What is ABBYY FormReader and how does it work in Alfa Bank

    We already talked a lot about products for developers and for end users, but never before have we talked about solutions for entire companies. We are correcting: today's post about ABBYY FormReader - a system for inputting forms completed by hand or on a printer using ICR technology (Intelligent Character Recognition). And we will talk about it on the example of implementation in Alfa-Bank.

    Automation of work with documents at Alfa Bank is perhaps the largest and most complex project that was implemented by ABBYY in the banking sector. This story began in 2005, when the bank decided to create an electronic archive of documents of private clients. This was necessary in order to, on the one hand, reduce the cost of maintaining the archive, and on the other, reduce the time it takes to search for documents. There were two candidates for this task: AutoStore, a Hewlett Packard solution, and ABBYY FormReader, which was supposed to be implemented simultaneously with the IBM Content Manager electronic archive system. ABBYY solution fully met all the requirements of the bank, in addition, we were ready to finalize the product for the specific tasks of the project, so the choice fell on ABBYY FormReader, or rather on the versionABBYY FormReader 6.5 Enterprise Edition .

    At that time, customer files were kept by Alfa-Bank in paper form, and therefore it took one and a half to several months to parse documents, draw up inventories, register and catalog one customer file. To get information from the archive, employees had to make requests, look for a document in a paper archive and make a copy - it took one or even two business days. It was long and uncomfortable. After implementing FormReader and creating an electronic archive, working with archive documents requires 80% less time.

    In 2007, the bank had a need to automate the process of considering loan applications. At that time, applications for a loan and a package of documents necessary for obtaining a loan were sent from the regional branches of the bank to the central office by mail. Then these data were manually entered into the scoring system (a special system in which the borrower’s “reliability” is assessed according to several parameters and a decision is made on granting a loan). It turned out, as you know, not fast.
    After implementing FormReader, the process began to look like this:


    Documents are scanned at regional offices and sent as images to the Processing Center located in Moscow. Here, loan applications are recognized and verified (that is, the operator looks at the recognition result and the scanned image and checks whether the program “read” all the data correctly, whether the page order in multi-page documents is preserved, etc.). Then, together with scanned copies of the attached documents (certificates, passports, etc.), applications are sent to the scoring system. All together this is called a “credit conveyor” - and indeed, work is proceeding quickly, as on a real conveyor. Now, decisions on granting loans are taken 5 times faster, while the cost of processing loan applications has decreased by 60%. Scanning stations are equipped in more than 300 Alfa-Bank branches throughout Russia, and access to the system has more than 600 users. The system capacity is 2 million documents per year - this is about 30 million sheets.

    At the third stage of the project, in 2009, the entry into the electronic archive of documents of corporate clients - legal entities was automated . Previously, legal dossiers of clients, settlement documents and documents on foreign exchange transactions were stored in paper form. It took one and a half to several months to parse documents, draw up inventories, register and catalog one client dossier. When streaming input to the archive was established, the time spent by bank employees on working with these documents decreased by an average of 80%.

    How it works: FormReader recognizes the type of documents (charter, application, payment order), as well as their attributes (contract numbers and dates, etc.) and sends this data to the archive, this allows you to find the necessary dossier in a few seconds. Our product processes more than 500 thousand pages per month - this is about 6 million pages per year. Now all documents in the corporate block of Alfa Bank are processed centrally.

    It is customary to evaluate the results of work in numbers - there are few of them in this project. For example, the number of transaction officers involved in the processing of customer payment documents decreased by 30%, while the number of documents processed by one transaction operator increased by 40%. Now the operators are completely interchangeable and there is an opportunity to redistribute tasks from one site to another in case of official need.

    Our work at Alfa Bank is unique, we haven’t done anything like this before, and no other Russian bank has such a system — an archive plus a geographically distributed streaming input. It seems to have worked out quite well :)

    Sveta Luzgina
    Corporate Communications Service

    Supported by the Corporate Projects Department

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