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The electronic signature, or e-signature, is catching on quickly in several industries. Financial institutions (FI) are finding it especially beneficial. This comes as no surprise, considering the vast quantities of paperwork that many financial transactions require.

While e-signature has not quite gone mainstream, it shouldn’t be long before it becomes as commonplace as ATMs and Internet banking. In no particular order, here are 10 compelling reasons why FIs need to implement e-signature, together with a full-featured web-based customer engagement solution:

10. Decrease environmental impact.

E-signature adoption helps FIs reduce their considerable paper and ink usage. In addition, it lowers the quantity of paper in landfills and recycling plants. Going fully digital also diminishes the carbon footprint associated with, for instance, transportation and storage.

9. Eliminate paperwork errors.

Over 50% of paper applications submitted to FIs require revision because they’re incomplete or missing signatures. Corrections to up to 30% of documents across all lines of business cost FIs hundreds of millions of dollars collectively. E-signature ensures that FIs save these unnecessary expenses; it’s also good for brand and customer experience since customers and members don’t have to return to their branches to fill in missing information, or approve post-close amendments to their agreements.

8. Boost efficiency and productivity.

E-signature speeds up the sales cycle, which leads to higher close rates and sales volumes. Customers can complete transactions that start online during a web-based face-to-face meeting with one to several experts. This is obviously much more favorable than being forced to visit their branch to take care of paperwork. E-signature has been proven to cut days off the mortgage origination process; its use in other FI business processes has resulted in turnaround times of minutes or hours rather than days or weeks. FIs that have replaced manual paper-based processes with automated and electronic processes have experienced efficiency improvements of 70 to 80%.

7. Simplify the mortgage process.

Getting a mortgage is perhaps the most complex transaction that a consumer can experience with their FI. It is a time-consuming process that involves several parties, and several signatures. Despite the fact that the paperless mortgage may not be just around the corner, a comprehensive online communication and collaboration tool that includes e-signature could help FIs achieve this objective sooner than they expect. Banks and credit unions now have access to a solution that is easy to integrate into their existing in-house mortgage software.

6. Superior security and enforceability.

E-signature is time-stamped and not subject to tampering, physical damage, theft, loss, and illegibility in the way paper documents with ink signatures are. Both customers and FIs have accurate, up-to-date, printable records of all signed agreements, forms, applications, etc. The technology ensures signer authentication, and all parties can easily identify the owners of each signature and track changes to documents at any time.

5. Improve customer understanding of the documents they’re signing.

Increasing numbers of consumers are reading FI documents online before signing them electronically. As a result, more people have been connecting with staff at their FIs for explanations of more complicated sections of these materials. To enhance consumer understanding, FIs can now use a complete web-based solution that enables consumers to meet face-to-face with experts to go through, fill in, and sign documents in one session.

4. Improve customer experience and satisfaction.

Consumers have come to expect instant gratification in all their transactions, banking being no exception. E-signature delivers exactly what they want – the convenience of signing documents when, where, and on whatever device they choose. The opportunity to meet experts and complete forms online in an application that also includes e-signature adds considerable convenience, while maintaining the personal touch that consumers also require when completing major financial transactions.

3. Cut operational costs associated with paperwork.

In addition to slashing on-premises costs (e.g. paper, ink, printers, copiers, maintenance), e-signature lowers expenditures stemming from storage, couriers, mail handling, preparing, scanning and indexing mail into FI image systems, record destruction, and auditing loan packages to ensure policy and regulatory compliance. A Silanis white paper on e-signatures and banking reveals that FIs using e-signature have reported savings of up to 85% on document mailing and transportation. The paper also shows how a top 5 bank cut costs associated with loan documents by 80% by replacing manual paper-processing with a digital signature and storage solution.

2. Cut branch maintenance costs.

Last year, Accenture reported that the 25 largest US retail banks spend in excess of $50 billion each year on maintaining more than 43,000 branches nationwide, and that opening a new branch costs more than $2 million on average. In spite of declining foot traffic, the branch remains the cornerstone of the FI-consumer relationship. Combining e-signature with real-time video communication and collaboration enables FIs to staff their branches with a few specialists who can connect customers with remote experts. Consumers get the personal touch they want from their branch, plus the convenience of taking care of everything online. FIs save on branch maintenance and operational costs that come with manual paper processing.

1. Increase revenue, accelerate ROI.

E-signature shortens transaction processes, meaning that experts can close more transactions in less time. Silanis reports that a top 5 US bank cut its consumer lending application process from 16 steps to four, dramatically boosting its closing rate. A top 5 US mortgage provider saw 90% of its customers choosing to e-sign applications online, resulting in a closing rate that was 15% higher than that of hand-signed documents. FIs can expect their investments into an e-signature solution to pay off in two years; a complete digital solution that accelerates the customer journey from contact to contract is highly likely to pay off in even less time.

eFace2Face features a highly secure dynamic electronic signature process, together with HD audio and video, real-time content sharing and co-editing, multipoint calling and sharing, and location-based call routing. Meet company CEO Dave Patten face-to-face to learn more.