Case Study: First Bank

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About First Bank

Digital with a human touch. First Bank’s mission is to serve as a trusted partner to its clients by responsibly providing financial products and services that make banking safe, simple, and convenient.

The challenge

Headquartered in Romania, FirstBank is building a bank that is simple and fair for its customers. They set themselves apart from local competition by moving away from traditional brick-and-mortar interactions to an online, always-on experience for customers. But as the first licensed bank of their kind in Romania, FirstBank had to juggle two problems: banking regulation and customer experience.

As a regulated entity, FirstBank must ensure that they perform KYC and AML checks on customers—failure to do so would expose FirstBank to fraud and regulatory penalties. This problem is made worse by the fact that in the digital world, risk management has certain nuances that are not often encountered in offline interactions.

To verify customers online, FirstBank was organizing video calls using live agents. Although cheaper than maintaining a branch, customers would need to wait up to two days to be manually verified. This approach also left room for human error in the verification process.

For FirstBank to truly transition from in-branch to digital, they had to find a better solution to verifying and trusting the identities of their customers in a way that gave the business confidence, and created a seamless experience for customers. That’s where Onfido came in.

The solution

FirstBank partnered with Onfido to power their digital customer onboarding, using our Document and Video identity verification.

After assessing alternative vendors, FirstBank selected Onfido as their preferred partner for our easy-to-implement developer experience, and our sophisticated fraud detection. FirstBank observed that while other vendors assessed fraud by comparing data such as MRZ with what’s on the ID, Onfido’s hybrid approach of AI and human experts looks at the document at a pixel level, highlighting the most subtle inaccuracies.

The results

As they transitioned from brick and mortar interactions to digital customer experiences, FirstBank had two goals in mind: process optimization and digital adoption.

Integrating with Onfido now means that FirstBank can confidently verify the real identity of their customers, ascertaining document ownership and liveness without the need for a manual video call with an agent. This means that FirstBank can effectively scale customer onboarding without the need to hire and train new operators.

For both FirstBank’s team and their customers, the onboarding process is smoother. Previously, FirstBank customers would have to wait up to 40 minutes to be verified by an agent in-branch, or up to 2 days digitally. Now, the whole process takes up to 8 minutes with Onfido; an 80% reduction in time to onboard. Customers feel more in control of the process, going through at their own convenience, compared with having to book in a video call and answer live questions with an agent.

Going to market with Onfido took no time at all. “Onfido’s documentation enabled the fastest integration we’ve seen with a vendor”, said Gabriel Bătăiosu, Senior Product Manager at First Bank. “Integrating Video verification took 2 days, and for the mobile experience it took just a week to integrate end-to-end”.

What’s next for FirstBank? Their focus is to compete with the best digital experiences on the market. The team will continue to transition their customer operations from brick and mortar to digital, focussing heavily on adoption.

"For us, the question is ‘how we can make customers who are accustomed to brick and mortar more in tune with digital channels?’ Having a digital end-to-end process for opening an account, getting a loan, or applying for a credit card starts with knowing and trusting that customer online."

Radu Stoicescu, Digital & Innovation Advisor, FirstBank

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