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CASPER, Wyo. – Step-by-step, the paperless office is taking shape at Reliant Federal Credit Union. The $55 million institution is among the first of the more than 700 credit unions served by core technology provider IntegraSys to deploy the Fiserv unit’s Web-based document storage systems. Two of the software platforms that Reliant has been using for about a year now are the Loan Advantage lending system – which includes digital signature capture and storage – and the e-fichency document archiving and storage system, which CEO Steve Higginson calls “one of the greatest products that’s come out in the past few years.” He says, “We use it for everything we scan and store electronically, and we’re even trying to catch up with our old loan documents now stored on paper in our file room. We’re also trying to do the same with board packets. “Basically, our intention is essentially to take any paper we use in the credit union and instead create and store it electronically off site.” Besides saving physical space, the Web-based storage and archival system also provides disaster recovery backup “in case we have a fire or tornado or some other major problem in our own facility,” Higginson says. “The Loan Advantage and e-fichency systems also both really help us improve efficiency between our three branches in two cities, one of them 50 miles away in Douglas,” Higginson says. “Because it’s accessible over the Web, we can share documents and pull up a lot of documents wherever and whenever we need them. “How much paper are we actually saving? It’s still a little early for us to say yet, but we do anticipate with the other enhancements coming along, we’ll start to see hundreds of dollars a month in savings,” he says. “It’s coming in steps.” The step-by-step process works for both cultural and technical reasons, says Sara Brooks, senior vice president for strategy and offerings development at Texas-based IntegraSys. “Electronic, paperless processing is really new to a lot of our clients, so we talk to them about implementing it in steps,” she says. “Sometimes they just want one feature, such as capturing IDs, and then not use anything else until they absorb that and see how they want to use it. Then they can think about moving onto the next step, perhaps loan documents.” As Tim Watson, who heads up IntegraSys’ imaging systems, says, “It’s like with any new approach to how you do your work. The key with paperless processing is to make your life easier, not more complicated.” That said, the process has not been without hiccups at Reliant FCU. “We knew when we went with this program as one of the first adapters that there would be some problems,” Higginson says. “But we have a great IT administrator here who really enjoys these kinds of challenges. “And we also knew IntegraSys would be willing to work with us and resolve them to our satisfaction, and so far there has been nothing to discourage us from wanting to go forward,” he says. Higginson also has this to say about being among the first to go first: “We’ve discovered that if we’re out there on the leading edge, we’re in a good position to get the enhancements that are particularly valuable to us. That’s because we’re still in the time frame where IntegraSys is adapting and correcting things. “If we come along later, it can limit the options.” Many of the options coming along now will center on integration points, with the focus on automating more of the document creation and storage processes, the company says. For instance, Brook says, coming up soon is the ability to capture receipts at the teller line without having to scan them into the e-fichency system. “That’s something we’re very interested in,” says Higginson at 8,600-member Reliant FCU. “Right now we’re scanning teller receipts and then keeping the paper copy for a few months. Soon, we’ll be able to print the receipt for the member but our copy will be automatically converted electronically and stored instantly.” Other integration points in the works, IntegraSys says, are share draft and ACH notices, exceptions reports for share draft, ATM and ACH functions, ACH origination activity and accounting reports. “The good news is that the technology is here now. We can do all these things today,” Brooks says. “Now it’s just as much about making sure everyone’s comfortable with how they’re applied.” -

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