30 Most Innovative Companies 2017
The realm of corporate banking is arguably one of the most complex and convoluted in the world of economics, where even relatively minor events can have massive effects. Corporate lending in specific is a very hazardous business. Transactions of enormous proportions take place using out-dated and sometimes extremely risky systems and processes. Unlike consumer banking today, where everything can be done with the click of a finger, the commercial banking world still doesn’t work that way, but uses batch or overnight processing which, in some instances, takes several days to complete. But, Automated Financial Systems, Inc.(AFS) is making commercial lending happen in real-time.
AFS provides the world’s banks with corporate lending and risk management solutions. For more than 45 years, it has combined technological innovation with financial expertise to become the industry leader in providing commercial lending and risk management solutions for financial institutions. In terms of risk management, it provides the credit processes by which nearly all of the major banks manage commercial banking.
The company was founded in 1970 to apply technology in creating standards in accounting so that banks could easily and instantly respond to their customers. It provides services that enables banks to track, foot and settle every transaction in real-time, and is, right now, in the midst of transforming the banking industry into this real-time capability. “Our view is, the transformation that has to take place through innovation is all real-time; we provide our clients the ability to access everything immediately,” says John Shain, President of AFS
Pioneering the automated lending lifecycle
AFS has pioneered the method of automating credit processes, providing the industry’s only fully integrated commercial lending system designed to process multiple types of loans on a single, real-time, multibank, multilingual and multicurrency system—AFSVision®. It handles all types of lending pertaining to commercial banking, including small business, commercial, commercial real estate to syndicate capital markets. AFSVision was built based on a straight-through processing model and on-demand technology and services. AFS is the only company capable of managing an entire bank’s portfolio and settling it in real-time, all with the ability to do it anywhere simultaneously around the world.
AFS Vision is a fully integrated solution for all types of corporate lending processes taken up by financial institutions, from origination through servicing and beyond, offering a complete solution. It integrates management information enterprise wide—across lines of business, markets, products, and processes—to identify exceptions to policy and establish accountability, among other things, allowing institutions to react to exceptions and risks in real-time.
This is something its competitors have never been able to do. AFS has stayed miles ahead by never wavering their focus. Other firms simply don’t have the expertise AFS has gathered over 45 years focusing solely on the commercial lending industry. Instead, other companies, have branched out and spread their focus across different product lines, and make up for their lack of expertise by selling customized solutions tailor-made for a single client. AFS prides itself in providing the best solutions and services inspired by and designed specifically for commercial lending—and the successful result is there for everyone to see.
Expertise at every level
AFS services cover nearly all of the 40 major banks and financial institutions in the U.S. The Company services over 750,000 new loans annually, processing over US$2 trillion in Commercial and Commercial Real Estate assets daily. Additionally, the AFS private cloud delivery processes $250 billion in assets daily. Just recently, AFS launched a new private cloud service through which it provides API web services and process over 10 million web service calls a month.
On listening to the numbers, there is only one thing to ask, how does AFS manages to innovate to this extent? To this John replies by saying that it is the customers themselves who push AFS to innovate. “I have customers pushing me all the time,” he tells me.“As president of this company, I am probably talking to 3 to 5 market leaders every day. It’s a very exciting place to be; there is change every day.”
The lead that AFS has gained in its 45 years is due to its unflinching focus on what it does best, and by continuing to dive deeper into lending rather than branching out to other areas. Rather, AFS focuses on continuously evolving in response to dealings with customers and regulators, determined to remain at the forefront of innovation. Additionally, the benchmarking programs it conducts with banks include some well-known figures in the industry and high-end executives who are knowledgeable about credit processes, driving AFS to be better than before. With this commitment to innovation and listening to industry experience and demands, AFS holds an advantage its competitors will find difficult to overcome.
On the future, John concludes by saying, “There are some exciting innovations, like the use of block chain for instant communication and settlement and a lot more things like that, on the horizon we can apply to get more efficiency and more accurate information, and we believe the sky is the limit in applying those capabilities.”
Meet the Luminary: John Shain, President
John Shain founded Littlewood, Shain and Company (LSC) and merged with Automated Financial Systems, Inc. (AFS) where he has served as President since the merger. Under his direction, AFS continues to expand its leadership in provisioning best-in-class commercial lending solutions and industry benchmarking to top tier banks.
Mr. Shain has over 35 years’ experience in the financial services industry, is a contributing author of articles to banking and management publications, and frequently speaks on the subjects of commercial banking and the coordination of risk, pricing and data in the credit delivery process.
“Not only are we focused on the industry, we are also students of this industry.”
“Since 1970, we have combined technological innovation with financial expertise to provide the industry with leading credit and lending services every day.”