Five Crucial Capabilities for Today’s Branch Inspection Needs
Regular branch inspection for security, compliance, and operations are a required way of life for financial institutions. That’s why some banks are adopting automated inspection and control platforms to be more efficient and effective.
Historically, these necessary inspection processes were labor-intensive and paper-based. Execution tended to be cumbersome and time-consuming. But now, in a post-COVID-19 world of increased scrutiny and oversight, these manual, rigid, and error-prone processes are riskier than ever.
New Branch Inspection Demands
Additionally, in the current environment, social distancing, signage, security protocols, and branch hygiene and cleanliness are key to the customer experience. Clients are likely to need more reassurance than ever when they arrive at a branch to perform transactions, apply for mortgages, or receive financial consulting services. Managers at the regional and corporate level also want to know how well the individual branches are implementing these new standards.
A mobile-first, holistic automated auditing and inspection platform will enable you to quickly and easily modernize branch inspection. For best results, it should provide:
- Digitization and standardization of forms across branches—for consistent processes
- Mobile apps for ease of use and to capture images demonstrating compliance
- Real-time visibility into the branch completion status for fast correction
- Reporting and analysis capabilities for continual improvement
- A centralized inspection form and data repository accessible to everyone
Old World of Branch Inspections
The old approach to ensuring branches are complying with brand, security, and other standards had many shortcomings: Paper checklists require manual visual review, and they aren’t easily shared within the company. Also, it’s nearly impossible to manage by exception without some sort of analytical application that can easily take the audit data and crunch it.
A paper system adds to the manual burden and can create administrative headaches. Regional managers, who often oversee a dozen or more branches, must routinely review the compiled paperwork or Excel results. And they must periodically conduct in-person branch inspections to verify that corporate-approved processes are precisely adhered to.
Plus, over time, errors or local preferences and differences can creep into execution. And when that happens, given the stakes with COVID-19, these non-compliant variations inject even more risk and uncertainty into the system.
Automate, Enhance, Improve
A robust automated solution is a way to reduce the extra work involved with inspection compliance. Digitizing the forms and processes can streamline the entire inspection process. It will also ensure the consistent checks and reviews of forms that enforce accountability. The application must be mobile-first, so that associates and managers can easily leverage it from wherever they are, both in or out of the branch, on a phone or tablet.
An end-to-end inspection solution can make the review process more intelligent overall. It should offer location-specific reports to compare how any given branch is performing. A branch can be measured according to corporate expectations, as well as by peer locations. With this information, field managers can prioritize which locations to visit, or the underperforming areas that require special attention.
For greater visibility through the enterprise, the inspection system should also provide triggers: for instance, if a certain task is substandard or incomplete, the solution will issue an alert for corrective action. User-defined reporting is a key part of the solution: managers should be able to easily review the data. They can then do drill-down across a branch, region, or the entire bank and see which locations aren’t complying.
Inspection Consistency, With Flexibility
A single platform offers you standardized question sets and surveys to cover all the topics and functions relevant to your branch networks. However, it also should allow you to configure or customize your forms to meet changing situations, or to address specific use cases in real-time for differing branch types.
The inspection questions can be yes/no, multiple choice, and offer scoring options—built-in training tools and knowledge management add context. For signage or cleaning vendor reviews, the system could require that the auditor upload a photo of a sign or object to demonstrate compliance.
After every inspection question is answered, the forms can be saved and uploaded to a central repository. Anyone who needs to can access them from their own location. The inspection solution can also feed into workforce management and scheduling systems to help you achieve even greater levels of branch process efficiency.