To effectively support its customers during Covid-19, HSBC commercial banking (CMB) needed to understand the exposure and impact on each business customers so it could take relevant action at a time of uncertainty. A single standard framework was needed to identify early indications of the health of commercial customers, while also being able to monitor the worsening economic situation.
For an organisation operating in over 50 countries and with customers ranging from SMEs to multi-nationals with local and global data systems using a variety of structures, platforms, definitions and access levels, this was a complex undertaking for CMB’s data and analytics team. Adding to the complexity was the strict lockdowns, especially in India, requiring teams to adjust to the remote working infrastructure while balancing work and family responsibilities.
In the first instance, a core group of senior data and analytics leaders from India, Hong Kong, Poland and the UK was set up. This group was tasked to conceptualise, plan, develop and refine requirements, then to deliver a first version of the product in three days.
To deal with such complexity at pace, a team of 40 analysts and data engineers in India was split into day and night squads to ensure every minute was utilised. A wealth of platforms supported communication between colleagues across time zones. Traditional agile and scrum techniques were compressed into hourly updates, while a stakeholder validated numbers and definitions at each step to ensure accuracy and quality. All the time, there was a constant eye on data governance, usage, conduct and other risks to ensure 100% adherence.
Within three days, all CMB customers worldwide were mapped and assessed across 50-plus measures and check-points, all captured in an interface with easy navigation and access controls in place. This allowed the CEO and leadership team to view a snapshot of customers impacted by Covid-19, then drill down by a wealth of variables including geography, segment and industry. Accessing weekly and monthly impact indicators, they could build simulations to identify hotspots of affected customers, using risk filters to view details as needed.
Using a wealth of early indicators, including balance changes, risk ratings, return on assets, changes in the behaviour of trade and payments, and stock price moves, the leadership team could take macro- and micro-decisions to develop bespoke offerings, contact strategies and risk mitigation initiatives.
Over time, additions and enhancements were delivered to fortify the impact assessments, improve the user interface. However, the core product was developed on the back of the initial three-day focus on version 1.0.