by. Michelle Harbinak Shapiro, Hyland Software
While March Madness might be heaven for college basketball fans, credit unions are the ones really racking up the points. In 2012, they reported record earnings, according to SNL Financial. In fact, the industry recorded a 34 percent jump in net income over 2011. That’s a statistic that would even make Duke proud.
However, along with growth in earnings, new memberships and loan applications comes increased paper use. That also means increases in the costs to store, ship and print all that paper. Meanwhile, simple tasks – like retrieving a document or a file – become exponentially harder and more time consuming. Eventually, paper either becomes an issue for a thriving credit union or management uses technology to ease the burden.
Your key sixth player: ECM
That’s where a document management system saves the day. Document management – also called enterprise content management (ECM) – enables credit unions to decrease their dependency on paper to:
- Cut costs
- Increase productivity
- Reduce risks
When considering any IT project, the biggest concerns are how much it will cost to implement and how big of a disruption it will cause. You need to balance the cost of the project with the operational savings and efficiencies you’ll gain. Like any clutch sixth player, the right document management solution works in the background – supporting your systems and users in more ways than they’ll ever know.
A winning game plan: get faster and more accurate to improve service
Centralizing documents and information is key to providing winning member service. With an all-star document management solution, you streamline operations by scanning all documents contained in and associated with a member file – or even a loan application – into one central system where they’re immediately accessible to the entire organization. It also easily integrates with other core systems, keeping users working in programs they’re familiar with and sharing information across platforms. With fast access to more information in their familiar applications, employees quickly answer member questions.
Document management also gives employees the ability to attach notes to documents within the member file to track information and provide additional member knowledge to better serve them.
Moving to a paperless environment eliminates the need to print and store multiple copies of loan files and drastically reduces shipping needs among geographically dispersed branches. This provides significant cost savings as well as protection from disaster, theft or loss. It also gives your credit union the ability to answer prospective and current member questions faster than your competition.
Adding further speed, agility and accuracy to the team, automatic indexing decreases the risk of human error when naming files, increasing the ability to find them across the enterprise. And with electronic document workflow automatically forwarding documents through processes, you optimize communication among employees and between branches.
A strong defense
The best defense is a strong offense. Storing member data on paper leaves your credit union vulnerable to data theft or natural disasters. If you don’t image paper documents like loan files, you run the risk of information being difficult to find or even lost.
With document management, you ensure a high level of security with passwords and document access based on user rights. The system tracks all activities providing file security and employee accountability. It also creates audit trails that help comply with regulations and make it easy to prepare for audits. And since data is stored electronically with secure backups, credit unions always have access to important information.
The final shot
The biggest challenge for any servicing operation that wants to be a champion is how to manage the massive volume of documents and files the lending process creates. Through the use of document management, credit unions of all sizes are able to image, store, manage and access electronic documents in a way that suits the individual business need, ensuring greater security and increased efficiencies.
Watching college hoops in March is a lot more fun than jumping through hoops to find what you need to do your job. Look into document management to ensure everyone on your team is playing to their fullest potential.