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EY: Going paperless could save financial firms billions

Nov 30
Tags: Ernst & Young LLP
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EY: Going paperless could save financial firms...

Financial services organisations could achieve cost savings of £1.3 billion a year, as well as "huge" environmental benefits, by going paperless, according to EY.

The firm noted that only 28 per cent of financial services customers are currently deemed paperless, despite the availability of online banking and other digital technologies.

While a large proportion of consumers use electronic tools such as apps for regular banking tasks, nearly three-quarters (72 per cent) still receive paper records such as policy documents and statements through the post.

It's estimated that approximately 5.2 billion paper documents were sent by the industry last year alone.

EY highlighted customer demand and habits as two of the key hurdles to removing paper from the financial services industry. Many people want to have a physical record or reminder of their financial situation, while some haven't opted out of paper communications because they were unaware it's possible to do so.

The report also revealed that nearly four out of ten paper documents (38 per cent) sent in 2017 related to regulation. Many firms have responded to new rules relating to transparency in fees and charges by sending out more information to their customers.

Authorities are investigating how digital communication tools can be used to ensure businesses are adhering to new rules while potentially improving the customer experience.

Anita Kimber, head of digital and UK financial services at EY, said some may be surprised to learn that many businesses in the industry are still some way off becoming fully digital.

"Becoming fully paperless, though, is not as simple as clicking a few buttons," she added.

"There's still a number of hurdles that need to be overcome both from a firm and customer perspective. Considering the cost savings available, the positive impact it would have on the environment and the potential to improve customer interaction, it should be a key focus."

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