To become the retail bank of choice for customers in Pakistan, Meezan Bank wanted to offer a fast, straightforward experience for opening new accounts—but paper-based processes slowed it down.
Meezan Bank implemented digital account opening workflows supported by IBM solutions, enabling employees to capture and process new customer data rapidly using a security-rich web portal.
Cutsaccount-opening process to 1 day, improving the customer experience
Attractsnew business and sharpens the bank’s competitive edge
SavesUSD1m over 2 years by eliminating paper-based processes
Business challenge story
Welcoming new customers
The account-opening process is a make-or-break moment for banks. Making a positive first impression can lay the foundation for long-term customer loyalty. But if piles of paperwork drag the process out for days, banks increase the risk of customers abandoning their application and heading for a competitor.
Meezan Bank, Pakistan’s leading provider of Islamic banking services, saw an opportunity to improve its competitiveness by delivering a seamless account-opening process.
Ali Imran Khan, SVP, IT Operations and Service Management at Meezan Bank, explains: “Our mission is to make our Islamic banking services the first choice for consumers across Pakistan—and to achieve this goal, we knew that we needed to help new customers start using our services as quickly as possible.”
He continues: “When customers open a new account, we must comply with strict government regulations to verify their identity. These requirements include making copies of their Computerised National Identity Card [CNIC] and other supporting documentation.
“In the past, staff at our local branches would photocopy these documents and mail paper copies to our headquarters for review and approval. Since this process relied heavily on manual work, it could take as long as seven working days to open a new account—almost twice as long as the national average. To encourage new customers to sign up for our services and help grow our market share, we were keen to find a way to streamline and speed up the process.”
Based on the efficiencies that Meezan Bank had obtained by digitizing its service desk, the organization decided that a paperless account-opening process was the way forward.
“We have been using IBM® Control Desk on Cloud with great success for many years now,” continues Khan. “We were confident that we could achieve similar improvements in turnaround times if we applied the same principles to our account-opening process, and we looked for a platform to support the digital workflows.”
Shaping seamless digital journeys
To achieve its goal, Meezan Bank selected a security-rich digital hub based on IBM WebSphere® Portal and IBM Forms Experience Builder. Deployed on an IBM Power® System 770 server running Linux, the new solutions enable in-branch personnel to scan and upload customer documents to a digital approval workflow—eliminating the need to send physical copies in the mail.
“In addition to our work with IBM Control Desk on Cloud, we have relied on IBM Notes® and IBM Domino® to deliver email and calendaring capabilities for many years—and we have always been impressed with the quality and responsiveness of IBM’s support,” Khan says. “Our positive experiences working with IBM in the past gave us the confidence that IBM was the right choice to deliver our web portal.”
Working together with an expert team from IBM, Meezan Bank mapped out its account approval workflow, and determined the optimal way to support the new way of working using IBM solutions.
“Planning out our new processes was a very valuable exercise, as it revealed sticking points in the approval workflow that we wouldn’t otherwise have noticed,” continues Khan. “By collaborating with IBM, we successfully removed these struggle points and shaped a seamless experience for customers opening accounts.”
As the launch date for its new workflow approached, Meezan Bank rolled out a comprehensive training program to help users across the country get up and running quickly.
“We ran in-depth training sessions for our IT administrators and developers, who have ultimate responsibility for managing, maintaining and improving the platform,” comments Khan. “Preparing our in-branch personnel to use the solution was a straightforward process—the web portal is extremely intuitive, and our people were quick to embrace the new way of working.”
In parallel to its web portal project, Meezan Bank decided to enhance its approach to collaboration with a social business network based on IBM Connections™.
“To complement our new digital processes, we wanted to offer our people a more effective way to work across departmental boundaries,” Khan explains. “We knew from our experience with IBM Notes and Domino that IBM had mature solutions in the collaboration space, and we felt that IBM Connections would make an ideal centralized hub to communicate our processes, procedures and company news.”
He adds: “Throughout our deployment process, the IBM team was extremely supportive, and went out of their way to help us hit our project milestones on time. Without a doubt, our collaboration with IBM was a key enabler of the overall success of our digital workflow project.”
Delivering responsive, competitive services
With a digital hub driving its account-opening process, Meezan Bank is achieving its goal of delivering responsive customer services—helping new joiners start using their accounts faster than ever.
“We have slashed the time it takes to open a new account from seven working days to one working day,” says Khan. “For 90 percent of our accounts, customers can start using their banking products on the same day that they apply. By making this crucial process 75 percent faster than the national average, we make it easier for new customers to start banking with us, which sharpens our competitive edge.”
He adds: “What’s more, since we have eliminated paper from the account-opening workflow, we have substantially reduced the cost of processing customer applications. In fact, we estimate that we have saved the equivalent of USD1 million over the last two years—dramatically improving our operational cost-efficiency.”
By enabling employees across the business to design simple web forms themselves using IBM Forms Experience Builder, Meezan Bank is helping its back-office personnel to work more effectively on other activities.
Khan gives an example: “Our HR department runs an annual employee engagement survey, which previously required them to mail questions on paper to employees across the business, and then manually re-key the survey responses that came back. In the past, it could take an entire month to complete the survey. Today, our HR department designs and runs the entire survey digitally using IBM Forms Experience Builder—saving on time, postage and paper, and completing the entire process in just three days.”
He adds: “Some of our teams have been inspired to use the new digital portal in innovative ways. For example, our marketing team now publishes quizzes about our banking products on the portal every month—created in IBM Forms Experience Builder without any assistance from IT. These quizzes help encourage our customer-facing employees to deepen their knowledge of our offerings—helping us improve our ability to serve our customers.”
Khan concludes: “When we engage with a customer for the first time, we want to give them the kind of positive experience that nurtures their loyalty. By digitizing key processes with help from IBM, we are making it easier than ever for new customers to start banking with us—helping us drive growth.”
Founded in 2002 and headquartered in Karachi, Pakistan, Meezan Bank is a leading Islamic bank. Providing a comprehensive range of services through a retail banking network of more than 550 branches, the bank is a publicly listed company with paid-up capital equivalent to approximately USD94.8 million.
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