The Silicon Review
“Designed to provide the competitive advantage”
In the current environment, maintaining growth in commercial and corporate lending is a challenge. Economically, the aggregate growth rate for U.S. commercial lending has been slowing for more than a year, and competition remains fierce from commercial banks, emerging fintech companies and other “nonbanks” alike. With so few dollars shared among an ever-growing pool of competitors, how does a financial institution stay ahead and increase revenue?
For 50 years, Automated Financial Systems, Inc. (AFS®) has been providing, and delivering, the answer to that question–technological innovation. AFS has been leading the charge for digital transformation in commercial lending management for more than a decade, a transformation that is now seen as a necessity to stay competitive. Banks must be able to act and react in real-time, from anywhere, in order to provide the service clients demand today, and be agile enough to adapt to the demands of tomorrow.
AFS has once again revolutionized commercial lending to meets today’s digital, real-time demands with its premier, straight-through processing solution for the world’s commercial lending needs–AFSVision®. Blending technological innovation with financial experience, AFS provides the tools necessary to accelerate strategic growth in lending across all business lines.
In conversation with the key executives of Automated Financial Systems
Why was the company set up? And how did you expand your company and its offerings over the years?
When AFS was founded in 1970, we revolutionized the banking industry with the best software, providing accurate and consistent commercial loan accounting to banks and other financial services companies–something that had not been done before. As the regulatory, market, and overall industry landscape evolved, so did the focus of AFS and our solutions. Our initial product, the AFS Commercial Loan Accounting System, provided the first integrated accounting capabilities for various forms of loan principle, interest calculations, and billing functionality–automating it all on one accounting system what previously had to be reconciled and managed manually for disparate systems. As the industry changed AFS enhanced each subsequent release with major changes in functionality and architecture to address the industry’s growing needs. Over a decade ago AFS recognized that a monumental shift in the way companies would expect to do business would be coming. With the advent of the age of the smart phone, online access from anywhere at any time meant that virtually anything is available at the click of a button or swipe of a finger. AFS knew that shift would translate into the commercial lending market, and, in anticipation of that shift, we revolutionized the industry again by developing and introducing the only real-time, straight-through processing, fully digital and mobile commercial lending system–AFSVision.
Do you provide
tailor-made solutions depending on the banks’ requirements?
AFSVision is designed to provide an enterprise-wide, straight-through processing “out-of-the-box” solution. However, we understand that each bank has unique needs that may require customization or integrations to a third-party system. Over our 50-year history, we have a successful track record in working with clients to ensure AFSVision works exactly as needed to meet each client’s individual business and growth goals.
Internet banks or banking process creates a lack of personal relationships with bank personnel. How do you leverage modern technologies to bridge this gap?
AFSVision’s real-time, straight-through processing capabilities greatly improve efficiency, freeing up banks’ client-facing personnel to spend more time with their clients. And because AFSVision is fully digital and mobile, account managers can get updates on their clients’ account anytime, anywhere, 24/7 –even as they are meeting with the client. More time in the field, more time meeting with clients, means better relationships and more business
Banks depend on service providers like you to provide a hassle-free experience for its customers. How do you improve the customer experience?
The customer experience is important no matter the industry, but in banking, which is rife with competition, being able to deliver a good customer experience is crucial. The most fundamental way to measure the credit, and client, experience is speed of response–to a client request, to market fluctuations, to regulatory demands, and to industry trends. In these areas, most banks’ core legacy systems are unable to delivery on the immediacy of information required to compete. With AFS, financial institutions have the best ability to deliver the ultimate customer experience with a faster path to meeting their growth goals. They need the flexibility and agility to produce real-time, immediate decisions. To accomplish that in a rapidly changing environment, banks must meet customer expectations for time to market, mobile, and faster credit decisions, faster booking, faster funds flow, and convenience for the customer, which ultimately drives this all down to a mobile banking-supported capability in real-time. With AFSVision, banks have the tools they need to deliver the ultimate customer experience.
How do you gain insights to create new banking solutions?
Over our 50 years in business, AFS has taken advantage of major events in the industry and market changes to facilitate our business aspirations and reach out for new levels of opportunity and growth. Our solution and service roadmaps evolve with market and industry drivers, ensuring that we can continue to offer our clients the support they need to meet their goals. Our rigorous Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) starts and ends with customer focus, including direct customer input into product requirements and feedback as to how well each release has met objectives. Our exclusive focus on commercial lending also means that we stay at the forefront of all regulatory and accounting changes. AFS not only monitors communications from the regulators advising of new regulatory requirements so they may be analyzed to determine if any changes need to be made to the system, but AFS representative are often asked to participate in meetings, as we are now involved with the ARRC’s LIBOR transition working group.
Driving force behind the success of Automated Financial Systems
AFS retains more than 350 of the country’s most knowledgeable and experienced professionals both in the detailed operations of lending/banking and in the field of technology solutions with collectively over 3,000 years of experience to solve client business issues and deliver value. Our average staff tenure is 20+ years with 10+ years of commercial banking experience at the Managing Director, Director and Manager levels. Over our 50-year history, led by Jim Greenwood, Chairman and CEO and John Shain, President, AFS has found that the fluidity of an open working structure fosters the flexibility to respond to customer needs. No other solutions provider has the depth and breadth of the AFS expertise, nor the ability to execute and deliver on a daily basis.
“AFS has innovated the field of commercial lending with AFSVision, the mobile and digital, real-time, multicurrency, straight-through processing solution that supports the full spectrum of commercial lending lines of business”