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Technology

The long-term benefits of true core integration

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By adopting a real-time integration model, you can optimize your bank’s operations and improve your customer experience.

Many banks are looking to a new generation of technologies that enable real-time customer experiences. When it comes to account opening, for example, instant gratification is table-stakes. And the key to real-time processing is in the integration with your core banking system.

Whether your goal is to enhance your mobile and online banking services, or to automate certain back-office tasks, core integration is the very first step. As banking leaders know, the process of integrating new software into a core banking system is easier said than done. While purchasing software from your core vendor may seem like the easiest option, even legacy vendors offer banking solutions that don’t yet integrate in their own core banking offerings. Vetting technology brings its own set of challenges, but there’s one way to weed out true technologists from the rest — through their capabilities around true core integrations.

Here are a few tangible benefits of real-time processing and our tips for achieving a successful core system integration.

True Core Integration Is Critical to Customer Satisfaction

Investing in real-time integrations to your core banking platform should significantly boost operational efficiency. This is because real-time integrations help create a more seamless user experience (UX) and ease operational burdens for your team.

With a real-time integration, banks can accelerate customer on-boarding and improve overall UX, especially when it comes to existing customers. MANTL data shows that existing customers typically make up 10-20 percent of new accounts opened online. Because it reads and writes to cores in real-time, MANTL’s system recognizes existing customers in your core and speeds them through the application process as appropriate. As a result, new accounts can be opened and booked to the core in 40 seconds or less, helping you deepen customer relationships and inspiring trust in you as a primary financial institution.

With real-time integration, approved applicants receive their account and routing number immediately. MANTL’s system takes it a step further and automatically triggers product services such as checks and debit cards according to settings outlined by the institution. Not only does this make it a more satisfying experience for the customer, but it means banks can scale their account opening while reducing overhead.

By contrast, many banks still rely on batch-integrations that increase manual processing requirements. For example, batch integrations often require a 24-hour wait before customers can access their accounts. Waiting for practices like micro-deposits or manual verification checks also leads to significantly less pull-through on applications as customers drop-off along the way. Essentially, a true core integration will improve your efficiency ratio. Batch processing, on the other hand, leads to higher application abandonment rates and is a burden on operational teams.

Real-Time Integration Prevents Downtime

Most traditional core banking platforms were built in the 60s, 70s, or 80s. Legacy core banking systems experience frequent downtime because they lack the modern deployment pipelines to allow for regular updates and seamless servicing. Running batch processes can cause bottlenecks and breakdowns in the bank’s core — especially during peak transaction hours. In addition to causing poor user experience, the application may be inaccessible during peak traffic hours for online account opening.

Poor core connectivity is generally exacerbated by extreme peaks and heavy traffic. Adding a “store and forward” function can circumvent extended periods of downtime. For instance, MANTL’s account opening platform creates a seamless customer experience by enabling customers to open accounts even when the core is down.

“Store and forward” works by tracking the core’s “heartbeat.” When a “heartbeat” is not heard, MANTL treats the core as “pending,” and “tanks up” or stores requests instead of sending them directly to the core. When the “heartbeat” resumes, MANTL flushes the tanked transactions so they can be processed. In the meantime, customers receive a message saying that their account has been approved (MANTL automates 88-92 percent of KYC and AML decisions), and the account is booked when the core resumes processing.

The benefit of “store and forward” functionality is that it enables automatic booking to the core — this means no more batch processing by bank staff. Products and services can also be triggered automatically, in the same fashion. For instance, a debit card can be automatically issued for every new checking account without manual review or intervention.

How to Approach Core Integration

In order to integrate third party applications to your core system, banks typically rely on APIs and middleware. The middleware and API layer provides customer-facing software with an access point to your core systems. To access middleware, it’s important to acquire the proper licences from your core provider. This is the first step to enabling third-party integrations into your core banking system.

If possible, it’s best to negotiate with your core provider when your contract is up for renewal, not when you need to integrate new technologies. This way, you’re likely to land on a better price and more favorable terms. Contract renewals typically come up every seven years depending on your core provider, and they can present an opportunity to kickstart your core transformation. However, even if that timing isn’t approaching for your bank, it’s key to make core integration a first step in your digital transformation.

Control over integration is critical to the success of the implementation process and helps ensure quality ongoing service. Instead of relying on vendors who outsource the integration work, choose partners that take ownership of the process and perform the necessary integrations in-house. This way, you can hold third-party providers accountable for any problems with the implementation or issues that appear after you go live. As much as you can, conduct reference calls with a provider’s current customers before and after implementation. This way, you can gauge what to expect when working with new partners.

MANTL Truly Integrates with Your Core Banking System

Unlike other providers who leave the arduous work of core integration to their customers, MANTL works alongside banks and credit unions to facilitate and oftentimes spearhead the integration with core systems. Once integrated, MANTL enhances your core by functioning as a “core wrapper” that enables future software to read and write to the core through MANTL’s API.

MANTL was built using a modern, cloud-based API architecture model that enables updates or new features to be introduced to customers weekly — all at no additional cost. MANTL is also core agnostic. We have integrated with all major cores including Fiserv Premier, Horizon by FIS, and Silverlake by Jack Henry.

Finally, MANTL is committed to helping your bank achieve superior customer experience. The average time it takes to open an account via the MANTL platform is just 2 minutes and 37 seconds, and fewer than 10 percent of applications require manual intervention. Banking teams who work with us spend less time opening accounts and more time in advisory roles, enabling them to build happier and more profitable customer relationships.