Credit Union Signs Up For Capture Solution
The CSC Group of Michigan developed an e-signature application that meets tough auditing standards and won over a five-branch credit union customer.
Since President Bill Clinton legitimized the use of e-signatures in 2000, customers in vertical markets such as financial services have been looking at how it can reduce costs and increase efficiency by reducing paper. It was at about the same time that software developer and systems integrator VuCom Data Services, Inc. (Lansing, MI) (now doing business as The CSC Group of Michigan) launched an e-signature capture solution to appeal to its financial services customers, including Lansing Autoworkers Federal Credit Union (LAFCU) (Lansing, MI).
When LAFCU adopted document management and reporting in 2000, its CIO Brian Wixson wanted a complete solution that included e-signatures. One of the account executives from The CSC Group provided services to the CIO when he worked at another credit union and secured the opportunity to pitch a solution. Facing competition from a core processing vendor, CSC's ability to provide e-signature capability was a key differentiator, according to Sean Laurell, CDIA+, director of technical services for the CSC Group.
The credit union decided to convert the majority of its consumer loan activity to an entirely electronic solution. One hurdle to that was the use of e-signatures. The law was signed, but the practical applications of the legislation still left questions. Some solutions captured the signature as a separate file, but CSC saw that lawmakers in many states were leaning toward a solution that made the image part of the entire document. "Each state is different. For the most part, e-signatures are acceptable - with caveats. How you sign is important." CSC's e-signature software captures the signature and permanently and unalterably affixes it to the loan document, which is saved as a single TIFF (tagged image file format) image.
Branded And Third Party Products Provide End-To-End Solution
When a LAFCU member fills out an application for a new RV, the loan officer reviews the paperwork with him on a computer screen. Instead of signing a paper version, the member uses a Transaction Team 1500 signature capture terminal from HHP (Skaneateles Falls, NY) to "sign" the online application. The image of the loan application is captured and indexed using Phoenix eSign, a product developed by CSC using the PixTools/EZ SDK (software developer's kit) from Pixel Translations (San Diego). Loans, or portions of loans, that must be scanned are captured using Phoenix Capture. Phoenix Capture was designed for use in the integrator's own Midwest service bureau operations. CSC has built a recurring revenue stream by offering it to customers. One of the key features is a simplistic user screen, which was designed to reduce user training, especially in environments with significant employee turnover.
Phoenix Capture supports both semi-automated indexing and manual data entry. The images are maintained and retrieved using SERsynergy from SER Solutions, Inc. (Dulles, VA). When a member calls for information about an account, a customer service representative can pull up the loan document through the SERsynergy interface from any of the credit union's five branches.
SERsynergy also gathers other file types, including print streams from the credit union's core processing application, reports, statements, loans, and signature cards from this single interface. An ERM (enterprise report management) module allows the credit union to generate automated reports from these diverse sources. Using SER's report manager, these reports are made available online to users at all locations.
About 80% or more of the consumer loan applications are processed electronically. When circumstances require a customer to physically sign the multipage loan document, the applications are scanned using a Boweuml; Bell & Howell (Chicago) 8080D. This 160 ipm (images per minute) scanner is also used to scan a number of other documents, including a backfile conversion of signature cards for 65,000 members. CSC offers support and maintenance for the software applications and provides hardware service agreements through distributor NewWave Technologies, Inc. (Gaithersburg, MD).
Offer Continuous Customer Service Improvements
Laurell states LAFCU's main objective in implementing the solution was customer service. "Savings was part of the decision," he comments. "But they also felt a strong need to be technically advanced and competitive and saw that as more important than savings. Being able to provide first call resolution is a key to internal operations and keeps members happy."
At this point LAFCU is using the CSC solution mainly for document management and retrieval. A solution is also in development to make images of signature cards available at each teller station for comparison to incoming documents. Because Phoenix Capture also provides workflow capabilities, CSC may also have the opportunity to automate other processes such as loan approvals.
E-Signatures Offer Horizontal Opportunities
With a sizable percentage of its customer base in the financial services vertical, CSC is realizing a significant return on its eSign software. "We built it for LAFCU and then took it to other customers. E-signatures are the hottest topic among credit union customers, and we are leading with that capability in many cases."
Despite the advantages in financial services applications, Laurell sees e-signature capture as a horizontal technology that can be employed anywhere a page is printed for the sole purpose of allowing someone to sign it, such as invoice approval and medical documents.