Financial Institutions Electronically Sign in Any Channel

Mary Ellen Power, August 25, 2013
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In the past 12 months, 88.5 million Americans have tried to open a financial account online or on a mobile device reports Javelin Strategy & Research. "The overarching strategic challenge is to weave these multiple channels into a consistent, uniform, branded experience. FIs must prepare for a customer who researches an account online, starts an application online or on a mobile device, initiates a chat session or phones a call center, transmits supporting documents with a smartphone, and still might opt to visit a branch to seal the deal. The key is to enable the customer to decide," said Mark Schwanhausser, Director of Omnichannel Financial Services at Javelin Strategy & Research in the press release announcing the findings of the study.

Banks, credit unions, mortgage companies and businesses in general need to embrace this trend in order to stay competitive. Incorporating an e-signature solution with digital signature technology is a reliable way to electronically sign regardless of the preferred consumer channel.

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E-signature initiatives offer a very favorable return on investment for customer satisfaction, operations and sales:

  • Sharonview Federal Credit Union members are also being provided the convenience of e-signatures. "We believe ‘online’ is the direction the market is going," said Sharonview Federal Credit Union’s Chief Information Officer, Mark Johnson. "E-signatures make sense for us not only from a competitive standpoint but also to help us meet compliance requirements like the 48 hour window to deliver mortgage disclosures – for that reason we’ll be investing additionally to automate mortgage and other processes including member applications."
  • Signature Bank, a privately funded bank in Illinois, considers it a top priority to deliver smooth and simple banking experiences to its customers. According to Anne C. Doligale, Senior Vice President at Signature Bank, the bank’s e-signature solution "eliminates all of the complexity that comes with switching banks and adding products. Now we are getting back documents more quickly and accurately and with much less effort on the part of our customer."
  • North Peace Savings and Credit Union also sees the value of e-signatures. According to CEO Mitchel Chilcott, "Member experience is a strong driver for many financial organizations that choose to implement electronic signatures. We're adding convenience and speed for members while eliminating inefficiencies like printing, tagging, scanning and shredding -- it's a win-win for everyone."
  • "Providing the ability for our members, who are disbursed across a wide geographic area, to sign documents from anywhere creates an edge that allows us to compete with larger financial institutions. We are offering a higher level of service which today is important to retaining existing and attracting new members," said Kathy Clark, vice president of sales, service and operations with Teachers Credit Union.
  • As a small regional operation, Signature Mortgage did not have the budget or IT resources needed to build, purchase or support the types of electronic signature solutions in which its large national competitors were investing. Rather than compromising, the mortgage company turned to e-signatures to stay lean and efficient without missing a beat on technological advances. Because there was no hardware or software to purchase, integrate or deploy, the solution was up and running within 48 hours. With-signatures, Signature Mortgage has been able to complete 98 percent of loans completed electronically; process applications in 24-48 hours vs. 7-10 days; close loans in less than 25 days vs. the industry average 45-60 days; and reduce shipping costs by 85 percent.

For financial institutions that are skeptical about jumping in feet first, start small to go big. Proof of concept and pilot implementations are common. It is also a good practice to take the first step with an implementation for the highest value transactions and then expand the solution across the enterprise.

For more information about e-signatures, download the Electronic Signature Guide for Credit Unions or the Electronic Signatures for Banking whitepaper.