the request when completed and then send the data to their manager or department head for final sign-off if needed. Logic and skip functions can be easily added to customize each approval sequence based on request requirements. For instance, issuing a new laptop to an employee may need multiple levels of approval within IT as well as other departments. Upon final approval and form submission, the requestor will receive any necessary follow-up in an automated message.
Workflow Tip: This is just one way you can streamline IT processes at your organization. Discover other easy ways to raise the bar on IT ops with task automation.
Start Automating Financial Services Workflows Now
Don’t let inefficient processes burn out your employees and deter potential clients. By investing in financial process automation, you can build repeatable, efficient systems that improve employee morale, impress clients, and save your organization time and money.
Ready to take your workflows to the next level? Our visual workflow builder makes it simple to create, test, and launch any process your organization may need. Get started now with a 14-day free trial or talk with one of our workflow consultants about how to accomplish your goals through workflow automation.