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  • Ian McCain

Why Automation is a Game-Changer for Credit Unions and Financial Services

files and documents autonomously driving through an office

Staying ahead of the curve in any market vertical is challenging. Advances in technology, changing consumer preferences, and ever-evolving compliance regulations all seem to coalesce to create this peculiar mix of opportunity seasoned with complexity. And yet, to truly thrive in the coming years, staying ahead will become the minimum expectation to be able to compete; it's a necessity. Not just because it is quickly becoming the baseline expectation for consumers, but because Digital Transformation initiatives are a process, meaning that it takes time to embrace the changes, and those organizations that are not keeping pace risk finding themselves in an insurmountable quest to catch up.

For credit unions and financial organizations, this means embracing technology now that can transform operations, enhance customer service, and streamline processes. This is where Process Automation can help reshape the way financial institutions operate, granting them the capability to stay ahead and the flexibility to continue to innovate, one automated task at a time.

Demystifying Process Automation

Despite its growing popularity, process automation is often met with skepticism and misconceptions. In fact, when some people hear the term "Automation," they picture factory assembly lines with futuristic robots constructing cars like a Lego structure, and many more fear that automation directly equates to job displacement or believe it's too complex to consider implementing. However, the reality is far more positive and transformative.

Process automation is not about replacing humans but instead is focused on empowering them to concentrate on high-value activities by offloading routine, repetitive tasks to software. It's about focusing on tasks that relate to the management of, and actions taken with, information and procedures. For simplicity's sake - think "Paperwork."

All "paperwork" follows processes, from approvals and organization, to correlation and filing. The sheer volume of documents produced—be it core banking reports, transaction records, regulatory filings, or loan documentation—underscores the imperative for efficient process and workflow automation to boost operational efficiency.

Most financial services organizations generate thousands of pages of documents every single day, meaning that every day is literally packed with the generation and management of documents. 

Process and workflow automation is designed to enhance operational efficiency by managing and automating these document-driven processes. But what does this look like in the context of credit unions and financial services organizations? Well, let's explore how a tool like OnBase can help facilitate real change.

Transforming Customer Service

In the financial services sector, customer satisfaction is paramount. Streamlining customer/member services by automating account opening processes, loan origination, and customer onboarding not only improves efficiency and accuracy but also improves the customer experience. Imagine a system where documents are automatically classified and indexed, reducing manual data entry errors and speeding up processing times. These improvements take the burden of performing tasks that are time-consuming but necessary away from workers, allowing them to engage in faster, more reliable personalized services.

Streamlining Back-Office Operations

Back-office operations in financial institutions are often bogged down by manual, paper-based processes. Process Automation transforms these operations through automated workflows for document management, approvals, and compliance tracking. For example, processing loan applications—a task that typically involves extensive paperwork and coordination—can be significantly expedited. Automated workflows ensure that applications are reviewed in a timely manner, documents are stored securely, and compliance is maintained, thereby reducing operational costs and enhancing efficiency.

Elevating Compliance and Risk Management

Compliance is a major concern for financial institutions, with regulations constantly evolving. Once again, OnBase aids in maintaining compliance through automated record-keeping and audit trails, ensuring that all actions are logged and documents are managed according to regulatory requirements. This not only simplifies compliance but also enhances risk management by providing clear visibility into processes and documents.

Fostering Integration and Future Readiness

Financial institutions must be prepared for the future landscape. This means maintaining an infrastructure capable of integrating and leveraging new and advanced tools that haven't even been released yet. There is an overwhelmingly positive shift in the marketplace for tools to "play well with others," meaning that API integrations between systems are becoming more common and desired.

A tool like OnBase grants the ongoing flexibility needed to enable process automation across platforms - pulling data and exchanging information through API connectivity, allowing organizations to take advantage of existing capabilities and facilitating a future state with greater integration and continuity in operations.

Embracing Process Automation

For application managers and process workers in credit unions and financial services, embracing process automation means stepping into a future where operations are more efficient, services are more responsive, and compliance is effortlessly maintained. It's a step towards not just keeping pace with the industry but setting the pace.

Time is always marching forward, my ever-changing hairline is proof of that, and process automation is one of the key steps an organization can take to ensure the efficiency, reliability, and innovation required to remain competitive in the coming years.

For credit unions and financial organizations looking to make a dramatic positive impact on their operations, the message is clear: the future is automated, and with OnBase, that future is now.


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