Why Secure File Sharing for Banks is Mission Critical in the Age of COVID-19

Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, companies across all industries are scrambling to adapt to the new world of remote working. Banks and financial institutions are especially challenged. Those that are slow to leverage technology might get left behind should another pandemic or society-shattering event disrupt the world again.


17 April 2020

CARES Act PPP Secure Document Sharing Banks

As banks work to support customers in this time of need, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced financial institutions to rethink how they operate at the granular level.

Banks globally have been scrambling to adapt to a fast-changing situation caused by the contagion. Jobs previously involving face-to-face collaboration, as well as a raft of manual paper-based processes, have become decidedly more difficult as on-site staff is drastically reduced and skeleton crews are left to handle high volumes of high-touch sensitive content. The receiving parties dependent on these paper processes are themselves displaced from the offices they previously occupied. The tremendous strain on logistics created by COVID-19 only further complicates and slows the pace of work. Almost overnight, dependencies on paper-based processes have become an Achilles heel in banks’ services offerings.

A case in point: CARES Act rollout

To provide temporary relief and prevent an all-out economic meltdown, Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security, or the CARES Act, became law on March 27. The stimulus act bolsters unemployment benefits, gives consumers some credit protections and provides for the availability of USD 349 billion in Small Business Administration (SBA) loans – that’s USD 4 billion per day – to help keep staff on payroll via the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Funds available for loans must originate during a three-month period, from February 15 through June 30.

Not having a secure platform to receive sensitive documents for SBA loans can potentially open the banks up to cybersecurity, fraud, privacy and reputational risk.

In light of low interest rates, banks were already struggling to process loan applications from businesses before COVID-19 reared its ugly head. Implementation of the lending program has tested banks’ ability to quickly respond and scale to meet customers’ demands.

Many banks do not have adequate online platforms for uploading the required documentation from small businesses. Not having a secure platform to receive sensitive documents for SBA loans can potentially open the banks up to cybersecurity, fraud, privacy and reputational risk.

Banks with custom portals set up to facilitate secure document transfer have in many cases been overwhelmed, not having been architected for the flood of activity that has resulted, as businesses rush to apply for loans before the funding period ends. Every bank’s website right now has a message warning about extremely long wait times to speak to a customer service representative due to high telephone call activity.

Previously unforeseen volumes of activity in a highly compressed time frame have left support teams scrambling to keep up with customer issues from the mundane – password reset, account activation – to the more complex, such as upload failures.

The Power of SaaS Solutions

Most banks are already using SaaS solutions for secure document exchange in the form of virtual data rooms (VDR) for deal prep, due diligence, fundraising and reporting scenarios. These same banks have been sharing marketing documents and videos, conducting subpoena responses, communicating with high-net-worth individuals, sharing drawings and project details with remote staff and partners and conducting virtual vendor audits. They’re also using VDRs to gather KYC and AML documents, share CCTV tapes with law enforcement for incident investigations and a myriad of other scenarios. These solutions may be whitelisted in major banks globally for sharing confidential content across use cases.

Built to manage high volumes of documents with speed and efficiency with true bank-grade security demanded by the sensitive nature of the data being shared, and being deployable for new use cases in very short time frames, these solutions have the added advantage of offloading many of the more routine but time-consuming and resource-draining support tasks to the vendor, instead of the bank customer team.

2020: Survival of the fittest

Lulled, perhaps, by the marvels of our modern age and miracles of medical science, few foresaw the world-shaking impact that a pandemic could have. The speed with which COVID-19 became the all-consuming focus of the world was truly unimagined; but having been forced now to live its consequences, no one should delude themselves that with its passing is the end of the threat.

In a world filled with peril, organisms adapt or suffer as those more adaptable displace them. What will you do?

Intralinks is a global leader in secure document exchange, in use at most of the world’s leading banks for sharing sensitive, confidential content. Our solution for small business lending is suited to banks tasked with processing loan and grant applications under the CARES Act and PPP. Contact us for more information

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