Digital Transformation for Credit Unions

Year on year Credit Unions are found to be one of the most trusted brands in Ireland. This is not surprising as credit unions are different from other financial institutions, not only because they are not-for-profit, but because decisions are made at a local level and tailored to the individual needs of their members.

However, Credit Unions must capitalise on marketplace changes and continue to develop their use of technology. As in other sectors, digital transformation is under way and provides opportunities to improve customer service, back office efficiency, decision making and governance. Credit unions have excellent market share and member trust but with increased competition, new regulations and architecture looming, they must refresh their approach.

The Paperless Credit Union

The Opportunity

Credit Unions are always looking for new ways to make transactions easier. Paperless banking, until recently, has only been associated with paperless statements. And this is right to some degree, but it’s only a small part of a much larger equation.

Paperless banking encompasses the entire Credit Union operation, from online banking to account management, including account opening. When we say, ‘paperless banking’, we are talking about all the practices we can automate and make available online to create more productive, environmentally friendly and user-friendly service interactions and transactions.

Members are happier because there are less forms to fill in, an improved sense of security and services are delivered in a much faster time frame.

Benefits of Paperless Banking

While some of the benefits of paperless banking may seem obvious, others are harder to envision at first. Productivity is one of those evident benefits resulting from paperless banking. Going paper-free can improve productivity by 30-40% with investments in paperless technology showing payback within 12-18 months.

Credit Union productivity improves 39 percent when electronic forms replace paper and workflows are used to streamline processes, according to AIIM research, which shows that there is significant scope within most Credit Unions to improve both staff productivity and customer response time by eliminating paper from the process. This can be especially true of Credit Unions due to their historical reliance on paper forms and the need for regulatory compliance.

Indeed, the paperless momentum of today’s Credit Unions is going strong, with more and more credit unions optimising advanced Information Management systems to support and improve customer service and engagement. An Information Management solution can also form the basis of operational management, providing collaborative project sites and searchable repositories for all types of day-to-day business content.

Data is at the Heart of the Member Relationship

Credit Unions are highly regulated, often needing to keep, store and process huge quantities of personal data. This is required by regulation, but also serves to give Credit Unions a platform to leverage and analyse data. More data allows for more insights to be made, providing personalised products and services in turn, turning in to a more suitable and appropriate offer for each member interaction, thus generating member loyalty, long-term relationships and profitability.

Paperless banking allows Credit Unions to meet compliance objectives much more easily. One of the ways it does this is by creating a digital audit trail that auditors can more easily analyse. Document workflows can be tracked from initial inbound documents to the workflow into the Credit Unions archive. This allows an electronic ‘chain of custody’ to be demonstrated to an auditor.

Member Relationships as New Sources of Value

Customer service and satisfaction should be one of the primary goals of any Credit Union. Making transactions easier enhances the members experience, promotes retention and they are therefore likely to spend more money within a Credit Union.

Paperless banking allows for a seamless and efficient user experience that can reduce the time of a transaction ten-fold. This easy functionality of service needs to translate seamlessly from desktop to mobile to tablet as well as to the communications channels, which will need to be multi-channel as some customers still have a requirement to interact on the phone, email, paper, through social media and at times in person.

Digital technology and good data workflows allow Credit Unions to share and update information on members and support cases on all of these channels and have them update quickly enough for it to be visible to all relevant employees. Ensuring that the case is handled at the same speed on all channels is also vital to making sure members are satisfied.

Digital Transformation: The Next Steps for Maximising Benefits Across the Credit Union

Credit Unions are making great progress toward eliminating paper-driven processes. Going paperless has opened the door to more efficient operations, lower costs, improved compliance and better knowledge management.

But Credit Unions still rely heavily on the physical flow of paper for customer-facing activities. Transporting paper across the Credit Union remains a major cost. And the disparate nature of Credit Union operations across multiple branches makes it harder to identify the problems and true costs associated with paper-driven processes.

To achieve a greater degree of paperless transformation, Credit Unions can take the following steps:

Adopt a holistic or Credit Union wide view

A successful approach to paperless transformation ensures all aspects related to operations, transportation, and retention or disposition are addressed. The investment required and the broad reach the solution will have throughout the Credit Union make it important that the effort is driven across all Credit Union operations.

Align paperless capabilities

Significant transformation requires alignment of paperless capabilities and communities of practice into a unified paperless strategy. This alignment allows Credit Unions to leverage their investment in paperless solutions and related expertise.

Understand the true cost of paper

Credit Unions typically allocate costs to either a front-end or back-office function without considering the costs incurred elsewhere in the organisation. An end-to-end cost-to-serve analysis of critical processes will help reveal the true overall cost of a piece of paper.

Effectively plan and manage the transformation

What are the gaps that must be addressed? How long does it take for a Credit Union moving toward a paperless environment to reach the maximum benefit? Is it a six-month or two-year effort? What are the have-to-haves and nice-to-haves? What is the timeline? All are critical questions that must be addressed along the multiple dimensions of people, process, culture and technology.

Contact Digital Documents today to discuss how we can support your Credit Union’s digital transformation with intelligent information management and business process automation solutions.

1850 69 39 09