The value of implementing a cloud-based document management platform for credit unions is clear in terms of the benefits it offers such as:
- Streamlining operations;
- Improving productivity;
- Creating workflow efficiencies;
- Enabling a remote workforce;
- Addressing regulatory requirements; and
- Offering an elevated member experience.
In order to maximize these benefits for your credit union, the following key considerations should be evaluated. These capabilities are the basic functions that any document storage solution should deliver to your credit union:
- Allow your credit union to implement cloud-based document management and collaborative workflow affordably and easily.
- Customize the platform to your credit union’s specific workflows in each business unit.
- Create an organized and flexible filing architecture and system that can support your entire staff and member needs.
- Offer file sharing and remote access capabilities for employees.
- Provide eSignature access to staff, members and third-party vendors.
- Meet all FINRA and other financial data requirements.
- A streamlined process for onboarding users.
Let’s look at each of these functions in greater detail to see how utilizing the right document management platform has the potential to completely reshape your credit union.
- Implement a cloud-based document management and collaborative workflow affordably and easily. With a cloud-based document management solution, all storage resources are owned and managed by a third-party vendor, so your credit union does not have to worry about the expense or ongoing maintenance of keeping a server up and running for this purpose. The monthly costs are generally a fraction of an in-house server with none of the work—which provides significant relief on staff and budgetary resources.
- Customize the platform to your credit union’s specific workflows in each business unit. Depending on the platform you use, each area of your credit union can customize its own filing structure and customize levels of access for employees and members as well.
For example, in the case of members opening a personal checking account or applying for a car or home equity loan, a cloud-based document management platform can make the process simple and seamless, eliminating the need for them to be inundated with paper forms and the need to make a trip to a credit union office to collect paperwork, deliver information and sign documents, thus elevating the member experience. In addition this kind of workflow reduces the workload for staff and can enable universal employee access to the information, in order to provide a seamless experience with every member transaction.
- Create an organized and flexible filing architecture and system that can support your entire staff and member needs. Using a cloud-based document management system that offers a flexible filing structure, your credit union can customize the set up and structure of electronic files to meet the specific requirements of your organization and any files that your members need to access. In addition, platforms such as SmartVault allow customized reminders and notifications to be created for individual users.
- Offer file sharing and remote access capabilities for employees. Now that remote work has become a necessity due to the public health crisis of coronavirus and is likely to be a lasting trend, being able to offer employees off-site, secure access to your credit union’s documents is essential.
When you use a cloud-based document management platform to provide remote work functionality, you eliminate the need for a costly third-party system such as a VPN, GoToMyPC or a hosted desktop environment. Each employee can simply log in securely from their phone or laptop with their username and password, gaining access to only the files they have been granted permissions for, allowing them to be productive anytime, anywhere.
- Provide eSignature capabilities to staff, members and third-party vendors. An important consideration for credit unions when selecting a cloud-based document management platform is the ability of your credit union to utilize e-signature capabilities. This not only makes it easier and more convenient to get loan and other key documents signed remotely, it also increases the security of these documents and the sensitive data they contain as well.
- Meet all FINRA and other financial data security requirements. The ability of your credit union to meet all compliance requirements for internal and member data is essential. Unless your credit union custom builds (and continually updates) a costly IT infrastructure to meet all current compliance and security requirements, you will need to rely on the features of your document storage solution to ensure these requirements are met.
Solutions such as SmartVault offer financial institution-level security that complies with FINRA and also offers encryption of all documents when they are stored on the platform’s servers as well as when they are in transit over the internet.
- A streamlined process for onboarding users. The ease of which new users can be added to your credit union’s document management and workflow platform is a critical consideration. The ability to have a meaningful and effective level of adoption depends on your credit union’s ability to onboard both internal users and external users quickly and effectively. Ensuring that the document management platform you choose is intuitive and provides support to help onboard your credit union staff, members and other stakeholders is something that should be evaluated before making a selection.
There’s no disputing the fact that electronic and paper documents flow in seemingly endless supply throughout credit unions: from administrative and operational departments such as human resources and finance; to internal loan and proof processing; through member-facing services. How these documents are managed and how staff and external stakeholders interact and access them must be evaluated in accordance with a credit union’s operational, security and service protocols. The seven key considerations discussed above are the ideal starting points for your credit union to evaluate the best cloud-based document management platform for its unique needs.