Deploying anywhere, anytime electronic signature technology has helped Bellco Credit Union do more with the same.
The cost of handling loans has been halved for Bellco since it launched the e-signature service in late 2008, allowing the credit union to handle three times the volume of loan modifications without adding staff.
"I can't say we're saving money because we reduced our head count, but we did create the ability to handle a 300% increase in loan modification volume without increasing head count," said Ryan Klassen, director of lending services at Bellco in Greenwood Village, Colo.
"We also have reduced the turnaround time from two weeks to minutes, and almost instantaneous completion in some cases, often before the member is off the phone."
Bellco uses the DocuSign e-signature solution through its IA Systems Velocity automated lending platform. E-signatures are now used in 93% of unsecured small business lines of credit and credit card documents and more than 80% of loan modifications. (Colorado counties' specific requirements for lien perfection prohibit electronic signatures for first mortgages, Klassen said.)
Being able to handle increased volume while cutting paper and process costs and maintaining staff levels isn't just good for the credit union's bottom line-it's also good for its 191,000 members, Klassen said.
Besides enabling them to complete loan applications without having to go to a branch in sprawling, mountainous Colorado, Bellco is "helping more members modify their loans and keep in decent credit standing, while reducing our loan losses by reducing the risk that members won't sign the documents and end up in default," Klassen said.
The electronic signing technology is offered remotely as a Software-as-a-Service and can be done on a PC, BlackBerry, iPhone or iPad, said Doug Wheeler, vice president of marketing at DocuSign in Seattle.
"You can basically sign from any specific browser and now we have companies building applications and putting them, for instance, in the app stores and making money on them themselves," Wheeler said. "Regardless of how it's delivered, the whole idea is that the whole process is secure and that it looks exactly the same as it should regardless of how it's accessed."
Klassen said DocuSign's business has tripled in the past year or so to more than 20,000 clients, including more than 60 credit unions, as institutions have deployed e-signatures as part of efforts to increase efficiency in general. Outside financial services, major clients include American Airlines, Comcast, Expedia, Yamaha and Prudential Realty, he said.
DocuSign said it has handled more than 78 million signature events to date. Its experience is not unique, according to a Forrester Research analyst. Now 10 years since they were first enabled by President Bill Clinton's signature on the E-Sign Act, "E-signatures have been finding traction among companies of all sizes, particularly as part of overall business process automation initiatives," said the think firm's Bill Nagel, who authored a report on the e-signature market earlier this year.
"The market today is composed of an old guard of companies that have been offering e-signature solutions for a decade or more and generally come from a background of on-premises offerings, and a spate of newer firms that usually offer e-signatures only in a SaaS context," he said.
DocuSign is in the latter group and is by far the largest provider among the nine major providers studied for the report.
"Security and risk management teams in the financial services industry--including banking, insurance and home and auto lenders--are furthest ahead as they try to reach customers via the Web," Nagel said.
"Companies in other verticals are showing increasing interest and looking to automate internal-facing processes as part of their efficiency and paperwork elimination efforts.
"Overall, the market is relatively small but we expect a big uptick in 2010."
Wheeler at DocuSign said e-signature technology is the future. "Everybody needs to go in that direction if they want to stay competitive."