The Benefits of Video Conferencing and Collaboration in the Finance and Banking Sectors

Over the last ten years the way that banks do business has changed immeasurably, the banking landscape is a new one.

2008 shook up the financial world. The new financial tectonic plates underpinning the industry seem far more fragile than they were just a few short years ago. This new environment has shifted expectations and added pressures.

These days there are constant regulatory pressures. There are shareholders demanding their 5% per annum returns. There are governments interfering with the way in which banks can carry out their business.

All of this is framed in a context where fear and uncertainty are pervasive forces in the financial markets. Instability, it seems, is always just around the corner.

banking_and_financeFinancial bosses have the job of navigating through an incredibly fast paced, perilous, yet paradoxically extremely profitable jungle.

They have to build an environment where they can form lasting relationships with customers. They have to maintain stability, or at least the image of a stability, by presenting an outward countenance of clam and order.

They have to pull together opinions from thought leaders in different locations around the country, or around the world; and they often need to do so at a moment’s notice.

It is no surprise therefore, that financial CIOs across the world are in consensus that video conferencing has been of immense benefit to the industry. Video conferencing has broken down geographical barriers, improved decision-making processes at board level, facilitated multi-location training, and crucially rebuilt trust with customers.

Let’s take a look at the way some major players in the finance and banking sectors are using videoconferencing to gain a competitive edge for their businesses.

Scottish Legal Aid Board
The Scottish Legal Aid board is a body responsible for the management of legal aid in Scotland. Their main service involves helping people get financial support for their legal problems.

To simplify global communications from the headquarters of the board in Edinburgh, they have brought in a mobile video conferencing system. The system can be used during any video or computer based presentation. It is standalone and comes with a 50” LCD display screen. This large LCD screen means that the system can be used just as effectively by individuals or during meetings involving larger groups. The mobile nature of the system means it can be moved across offices in the headquarters with ease. It also features a high performance audio system, with integral loudspeakers, making it a completely self-contained system.

This has contributed to the growth of the Scottish Legal Aid Board brand across the globe.

Bank of America
The Bank of America was one of the first to deploy high-definition video and audio technology for meetings between bank staff. However, they have recently gone a step further by expanding the use of technology to customer interactions.

With this technology, the bank made it possible for customers to interact with mortgage specialists, financial advisors and small business bankers from the comfort of their homes or offices. This technological advancement was put in place because the bank recognised the changing shape of the consumer banking landscape.

The bank chose Cisco CTS 500 combined with the EX90 conferencing platforms. Some of the features of the setup include:

Premium 32-inch screens with resolution of 1080p and 720p, geared towards ensuring a clear and natural Telepresence.

High-quality camera that captures images in high definition. The camera also retracts when not in call allowing individuals to use the screen for other activities.

High quality audio that is immune to interference from mobile devices and cell phones. Importantly, the setup also shows zero latency.

With this telepresence technology, the bank is able to take care of customers, and potential customers, as they would in a branch. This has helped to improve service levels, customer choice and brought advice directly to customers.

Nationwide UK
Nationwide is a UK financial services company with a rich history. The company understood the need for better ways to attract and retain clients and looked to video conferencing to help meet the needs of the new ‘Internet’ consumer. The average customer today cherishes convenience and fast responses. So Nationwide looked to video conferencing technology to enhance customer access to experts, reduce loss of business to competitors, and ultimately improve customer satisfaction.

The technology deployed by the company was the Cisco Remote Expert Smart Solution for retail banking. This solution made it possible for virtual face-to-face high definition video conferences with customers. The Smart Solution is made up of the Cisco Unified Contact Centre, and Cisco TelePresence System EX Series. The systems are hosted on the Cisco UCS C-Series Rack Servers.

Following the implementation of this technology, the firm recorded a boost in mortgage sales performance of 66%, customer net satisfaction was improved by 70%, and the cost of sales was cut by 66%; numbers with the ability to revolutionise the success of the company.

BBVA is a customer focused global financial services group that was founded in 1857. The group gained global attention in Spain, but they have since established in Mexico, South America, and also the Sunbelt Region of the United States.

Since the company is a global institution with presence in over 30 countries, it was in need of a way to help employees communicate at distance, instead of everyone having to sit in designated video conferencing rooms. The solution chosen by the company was ClearSea HD mobile video collaboration technology, which supports a wide a range of devices such as PCs, Macs, Smartphones, and Tablets. The solution not just offered an easy-to-use communication portal to employees, but also high levels of security, ensuring that confidential exchanges cannot be intercepted by any third party.

As video conferencing technology becomes more affordable it is cascading down from the board rooms into retail finance teams. Companies are seeing their efficiency and productivity increase dramatically by embracing new technology. As this trend increases it is going to be hard for slow adopters of video conferencing, and other new wave technology, to remain competitive.