QNB Finansbank first in Turkey to launch digital signatures in branches
Turkey-based QNB Finansbank, a subsidiary of QNB Group and one of the top five privately owned banks in the country, has enabled its customers to use digital signatures for account opening and loans in the bank’s branches.
Customers can sign digitally in the branches on the “smart screen” – a small tablet application that is customer-facing and integrates wirelessly (4G/LTE) with the teller’s desktop solution. The data is then uploaded automatically to the relevant systems, including the core platform.
The bank’s core system – CoreFinans – is an in-house development, written in Java. It uses Oracle database, IBM AIX machines and IBM WebSphere application servers. Desktop client is also homegrown, written in C# .Net using Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF) technology.
First in Turkey
The “smart screen” initiative is “the first in the Turkish market and, as far as I know, the only example”, says Ulaş Ergin, consulting designer and team leader, software infrastructure at Ibtech (the IT subsidiary of QNB Finansbank).
“Selling products digitally without paper signing at bank branches does not have any instances in Turkey,” he says.
Previously, all the paperwork was printed and customers had to sign all the papers, which were then scanned and uploaded to the bank’s core banking system for audit, Ergin explains.
“This was a cumbersome and time-consuming effort for both our teller and the customer.
“Now the customer can read the regulatory forms for opening an account and approves them digitally using the smart screen.”
As mentioned above, this process is also used for lending. Once the customer provides a digital signature, the money is deposited into their account immediately, Ergin says.
This smart screen is also used to present real-time campaign offers tailored to a specific customer, he adds.
The solution was first piloted in a handful of branches to see the customer response.
In late 2016, 1,200 Samsung Android tablets were bought – two for each branch, says Ergin.
The roll-out process is still in progress.
Nearly 90% of the loans smaller than TRY 30.000 ($8,000) are approved using the “smart screen” and “digital approval” concepts. The latter is the process where a customer digitally approves his/her product request (loans, cards, accounts) with SMS OTP keys.
QNB Finansbank also now allows users to fill out Western Union money transfer forms and approve them digitally. This feature was enabled in January 2017 and has around 130 daily transactions.
Paths of Glory
In early 2016, QNB Finansbank embarked on a project to integrate teller cash recyclers (TCR, an ATM-like machine under the cashier’s desk to deposit or withdraw money for the customer) with the bank’s desktop client application for core banking.
The TCR provider was Glory Global Solutions.
The project aimed to reduce operational costs in the branches.
“These devices have very small LCD displays and the users were unable to see the type and count denomination of banknotes,” Ergin says. “So we decided to build a tablet app facing to the customer for them to be able to see better.
“This idea then led to displaying campaigns and selling products like loans, credit cards and opening accounts.”
The development took around seven months.
The first challenge was the “legal” issue, Ergin recalls. Whilst banks in Turkey are able to open accounts and grant loans over remote channels, the traditional regulation requires a physical printout and signing of all the documents by the customer if they are banking in a brick-and-mortar branch. The teller then needs to scan all the papers and add them to the relevant systems.
The idea was “to simplify this process with digitalisation”. The bank contacted the Trade and Industry Ministry of Turkey and was granted the right to categorise this process in the branch as a “distance sales contact”.