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Promoting Innovation and Creativity in Banking

Promoting Innovation and Creativity in Banking

Problem Statement:

The current process at State Bank of India (SBIUK) entails an account team member to open a business account at a greater length through their in-house manual systems. This involves long and tieless bureaucrat approach. “The average time for the opening of business account (turnaround time) between a customer walk into branch to deliverable received by the customer is too long”. The current average time of opening an account is 15 working days.

The firm leading loses of customer base, employee productivity and customer satisfaction and revenue. Thus, SBIUK could redesign and introduce a new digital platform to eliminate these problems. The Digital platform will be easily accessed anywhere like Branch, Home and workplace by using gadgets devices.

Company background:

State Bank of India (SBIUK) started banking operations in the UK in 1925 with one branch. At present we are having 12 branches all over the UK. The bank is regulated and authorised by the Prudential Regulation Authority and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority and Reserve Bank of India (RBI). Currently there are nine banks in the UK owned by India entities and SBIUK has largest branch network across the region. For its core banking software, SBIUK is using Infosys’ Finacle system. The Bank’s main liability products are Current Accounts, Savings Account, Term Deposits, Cash ISA’s, Inter Bank Deposits and Inter Bank borrowings. The Bank’s main Asset products are Commercial Buy to let Mortgages, Retail Lending (SMEs and small business), bilateral lending to Corporate, participation in Syndicated lending, Trade Finance, Buyers Credit, facility against Standby Letter of Credit (SBLC) issued by Indian Banks and Inter Bank placements. The Bank also maintains an investment portfolio pre-dominantly consisting of UK and US Treasury Securities, Bank Bonds and Indian Corporate Bonds. The entire investment portfolio namely Held till Maturity, Available for sale and Held for trading are made on its own account.

Problem appraisal models: Fishbone




Unable to capture all the information

Process manual not defined

Lot of manual work paper forms only

Product features not defined

Legacy systems

Decrease in revenue

Huge cost involvement

Process flow not defined

Account opening process time

Not enough meet customer demand

Enough skilled staff not available


Proper training not in place

Employees are less motivational



Frequent changes in the management

Customer behaviours’ changes

Existing process flow

At SBIUK the existing business account opening requires multi-pages forms, require many signatures, several requests for customer additional information and are paper based forms. Since the core process is manual, so SBIUK can’t move forward with setting up mobile SMS alert or online banking until the next step.


Customer visit the branch to provide all the information and they will perform all the mandatory checks using relevant systems and send to back office for opening the account. The back office will open the account in the core banking solutions and communicate to the customer account details.






Current state of Innovation


The major stake holder of SBIUK is parent bank “State Bank of India”, India and they allocate the funds to innovate or create a new product or process with the help of Information Technology to launch services to targeted customer to increase the market share in the UK and revenue. SBIUK currently redesigned branch network and introduced Indian Rupee remittance through the mobile banking Application. But all the ideas will take time to implement roughly 3 to 4 years for small products to complete.

I found that the innovation culture is missing currently as a whole organisation from the top to bottom as they are not actively involved in encouraging and backup innovation, implementing severe innovation approaches, and filling core roles such as Creative Intellects, Innovation Champions, and Innovation Leaders.

All the new products or process innovation take a long time to get sanctioned and implemented by the senior management. As of now they are no unclear future goals relation to this aspect for the bank to my knowledge.

Assessment of senior management’s innovative leadership in SBIUK and identify took place and top three weaknesses including limited delegation of power to down level staff member, not clear vision about change management and stubborn in own style of operations were observed.

Objective of Innovation


SBIUK has modest advantages for Business account for Corporate and SME through Digital platform compared to other Indian bank’s business models – low cost funding because no interest payable to the customer (CASA balances and transactions charges) for current accounts. The business account keeps the money under demand deposit category because they need funds for daily requirements.


In recent years there have been lot of changes in the retail and corporate banking industry. In the last few years digital platform has been playing a big role in the banking sector and fintech is growing and going very faster behind expectation’s. the current banking industry is targeting corporate segments because they are using digital platform instead of traditional platform and banks are designing the product.

SBIUK’s parent bank SBI India is a working to towards introducing a lot of innovating product or process to provide better service to the customers. SBI India is dependent on the technologies and are continuously investing heavily to update their systems to improve service and increase profit.

Also, a lot of peer banks also invested amount in digital platform for innovating product or services to customers. Compared to last decade all banks are working for change management to redesign the heat of banking product. everyone working for a tailor-made product or process to customers.

A customer can visit any country to open an account or access same account from anywhere in the world through Universal banking option or by using the new digital platform; SBIUK itself has branches in 32 countries.

I had a personal interview with a couple of staffs conducted a questionnaire survey and feedback from them.

Business account opening process digital design

Developing automated processes with built-in artificial intelligence technology (straight-through processing). Supporting the capacity to pick digital signature or biometric rather than normal signature for information security. Using scenario to drive processes, which improve response times.

SBIUK existing process already has been explained earlier and now transforming the process into new digital platform.

SBIUK ought to reconfigure every “business line”— and its esteem chain—to rival the best disruptions by being centred, quicker, better, and administrations. The SBIUK can exploit their remarkable adaptability aptitudes, capital accessibility, and client reach to release the brilliance and contend at the following stage. Dealing with a scope of advanced stages that gives computerized monetary arrangements is turning into another vital arrangement








Design the process in five stages




The 5-stage model was originally proposed by the Hasson-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford




Conduct research to develop knowledge about what your users and customer do regarding the business account opening, say, think and feel. Imagine the goal is to improve an on-boarding experience for customers and staffs. In this phase, I talked to a range of SBIUK staff members (Branch and Back Office) and gathered a substantial amount of information, followed by an in-depth observation of what SBIUK does for core and sub processes.

The platform’s key benefits to customers include:

  • Simplified and fast record opening and onboarding process that lessens screens, snaps and section of duplicative client data.
  • United information exchange process empowering enrolment crosswise over various administrations such as debit cards, online banking, and overdraft protection simultaneously.
  • An environmentally friendly, completely paperless tablet banker-assisted account opening process that reduces risk and saves paper.

SBIUK website gives no clear explanation regarding the type of documents required for account opening. This consumes a lot of customer time to visit a branch to submit the documents. As well as current staff strength is unable meet customer requirement which acts as a source of demotivation for the existing staff.

There are no set policies and procedures in place to mend for inconvenience caused in mail communication in cases when a staff member has been attending to client requirements themselves.

Branch Level: Customer facing teams perform client onboarding mandatory checks at the Branch level such as KYC/AML Checks and other checks as per AML policy and procedures.

Back office Level:

They will cross verify the documents along with application form and enter the details on the core banking systems. Normally it will be take a couple of days to opening of new accounts; some time delay due to queries raised by staff and it will go to a branch to resolve or get some additional documents from the customer.

Vendor level:

Many sub processes are handled by the vendor including communication with customer post account opening such as issuance of debit cards, welcome letter and internet banking as per customer requirement.

The entire life cycle involves more than 80% percent of manual work carried out in respective departments. All the confidential information is in paper format which is not feasible for the long run. Moreover, staffs like to use the digital platform for end to end flow instead of manual processes.

Staff expectations simply the process for account opening life cycle. The staff expressed concern towards changing the overall culture to improve employee productivity and motivational factors. Although, on the same grounds staff expects regular training such as cross functions.

Define. Combined all my research for SBIUK and observed where any problems exist. In my problem-solving users’ prospect and highlight opportunities for innovation. Use data gathered in the “Empathize” segment to gather insights.

Thus, SBIUK will be innovating new digital platform to eliminate these problems in terms of reducing the customers and employee valuable times.  Also, it is more efficient to improve existing operations gap and employee should concentration on other important tasks. The cost wise company will achieve in the long-term prospects.

SBIUK business account opening time will reduce from 15 days to 5 days in the long term.

in this stage the innovate team formed with versatile skilled people from the Operations, Information Technology, Risk, Compliance, Sales and Internal Audit and create a “Digital platform” project.

We can use digital platform rather than the traditional paper-based approach for providing full-service client on boarding, KYC and associated services.

In the end, the changes benefit the increasingly digital consumer, who is looking for simplicity and a way to complete the digital journey they started when they shopped for a new account online.



Idea: SBIUK should meet with the innovate team through brainstorm meeting and discuss ideas in the group through the SCAMPER model.

  • Introduce digital platform
  • Customer can communicate through email instead of visiting branch
  • Relocate back office to offshore locations
  • The back-office account opening team merge with the branch.
  • Branch+ Digital form filling for an initial stage
  • Recruit more staff for branch and back office
  • Change the account opening process and simply the form
  • Artificial Intelligence based perform mandatory checks
  • Regulatory requirements
  • Encourage flexible working timings
  • Increase staff benefits
  • Branch working days from Monday to Friday instead of 7 days working
  • Bank digital storage for an opening account online
  • Provide an additional resource to branch or back office during holiday period or volume at peak stage
  • Introduce appointment-based client meeting
  • System based approval instead of manual
  • Manual due diligence checks for onboarding
  • Reduce waiting time by re-directing other employees to explain
  • Manual documents from customers
  • Bank’s Overall Infrastructure
  • Product features and process redesign
  • Team brainstorming



Prototype: SBIUK team reconsiders all the new ideas through brainstorming as well as strength and weakness of the area to finalise which idea is feasible to be chosen and further implemented. Staffs though process on behalf of customers which one is going to beneficial for customer in terms of service, time-saving, and seamless flow.




Core Process Area of Strength Area of Weakness Key Factors
  • Customer can visit the branch and submits documents to staff for account opening.
  • Some senior citizen customer habits to visit the branch because they are an emotional attachment with the brand or staff.


  • Lot of manual work required, and it is consuming staff and customer timings.
  • They visit during working days and timings
  • Valuable timings
  • Customer not having computer knowledge they visit the branch.
Digital Platform
  • Customer can initiate the account opening any time round clock and anywhere in the world.
  • Seamless process and procedures
  • User-friendly access for end users.
  • Less paper usage
  • Time saving for customers
  • Cyber security risk
  • Data protection
  • Some customer unable to use due to age factor
  • Illiterate people
  • Huge investment requirement
  • Long term cost benefit
  • Data available in one place
  • Environment aspects save trees




Traditional model Digital Innovations Model Importance about Digital
The core purposes of technology are teams’ efficiency, risk, compliance, and legacy Information technology systems Well-made platforms, simplify the processes, speed, accuracy, user-friendliness and flows through digital platform Digital platform objects to improve the customer satisfaction with financial incentives for investors.

Analysed the couple of round testing outcomes which requires improvement like further parameters to add or user/ customer requirement increase and instruct Information Technology to customize systems further. The new platform capabilities work as per the regulator’s requirements and Banks requirement. The innovation team should perform scenario tests before implementing. Create a business continuity management plan for unavailability of the platform and updated information security policy. Audits trail records are vital and should be kept on record as per Global data protection regulation and open banking requirement. The innovation team was fulfilled about the outcome of the new digital platform design and they sent a full report along with recommendations to senior management and submitted to board for approval Once board approved to implement the new platform.

Design thinking is a “digital platform” process that is innovative and designed in a way as to help to solve manual and paper form processing of account opening that reduce turnaround time for customers, lower operational costs, reduce error rates and improve the quality of the new client experience throughout the SBI UK.

Solution for model:  Three Dimensions

Idea Quality Originality Elegance Total Rank
Compliance to modify the forms 3 4 5 12 3
Company to increase the staff strength during account review time-based risk rating 5 3 3 11 4
Encourage employees to get support from un utilised staffs 4 2 4 10 5
Introduce back office staffs more agile working among employees i.e. different start times 5 4 4 13 2
Company to introduce digital platform instead of legacy systems (manual) 5 4 5 14 1
Company create an employee benefits structure 4 3 3 10 6

The result shows staffs and customer willing to choose digital platform for opening a new account. Although, bank should consider for giving incentives to employees to motivate them perform in line with company mission and vision statement.

Creative Problem Solving: Mumford’s eight stages of creative problem solving in a cyclical manner


Key implementation issues

Technology: SBIUK should implement technology based on digital platform product. Normally implementation requires longer periods due to the integration of information across the business-like operations, risk compliance, vendor, senior management and HR.

The decided team should clearly write project plan and work accordingly and any deviation in the plan will take to board for approval with proper justifications.

As well as an Information Technology team should conduct “impact assessment” to determine who needs to be impacted and what role they will play in the implementation. This is “proactive action instead of corrective action”.

Organisation Culture: The significance of authoritative culture has for some time been perceived, however changing a culture – what individuals think and how they carry on – is anything but a clear errand.

The bank should collect information and feedback based on MBF ‘Managing by Facts’ and MBB ‘Managing by Behaviour’.  The CEO creating a good working culture and team bonding and brainstorming exercises during project running with helped from independent consultants.

The bank should carry transparent communication between senior management and employees. Their mission and vision statement should reflect innovation and values shared by company.

Human Resource: Skilled employees are the heart of the bank; any new product or process creation acts as the backbone for the project. The Bank cannot run the project with existing team time or members; they need dedicated resources for running any project. First bank should identify existing knowledge base. Accordingly, desired transfers should be made internally or externally.

Introduce a new process without breathing time:  SBIUK should not implement of new system abruptly without providing training or sufficient breathing time.

The dedicated team or any staff should perform role pay tests before it will go to next stage and run the pilot in the closed user group in a live environment like a soft launch. The staff member will run the new process in parallel to the old process to identify if any issues are still arising and is the old process to fall back on.

Period Priority Agenda
Short Time – 3 to 6 months
  • Collect the existing customer requirements
  • Engage consultant to perform market study about Digital platform
  • Employee idea competition
  • Line managers reminded that agile working is supported and encouraged
Medium Time – 6 to 12 months
  • Analysis of digital platform of long term initiatives to assess their impact
  • Digital platform fact and fictions communication to staff on branch and intranet
Long Term – >12 months


  • Regular review and monitor the process through continuous improvement.
  • Regular update to customer to use Digital platform


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    Available at:
    [Accessed 2018].
  • fortune, 2018. [Online]
    Available at:
    [Accessed 18 December 2018].
  •, 2018. Business Dictionary. [Online]
    Available at:
    [Accessed December 2018].
  • India, S. B. O., 2018. State Bank of India. [Online]
  • Available at:, [Accessed 20 December 2018].
  • Simon, H., 1969. The Sciences of the Artificial. s.l.:s.n.
  • State Bank of India UK, 2018. State Bank of India UK. [Online]
    Available at:
    [Accessed 18 December 2018].

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