Pandemic accelerates digital transformation in payment processing and other financial services

The demand for secure online payment options grew even more when the pandemic struck. iStockPhoto / Getty Images The initial months of the COVID-19 public health crisis produced massive disruptions to the lives of Canadians and the operations of the economy. The federal government quickly mobilized to create subsidy programs […]

The demand for secure online payment options grew even more when the pandemic struck.

iStockPhoto / Getty Images

The initial months of the COVID-19 public health crisis produced massive disruptions to the lives of Canadians and the operations of the economy. The federal government quickly mobilized to create subsidy programs to soften the blow – and the government looked to the financial services sector to help disburse the payments.

The banks wanted to enable quick and efficient reviews of the government’s benefit cheque payments, while mitigating the risk of fraud. They turned to long-time partner, Symcor Inc., to provide assistance.

For the past 24 years, Symcor has operated as a joint venture of three of Canada’s top financial institutions – Toronto Dominion Bank, Royal Bank of Canada and Bank of Montreal. Symcor is a business process outsourcer that automates processes and provides services to the country’s largest organizations in sectors that include banking, government, insurance, auto, telecommunications and utilities. Symcor’s offerings span the areas of payment processing, customer communications and interactions, and fraud detection, across highly secure data exchanges.

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“Now, we are just as committed to supporting our clients and their businesses as they adapt to the new realities created by the pandemic.” – Chameli Naraine, president and CEO of Symcor

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Meeting urgent needs in uncertain times, while maintaining high levels of service and trust

“Symcor has served Canadian industries through numerous crises over the years, including floods, ice storms and labour disruptions, and through our resilience and maintenance of high-service standards, we have earned our clients’ trust,” says Chameli Naraine, president and CEO of Symcor. “Now, we are just as committed to supporting our clients and their businesses as they adapt to the new realities created by the pandemic.”

“Given Symcor’s extensive experience in developing and operating a ‘networked’ fraud detection service, COR.IQ, we were able to leverage this platform to deploy a customized fraud solution within just a few weeks,” says Donna Kinoshita, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Symcor. “This enabled financial institutions to quickly and effectively analyze relief payments and added an extra layer of security for the market and for end consumers – protecting them from fraudulent bad actors.”

Symcor’s clients had other needs arising from the fact that many employees were working remotely, and they required digital tools that clients didn’t have the time or the ability to invest in themselves. Symcor supported this extremely time-sensitive need during the pandemic by quickly (within hours or days) implementing services such as digitization of manual records and of physical pieces of mail accumulating in offices that were temporarily closed.

“Our clients have now experienced how quickly we can help them through the transition and continue to support them as the rapid pace of change will only accelerate in the future” – Donna Kinoshita, senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Symcor.

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Accelerating digital transformation

The pandemic has helped accelerate the digital transformation that had already taken hold across the Canadian economy.

“For several years, our customers have been grappling with growing consumer demands for simple, immediate and online, yet secure, services,” Ms. Kinoshita explains.

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“The market need for straight-through-processing and minimized physical and manual handling was already there, and now COVID-19 has dramatically heightened that need. Our clients have now experienced how quickly we can help them through the transition and continue to support them as the rapid pace of change will only accelerate in the future.

“Symcor invests in advanced technologies to help Canadian businesses gain the benefits of scale and reduced capital investments and attain valuable market-level insights,” Ms. Kinoshita says. “We lessen the pain of the transformation and accelerate the journey for our clients by doing the heavy lifting, so they don’t have to.”

More change lies ahead, including in the area of open banking, also known as consumer-directed finance. As the federal government reviews options for the future of open banking in Canada, Symcor believes it is well suited to play a major role.

“We believe Symcor will be in a position to help the Canadian market as open banking takes hold,” says Ms. Naraine.” In this type of system, it is critical that consumers feel secure that their data is not misused or exposed, while they have ready access to it in real time.

“Providing that assurance is in our DNA at Symcor; the data we process today is held to the highest and most rigorous security standards.”


Produced by Randall Anthony Communications. The Globe’s editorial department was not involved in its creation.

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