Why you need a case management system for your bank-supported financial product
What is a case manager for FinTechs? Case managers or case management systems are designed to help teams manage cases related to fraud, KYC, AML, and more.
Read about how Synctera is making it easy for teams to manage compliance and operations for their financial products.
⏰ | 8 minute read
Andres is a Product Manager at Synctera helping build products to simplify risk and compliance functions for banks and FinTechs
Say you have a great new FinTech idea: a comprehensive banking solution - delivered in a beautiful, fun to use app - for a specific vertical whose needs and wants you understand deeply. And say you've built that banking solution, and launched it with a bank partner that is supporting your offering's banking and money movement services. What comes next?
Obviously you kick your marketing and customer acquisition plan into gear. But what about the operational side? How do you manage your product on a day-to-day basis?
In this post, I’ll explain what your day-to-day tasks look like, and the various ways you can handle them using operational tech that's been built with these tasks in mind. I’ll also introduce the concept of a case management system and explain why that might be the most efficient option for you.
Risk and compliance workflows: These workflows relate to customer identity verification and monitoring, as well as transaction monitoring for potential fraud and money laundering. For example, an existing customer becomes sanctioned by the U.S. government, and your watchlist monitoring system flags this to you. You will need to manage the related review and decisioning process for this incident.
Marketing and disclosures workflows: You will need to send marketing materials and customer disclosures for your financial product to your bank partner for review and approval so that they can verify compliance with applicable regulations. If, for example, you’re launching a new marketing campaign for your debit card offering, you will need to send the marketing assets to your bank partner for review and approval.
Customer service workflows: You will need to set up workflows to handle customer disputes, complaints, and lost cards. For example, a consumer has a question about why their payment isn’t showing up in their account.Your team will need to respond and investigate the issue while leaving a record for regulatory compliance.
Administrative workflows: You will need to manage workflows related to a number of administrative tasks, as well as information requests between you and your bank partner. For example, you’re expanding your product offerings into loans or credit (or any other product you don't currently have) and would like to understand if your bank supports that and, if so, what's required.
Having the right tools and processes in place to handle these workflows is critical for a number of reasons:
First, your bank partner is essentially loaning you their charter to operate, and you need to help ensure that your bank partner does not lose their charter due to regulatory violations related to Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), anti-money laundering (AML), or consumer protection laws.
Second, efficient workflow management can help you provide a great customer experience. Your customers are going to have questions and run into issues that they’ll need your help to solve, like handling disputes or understanding their statements.
Third, good workflow management can help you build a transparent, productive, long-term relationship with your bank partner through close communication. Many banks are just starting with Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) and will want to understand your workflows and work with you on what level of oversight they will need to provide. They will have input for you on what they can and can’t support, what types of requirements they have for certain products. You will also need to collaborate with your bak partner on certain types of financial crime investigations.
Finally, many of these workflows also require "auditability." This is important because banks report to their regulators who will want to be able to track your workflows from beginning to end to ensure they meet requirements and there are no gaps. A missing or incomplete workflow could cause a strike against the bank from the regulators, which could strain your relationship with your bank and end up being an issue for you as a FinTech.
How can you manage these workflows?
To manage these workflows, you could try to use email, shared drives, and spreadsheets to manage updates and issues between parties. Or you could try to use a project management tool like Jira tickets, Asana boards, or a sophisticated Slack script to triage and flag certain issues over a single communication channel everyone can monitor and quickly resolve.
Perhaps this works for some companies, but in my experience these options lead to inefficient operations, are prone to human error, and leave a cumbersome audit trail for regulatory compliance and risk management purposes. They also aren’t great at bridging different tools, methods, and processes across organizations.
What is a “case manager” for FinTechs?
“Case managers” or “case management systems” are designed to help risk and compliance teams at financial institutions manage cases related to fraud, KYC, and AML.
I looked for an industry standard definition – Forester says Case Managers area highly structured, collaborative, dynamic, and information-intensive process that is driven by outside events and requires incremental and progressive responses from the business domain handling a case.
That’s a bit confusing.
At its most basic level, a case manager for a FinTech is a streamlined, communication device built into a platform that:
Notifies you about issues like bugs, customer complaints, or help questions from consumers, and provides you the ability to respond to them
Tracks queries and resolutions from internal teams
Helps external parties like bank partners or third-party integrators communicate with one another
Provides a single paper trail with all the useful information and context in one place
Dedicated workstreams for subjects i.e. a case for customers, a case for marketing requests, a case for bug fixes, etc.
Case managers can be basic or quite advanced, with machine learning to score alerts and group them into cases, extensive data enrichment, and graph visualizations to map potential money laundering networks. However, the focus of these case managers is internal work and helping risk and compliance teams work more efficiently and effectively.
<div class="rt-btn-wrap"><a href="https://learn.synctera.com/docs/compliance-guidance-about-marketing" class="button yellow w-button">Learn more about the compliance rules for promoting your financial product</a></div>
How Synctera Cases works
To help you manage your workflows in the most efficient, accurate way possible, Synctera provides Synctera Cases as part of the same easy-to-use console that you used to build and test your product. When we set out to build Synctera Cases, we designed it to be not just a great way to track your workflows, but also a tool that helps you:
Reduce manual work and human error: Eliminate emails and manual tracking of bank and end-customer interactions with automated workflows, configurable assignments, and role-specific views/permissions.
Streamline and accelerate operations: A centralized framework for creating, approving and resolving cases makes it easier for staff to manage a range of day-to-day customer onboarding, support, and compliance processes.
Gauge the health of your bank partnership: Gain visibility across all types of interactions between you and your bank partner - at the user, account, and transaction level.
Maintain a clean audit trail: Record all tasks associated with the partnership, including approvals for materials subject to Reg DD, UDAAP, privacy regulations, and more.
Work with a BPO partner, as desired: If you work with a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) provider, they can use Synctera Cases as well. They can be provided access and roles as if they were employees, or they can be given more limited access. They will be able to action cases, review customer inquiries, and help with administrative tasks within the platform to help expand your operational capacity.
Functionality of Synctera Cases
With Synctera Cases, both you and your bank partner can oversee all interactions between the two of you, and your customers, from one intuitive dashboard. Our case management solution also serves as a support portal where you and your bank partner can monitor questions, errors, and issues that arise. It allows you to manage a comprehensive set of workflows, including:
Risk and compliance
Know Your Customer (KYC)/Know Your Business (KYB) - Keep track of follow ups on customers that your KYC/KYB system flags as suspicious, at onboarding and throughout the customer lifecycle.
Customer alerts - Take action on any alerts that come up for your customers and determine what to do with their accounts. These could be alerts like a customer being added to a watchlist or a business customer going bankrupt.
Anti-Money Laundering (AML) - Keep track of follow ups on transactions that your AML system flags as potentially money laundering. You will also need to send these transactions to your bank partner.
Fraud - Review transactions that your fraud monitoring system flags as potentially fraudulent, investigate them as necessary, and keep track of documentation and decisions.
Marketing and disclosures
Marketing materials - Your bank partner will have to review most of the marketing material you plan to release to ensure it meets regulatory guidelines (pro tip: make sure to not call yourself a bank). You will be able to send them the material and let them know how, when, and where you plan on using it.
Disclosures - Depending on which products you offer, you will need to provide different disclosures to your customers. Synctera Cases will help track this for you, and if you miss a disclosure or two for a customer the system will let you know which disclosures were missed so that you can reach out to the customer.
Disputes and complaints - At times customers may want to dispute a transaction. When they do you will need to document the investigation process and timeline to show an auditable history of why the dispute was accepted or rejected.
Custom card review - If you offer cards for which customers can provide a personal background image, you will have to review those images to ensure they meet specific guidelines. When a user provides an image, Synctera Cases will create a case for you to review and decide whether or not to allow the image to be printed on the customer’s card.
Reconciliation - When you work with a bank partner to power your financial product’s accounts and money movement, on a daily basis your bank will need to reconcile your transaction history against both the bank’s general ledger (GL) and the various payments networks. When records don’t match, transactions must be traced back to identify and resolve discrepancies.
Interest calculation - This case type is related to interest-bearing accounts, which you may or may not offer. If an interest-bearing account receives a backdated inbound transaction with an effective date of more than 90 days in the past, a case is created for your operations team to manually post an interest correction to the customer’s account.
Billing and invoices - Pay your Synctera bill, and receive your share of interchange revenue earned on your card program(s). Synctera Cases allows you to configure the accounts you would like to pay and get paid from so that funds movement can be automated.
Information requests - When working with your bank partner and a FinTech platform like Synctera, you will need to get information from one or the other for things like what is required for offering a new product, or requests to make changes to configured fraud/AML/KYC/KYB rules. These requests can be created and tracked through the system rather than getting lost in email.
Launching a new, bank-supported financial product into the market is an exciting yet complex undertaking that requires diligent management of a range of workflows, as well as close communication and collaboration between you and your bank partner. These workflows and communications go far beyond what can be handled via email, shared drives, or basic project management tools. Relying on these archaic, cumbersome options can leave you and your bank partner exposed to the risk of fraud, regulatory violations, and unhappy customers. In short, it can put your entire business at risk.
A case management system like Synctera Cases helps you mitigate this risk by helping ensure that your workflows are managed properly, helping you manage fraud, stay compliant, keep customers satisfied, and maintain a transparent, productive relationship with your bank partner - so you can manage your business efficiently and scale over the long term.
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