The Future of Banking and Credit Unions: Enhancing Member Services with Self-Service Portals, Automated Filing, and Data Sync

    Just as retail apps and ecommerce sites are replacing many people’s shopping mall experiences, banking apps and websites are taking the place of in-person banking for a growing number of people.

    A 2016 study found that 53% of smart phone users were participants in mobile banking, and this number continues to rise. Naturally, the stats are even higher amongst the tech-savvy Millennial generation. The Federal Reserve reported in 2016 that 67% of Millennials were using mobile banking.

    What does this all mean? That the banking experience is changing, and that banks and credit unions must keep up with their clients’ expectations if they’re going to keep them coming back for more. Here are three ways that banks can keep up with changing technology while, at the same time, keeping their patrons satisfied:

    Self-Service Portals

    As Tina Wadhwa puts it, “The days of traveling to your bank, waiting in line, and sitting down with a financial adviser to discuss your financial future are already a thing of the past for many. But experts think that, for most of us, the bank of the future will be entirely virtual.”

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    Online banking tools can go beyond simple balance checks, electronic bill pay, and transfers. Electronic forms can be hosted on client/member portals, allowing them to submit inquiries and requests. Need access to new member information? Find it on the self-service portal. Want to submit a credit card application? Visit the self-service portal. Have a question about what happens to your account when you spend money outside of your home country? Submit your question through the self-service portal. When an electronic form is submitted, it can kick off a custom workflow that will take care of any tasks that can be automated and then submit the prepared work to the appropriate bank employee when it is ready to be completed.

    It’s not that bankers can’t service these kinds of needs face-to-face. The fact is that many bank clients and credit union members would prefer to be self-educated and independent, and they’d consider the ability to take care of their banking needs online to be a benefit.

    Automated Filing

    Sure, self-service portals and mobile banking are fantastic benefits for patrons, but what about behind the scenes? What about the banking professionals that are tucked away in their offices, working away day after day, out of the public eye? They can take advantage of different technological developments, including automated filing and data synchronization.

    When documents are submitted, received, or generated – whether they’re loan applications, credit reports, or bank statements – these documents can be automatically filed away in your document management system. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software can read the important information on each document, and file it away in the appropriate place. These electronic documents can be found quickly through a search for any of the index values that are input by the OCR software. This may include account number, customer name, date, document type, and other pertinent information.

    It may not seem like automated filing would directly affect client or member services, but it does. In the long run, money and labor are saved through banking automation, allowing you to provide better, faster service to your patrons, while also making it possible for you to grow your customer base without having to add to your staff.

    Document management also makes audits easier to manage. When AgFirst, an organization that provides funding and financial services to farmer-owned financial cooperatives, implemented a document management and workflow automation solution, they found that the biggest benefit was how easy it was to make their systems available to external auditors. Mark Huff of AgFirst explains, “If we didn’t have this system currently, we would be paying a lot more for our external auditors to come in and review our loan files.”

    Data Sync

    Humans make mistakes. It happens! If you could do something to minimize human error, wouldn’t you do it? Banking automation allows you to push and pull data between your systems, ensuring that it’s all in sync. When your data entry is automated and then synced across all of your systems, you are able to eliminate 1) duplicate data entry tasks and 2) costly human error. Data is correct and up-to-date, and bank errors are a thing of the past.

    Keep in mind that this is only the beginning. The future of banking is built on a foundation of revolutionary technology, just like the future of many other industries. Business leaders that stay informed and make wise investments in technology will be the ones that succeed.

    For more information about how automation can better the experience of banking professionals as well as bank patrons, sign up for a free live demo of the DocuPhase Enterprise Automation Platform.

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