BY PEM GUERRY
With business increasingly being conducted online, electronic signatures are going nowhere. On top of their safety and security benefits, they have a lot to offer credit unions, including greater online lending and increased cost savings. These three facts will ensure the validity of your CU’s e-signatures.
Whether consumers are shopping for a new home or securing a car loan, mobile transactions are here to stay. Today’s credit union customers expect convenience, and they’re foregoing long lines and instead conducting business online. That’s why credit unions are increasingly using e-signatures. They keep the digital process secure and enable customers to safely sign documents anywhere they have internet access – from work, home or even their local soccer complex. Plus, electronic signatures can provide credit unions with the potential for more online lending and cost savings.
In 2016, total credit union loan balances rose more than 10 percent, according to the Credit Union National Association (CUNA), which is the fastest pace since 2005. The economic outlook for credit unions in 2017 looks just as rosy, with a projected 2.5 percent growth. CUNA also predicts credit union membership will grow by 3.5 percent and loans will grow 10 percent in 2017.
With such an optimistic outlook, we expect to see more credit unions going digital and incorporating a secure e-signature solution – a win-win for both the member and the credit union. For example, Alamo Federal Credit Union, a leading credit union in San Antonio, Texas, made the switch from paper loans to digital ones and has since experienced significant cost savings and increased customer satisfaction.
Before the addition of e-signatures, there was one step of the loan application process that continually frustrated Alamo members and employees alike: the signature. Credit union members who lived out of town, or even those who lived nearby and were simply time-crunched, often had trouble making the time to visit a branch and sign loan documents. Alamo has always focused on providing excellent customer service, and the credit union saw this challenge as the perfect opportunity to introduce e-signatures. It chose to implement cloud-based digital signatures, a highly secure type of electronic signature that permanently embeds all legal evidence in each signature, encrypts documents and ensures greater document security and integrity.
Many credit unions feature digital signature technology as part of their overall concierge banking services. “Our members love it because it’s convenient for them and very simple to use,” said Alicia Alvarez, loan manager at Alamo. “It allows them to sign from virtually anywhere.”
Adoption of Alamo’s digital process has grown quickly, with the number of digitally signed documents more than doubling year over year since 2012.