Workflow: 3 ways credit unions can use it to take document management to the next level

To kick off the new year, I like to reflect on the trends and movement of financial services IT from the past year. While looking through my notes from customer meetings and tradeshows, I found one circled and starred among the scribble:

 “10 Tips for Increasing Technology and Operational Efficiency: Best Practices from the CUNA Technology Council”

 #1 suggestion: Increase efficiencies by implementing electronic workflow

This was an enlightening moment for me. In the past, credit unions have focused so much time and effort on making content electronic that they simply haven’t had the time for the process part of it. But, a couple years ago, they quickly found that in order to meet their members’ needs and stay afloat, they need to re-evaluate processes and find more efficient ways to get work done. This session clearly reflected this notion.Workflow-3 ways credit unions can use it to take document management to the next level

But that number one suggestion – Increase efficiencies by implementing electronic workflow – was just that – one suggestion. To give a bit more meat to it, and to kick off the new year right for credit unions’ process automation, here are three situations where credit unions can benefit from workflow:

1. Loan operations departments – “Paid Off” report

If you’ve ever worked in the loan operations department, you know that this Paid Off report comes daily. The team then must determine if overpayment refunds are required or collateral needs to be released or returned. Then, they must also initiate record retention periods for the loan files. Using a workflow to identify these triggers and then automatically flowing the related document(s) or information through a lifecycle of pre-configured work queues is where the power of workflow really shines.

2. Mortgage origination process

Here’s a great example of a process that involves lots of different systems. The mortgage loan origination system (LOS) has an internal workflow that collects data in the application phase of the process. Ultimately, it places loan requests into a status or queue for the underwriters to make their decisions.

When underwriters retrieve loans from the queue, they have access to all of the information that the originators entered. In most cases, they also receive paper loan files with the supporting documents. This is where content management and workflow can play a role. By letting the LOS do what it does best (handling data and transactional workflow) and integrating the documents and data in the ECM system to the LOS, users are able to stay in the business application they are most comfortable with. In the end, you gain efficiencies like increased productivity and happier staff. 

3. Maintaining a mortgage loan

The LOS is designed to be transactional so the images are tied to that one mortgage transaction. But, that often causes the documents to be held hostage in that system. By moving the images into the ECM archive and enabling workflow, documents can be shared with other applications – and more importantly, other departments – that may not have access to the LOS. In addition, the LOS does not have record retention capabilities, so when the loan is paid off there is no way to begin a retention period and delete the document image when the retention period expires.

The day has come: Credit unions have had the big “aha” moment: Even the best core systems can’t get rid of paper and the costs and slow processes that go along with it. Now, it’s time to put these suggestions in to practice and take advantage of workflow.

Sam Mazzola

Sam Mazzola

What do you get when you mix a certified Microsoft trainer, five years of experience at a large banking institution and an MBA in Information Systems? The answer – you... read more about: Sam Mazzola