CXFS 2021


Here's How Bank of the West is Making Sure Cyber Criminals Don't Ruin their Customers' Experience

brought to you by WBR Insights

Cybercrime is becoming an ever-more regular occurrence, and the methods of criminals are growing in sophistication. However, Bank of the West is applying fresh thinking to ensure that fraud does not ruin the banking experience for their customers.

Bank of the West was founded in 1874 as the Farmers National Gold Bank in San Jose, California, eventually becoming the First National Bank in 1880 when bank notes became convertible to gold or silver. The company was renamed Bank of the West and was subsequently acquired by the recently (1970) formed Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP) in 1979, and was merged with the French Bank of California.

Today, the San Francisco-based Bank of the West has more than 600 branches in the Midwest and Western United States, and employs over 10,500 staff. Bank of the West's parent company BNP Paribas is one of the largest companies in the world with revenues of $109,026 million, placing it at #43 on the Fortune 500.

The Threat of Cybercrime

The modern digital banking marketplace is made up of customers who demand instantaneous access to their bank's products and services. Long gone are the days when the acquiring of significant financial products - such as loans - would require a sit-down meeting with the bank manager to discuss options and eligibility. Today's customers expect to be able to access these products online or through their bank's smartphone applications.

While there are many advantages - to both the bank and the customer - for such rapid access to financial products, there comes with it a significant increase in the potential for security breaches. While the security protocols in place for online banking are not to be sniffed at, it stands to reason that, in a world where bank accounts can be accessed remotely, there exists an increased chance that criminals could also do the same.

"As companies focus more on innovation to gain a competitive edge, there is more emphasis on speed," said Jean-Marc Torre, Senior Executive Vice President at Bank of the West. "Consumers want to obtain information, take action and receive products and services quickly. This puts pressure on companies to speed up their processes in order to deliver products and services faster than their competitors. Cybercriminals are trying to take advantage of this speed-focused business environment by finding gaps to access a company's sensitive information and systems. It is a grim reality that a cyberattack is now a strong possibility for all businesses."

Real-Time Payments

One way Bank of the West is dealing with the increase in cybercrime and improving the everyday customer experience for their clients is by looking into options around offering real-time and person-to-person payments.

"Bank of the West takes a progressive approach. We are positioned in the heart of the tech industry, which offers insight into key market innovations," said Torre. "For example, real-time payments with real-time settlement and information are emerging as a new payment type that is changing the dynamics of treasury management, enabling businesses and consumers to send and receive payments instantly and directly from their accounts at financial institutions. Bank of the West also participated in this year's pilot of Zelle, a new person-to-person payments network in the US that enables 86 million users to move funds in minutes."

By exploring methods of reducing the barriers and timescales between transactions being made and subsequently completed, Bank of the West will increase transparency and thus the visibility of irregularities. Criminals can often operate in those delays in services being completed, taking advantage of blind spots in digital security.

Final Thoughts

Cybercrime is going to continue being a thorn in the side of digital banking, but Bank of the West is doing a good job in searching for new ways to tackle it, while continuing to improve the customer experience for its clients.

The final word goes to Bank of the West's Senior Executive Vice President, Jean-Marc Torre.

"With so many businesses focused on innovation to capitalize on new trends and enhance competitiveness, an effective banking partner needs to be dedicated to delivering tools and data that help an entire organization be more forward-thinking and proactive, not reactive. To truly help our clients plan for the future, we also focus on the future. We present new solutions and strategies they can adopt to position their organization more optimally for future growth and keep pace with industry changes."

You can hear Bank of the West's Director of Content Strategy, Christine Beck, speak at CXFS 2018 this July at the Westin Copley Place, Boston, MA.

Download the agenda today for more information and insights.

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