Would Your Electronic Document Process Take You to the Championship?

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Wasn’t it exciting to see Tom Brady’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Patrick Mahomes’s Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl LV? Whether you’re a fan of Tom Brady or not, you can’t deny he knows how to execute and win football games no matter who he is playing for. There was always a part of me that thought that Tom Brady’s success was built on a system that Bill Belichick created in New England; however, it might be the system or winning mentality that Tom Brandy brought to New England. It sure seems like a lot of people who like to win football games have rallied around him throughout his career.

But what about your team? No, not your football team, your credit union team. Would you make it to the Credit Union Championship when facing off against the competition? What about when it comes to your credit union’s electronic document process? Would it even make it to the playoffs? Maybe, you’re stuck in a rut like some teams and still searching for that great coach or key player to get to the next level of competition. The good news for credit unions starting their electronic document journey is that every day gives you a new opportunity at success.

Easy ways to start training

I sure hope you have been practicing good electronic document techniques because your members will notice. If you’re not signing documents electronically in branch and sending documents out through eSign, you’re already getting beaten by the competition. The tools are widely available, so let’s jump into the game.

If you’re still using fax, USPS, UPS, or FedEx to sign documents, you should rethink your process. Here are some good ideas of electronic document process that your credit union could get started with:

  • Signing documents electronically in branch
  • Sending documents out for eSign through email
  • Saving receipts, loan, and membership packages in your electronic archive for retrieval
  • Saving accounts payable, HR documentation, and board minutes electronically
  • Giving secure document channels for you to send and receive documents from your members
  • Sending receipts electronically to the member instead of printing them

Make a gameplan

While you’re looking into developing these processes or just getting started, here are some key thoughts to keep in mind to help give you and edge:

  • Becoming 100% paperless is not easy and is expensive. Take a different approach: make 90% of the process paperless and make conscious decisions about what’s left. Also keep in mind not to make the last 10% of the process so hard that it makes people not want to use the 90% that is easy.
  • Understand who and what the process is for. If the process is electronic to make it easier or more convenient for the member, understand that it might not always be as easy or convenient for the staff.
  • If the process seems wrong or difficult, it might be. You’d be surprised how often people find themselves completing processes just because they have always done it that way. Challenge your processes and make sure they are working the way they are designed. There might be an easier and more effective way. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
  • Understand culture – don’t start with your fence sitters. I have found it super helpful when starting document processes to work with the couple of people who are comfortable with change. Let them test your new process and become the experts. They can help move your fence sitters to your side of thinking.
  • Back scanning – is it worth it? Yes, but only in some circumstances. It takes a lot of time to get documents scanned, corrected, and stored so you can retrieve them in the future. I only recommend that credit unions back scan items that need to be stored forever or if the cost of storage is more than it costs to pay your staff to scan them in over the life of the project.

Take time to prepare

Tom Brady did not play in his first season in the NFL. He sat behind another starting quarterback. He had his first year to plan and prepare for his starting position in 2001 when he won his first championship. I hope your credit union starts to plan and prepare now. That way you can start working remotely with your members and give them the convenience that electric documents provide. If you ever need a coach to help you through this process, please reach out to me and we can create a playbook for your electronic document success.

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