By Virender Jeet, Newgen Senior Vice President Technology
Africa has witnessed a technological revolution in the past few years, with significant investments in IT infrastructure, which lead to accelerated growth in the continent, making it the second fastest growing economic region in the world. The banking industry has been at the forefront of this IT revolution. While the retail banking sector has long benefited from process automation and standardization, the corporate banking sector has largely been neglected. However, as corporate banking services continue to be a key driver of revenues for banks, investing in corporate banking technology has emerged as a top priority for bank CIOs in Africa. By providing banking services to large enterprises, banks also get access to their entire value chain of vendors, customers, etc. To sustain in an increasingly competitive business landscape, banks can’t afford to disappoint their corporate banking clients and neglect these complimentary avenues for growth.
By transforming their key corporate banking processes such as commercial lending and trade finance, banks are looking at driving differentiation via increased operational efficiencies and enhanced customer experiences. Another aspect that needs to be looked at, in order to successfully transform corporate banking, is processing of huge volumes of paper documents, generated across distributed locations.
Commercial Lending is a very complex process, which requires careful evaluation of the financial standing of the prospective customer. Before extending any type of credit, banks need to assess the potential borrowers, based on their financial performance, credit ratings, and debt exposure. Further, commercial loans require extensive supporting documentation which is routed through multiple decision points before approval. To expedite the flow of loan applications through various stages, lending organizations need a solution that can enable end-to-end automation and control over the commercial lending process, from deal structuring through booking. But, with each bank in Africa having its own set of work-steps in the commercial lending process, it becomes infeasible to build a standard Loan Origination System, which can be used across banks. Further, banks daily generate huge volumes of paper documents at multiple locations, introducing process delays in their lending cycles.
Very few software vendors have acknowledged the corporate banking needs of African banks and stepped into the void to address these needs. Newgen Software, an early entrant into the African corporate banking technology market, has built a unique corporate lending solution, to address the needs of African banks. Diwakar Nigam a visionary entrepreneur, to realize his vision of ‘One World One Workplace’, established Newgen Software, in 1992. Back then, Diwakar could envisage the need for imaging-based process automation and management solutions. At that time, the processing power was limited, memory was costly, but he rightly anticipated that one would eventually be able to support document management and imaging capabilities through software. He invested in building robust imaging capabilities to act as a solid foundation for Newgen’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) and Business Process Management (BPM) software products. Since then, the company has come a long way, with mission critical BPM and ECM implementations in leading banks across the globe.
Newgen’s solutions are most suited for the African market. The company’s domain expertise, local project execution capabilities, and innovative solutions have helped leading banks in Africa, which include Ecobank, Access Bank Nigeria, Ghana Commercial Bank, Fidelity Bank Ghana, Diamond Bank, ABC Bank Kenya, Central Bank of Liberia, and ARB Apex Bank, etc., to transform their operations.
Newgen’s solution for corporate lending is based on its robust BPM framework, which maximizes its flexibility to incorporate dynamic changes and address bank-specific process requirements. While enhancing the process performance through automation, BPM helps banks in reducing the overall operational costs and creating an agile IT infrastructure. Newgen also provides a unified platform for multi-channel distributed capture, which allows anytime, anywhere capture of documents using any device. Moving to a distributed capture model will result in quick decision making, faster processing of critical business transactions, and reduced mail and courier expenses, and administrative complexities.