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Customer experience in finance is an important part of building trust and loyalty.

Trust means relying on another individual or entity and having confidence that you’re safe. It requires honesty, integrity, and transparency. To gain your trust, entities need to act in your best interest, be held accountable, and be competent in its actions. As one of the most important factors consumers consider when buying financial products, banks rely on the trust of consumers to attract depositors and sell financial products.

For Swedbank, trust means creating a sound, effective corporate culture based on governance and a commitment to customers to make their financial life easier. Swedbank is a modern bank with over 7 million private and over 550,000 corporate customer relationships. Its purpose is to empower the many people and businesses to create a better future.

“We are a socially responsible bank, as well as we are a socially important bank. We help society to be more sustainable and more secure. We want to enable both private and corporate customers achieve their goals in life,” says Sead Pašalić, Chief Product Owner for Group BI Infrastructure at Swedbank.

Caring for consumers comes with security, trust, and compliance responsibilities.

Society’s rapid digitization is accelerating transitions from bank branches to digital banking that brings new channels of engagement and financial services offerings. A superior online banking experience is a critical way to differentiate financial services in a space saturated with fierce competition. Those financial services and products include tracking spend, paying bills online, managing investment portfolio transactions online as well as applying and gaining approval on loan applications without human involvement.

“We’re really trying to be on the cutting-edge when it comes to the customer experience. We make the interaction easy. You get immediate financial service when you log in, with services tailored to meet your needs.” says Pašalić.

Swedbank is transforming its technology and processes with an eye toward future-proofing its analytics and data ecosystem through a robust, scalable, and flexible foundation for its many critical services.

Pašalić shares how vital data becomes when offering new financial services features and products to Swedbank consumers, “it starts and falls with data. To be able to present a feature to the customer, data needs to flow, be transformed, and aggregated, and then presented to you as a customer. Data is everything.”

The rapidly evolving omnichannel customer engagement puts a spotlight on managing customers’ financial information safely, securely, and compliantly. 

For an international financial services institution like Swedbank, this means maintaining compliance with the latest Swedish regulations but also European Union regulations impacting its Baltic markets. Analytics and data are deeply rooted in Swedbank’s customer management, compliance, and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) efforts which support Swedbank’s vision to create a financially sound and sustainable society.

“We have the responsibility to make sure that the data we store is compliant, is secure, and that we have the frameworks around how we integrate that data. Then, we can proliferate that data across the enterprise,” says Pašalić.

Pašalić shares how data created, processed, and analyzed supports the move to digital banking, “if we talk about omnichannel management – all that data from those channels end up being integrated with our data warehouse or data lake and will be utilized for operational or analytical purposes by our business stakeholders.”

Compliance and consumer trust go together. “We do all the regulatory reporting based on data. Being that we’re a financial institution, we primarily want to be compliant and make our customers feel safe with our interaction with the regulators,” Pašalić continues, “It’s very important that everything we do before the actual regulatory reporting is done according to the compliance.”

Analytics support anti-money laundering and counter-terrorist financing.

Money-laundering and terrorism not only harm society but damage the stability and reputation of the financial sector. It’s in the financial industry and society's best interest that financial institutions take all reasonable measures to prevent money-laundering and terrorist financing. This includes performing advanced analytics for AML/CTF, fraud, and risk.

Given that criminals may use financial services to launder money to fund criminal activities, proper Know-Your-Customer (KYC) practices are central. Knowledge of the consumer helps to understand the general activities in which they would usually be expected to engage. Pašalić and the Group BI Infrastructure team enable Swedbank’s Anti-Financial Crime unit with information deriving from the Teradata platform, to then model data and build analytical use-case applications.

“We’ve sharpened our processes and those processes are directly connected to AML processes and models. We’re up to 18+ different models to do AML monitoring,” explains Pašalić. “We use the data within Teradata Vantage and our ecosystem to create features. Those features are used by anything from fraud detection to suspicious behavior models. For that to work, we need to make sure data is ingested, integrated, available, and accessible from Vantage.”

Enabling accessible and flexible IT environments not only support secure digital channels and assist in regulatory compliance, but also Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing. Being responsible for data platforms, Pašalić describes how to partner with the business on these activities.

“Together with the business stakeholder, we develop and train models, do exploratory processes and activities, and then the business stakeholders use the scoring for actual monitoring.”

Teradata Vantage modernizes the IT stack to streamline business processes.

Data harmonization and integration drives innovation faster to stay ahead of rapidly changing markets. The Vantage platform supports Swedbank’s transformation and future-proofing technology strategy. “Having all the data integrated across the enterprise is key to not only be able to do the regulator reporting, but for closing the books, steering the bank, and doing all other operations,” shares Pašalić. “The need for data has exploded. Every new use case investment opportunity we have is related to a large volume of data. We need a sustainable platform that provides flexibility and growth.”

Modernization simplifies Swedbank’s tech stack to rapidly roll-out new levels of automation that will streamline businesses processes. Accessible data supports Swedbank’s proficiency levels, allowing users to bring their preferred analytics to build, test, and model across the entire bank. “The level of automation is something that we want to have in place for the entire bank; not just for the data scientists, citizen data scientists, data engineers, and software engineers working on AML processes, customer channel management, and other areas, but also for the business analysts who are performing risk modeling or steering and controlling personnel that are running the bank,” describes Pašalić. The Vantage analytics and data platform reduces complexity and simplifies Swedbank’s tech stack to seamlessly manage data in a safe environment.

According to Pašalić, reducing Swedbank’s IT complexity accelerates business velocity and supporting regulator needs because, in Pašalić’s words, “regulators don’t sleep. They’re constantly sending new updates and requirements.” Pašalić continues, “having readily accessible, quality data is a must. Regulators don’t want an aggregated report. They want subsets of data. That data needs to be accurate and something all our organizations within Swedbank can present. It needs to be the same result and we need to be able to explain why we have made certain decisions or taken certain actions.”

The cloud presents further opportunity for simplifying complexity.

Swedbank’s cloud journey will further consolidate data and eliminate silos by making use of low-cost object storage.

“As we progress down our cloud journey, we will be able to separate compute and storage, and begin to use Native Object Storage with Azure Blob to get more out of the data ecosystem,” explains Pašalić.

When asked what’s to come, Pašalić shares “futureproofing is our end goal. Having a resilient and sustainable platform where we can seamlessly go into next-generation software delivered as-a-service, is what we want to achieve. Going to the cloud with VantageCloud on Azure, where we can achieve flexibility, will support our business stakeholders by delivering functionality they seek.”

With Teradata, Swedbank remains a socially responsible bank.  It sees unprecedented performance, accuracy, and efficiency to meet demands of the regulators, support anti-money laundering efforts, and earn the trust in consumers. By improving the performance, strength, and efficacy of its data platforms, Swedbank is empowering the many people and businesses it serves to create a better future.


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