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By digitizing customer records, operational records, and legacy records, banks can gain improvements in accessibility, efficiency, and compliance.
When the chief banking officer of a $10.3B community bank visited a competing super-regional branch in her suburban New Jersey neighborhood, she noticed something troubling.
Piles upon piles of paper crowded the branch manager’s desk and cluttered the nearby credenza. Set amid an open floor plan, the stacks of files left sensitive customer information—business and personal, loans and deposits—available for all to see.
Today’s rapidly rising rate environment is driving activity across the country’s 72,000 bank branches. Those branches, and their operational sites and processing centers, are full of paper. As most banks maintain a hybrid of physical and digital records, front-line branch associates struggle to provide a friendly, frictionless customer experience.
What the chief banking officer understood while visiting a competitor’s branch was both the complexity and the necessity of digital transformation, including paperless initiatives. Her bank, currently undergoing an acquisition, has conducted five mergers in the past ten years and consolidated approximately 40 branches. In each case, they contended with volumes of new and decades-old paperwork.
By digitizing customer records, operational records, and legacy records, banks like the one led by the chief banking officer see improvements in key areas: accessibility, efficiency, and compliance.
Some market analysts predict the extinction of paper banking in the next decade. In response, leading financial services organizations employ cloud-based solutions combined with artificial intelligence.
Of the top 50 US banks, 46 work with Iron Mountain, a company known in the intelligent document processing and content services platform markets. More than 2,500 financial services institutions, almost all Fortune 1000 companies, and thousands of local enterprises rely on Iron Mountain’s solutions and services.
These industry leaders are hastening a digital transformation—one that promises to show a return on investment in less than 18 months, reduce the risks of non-compliance, and save 40% of employee time.
Working with bank branches, Iron Mountain experts customize the right software implementation and integration with existing systems. Ultimately, they find the most efficient and risk-averse ways to scan, process, and securely store or destroy physical documents. Electronic information gets encrypted with restricted access and role-based permissions. Documents from other locations, such as cloud repositories, enterprise content management systems, and file shares, can be accessed for enhanced visibility and connection. Using optical character recognition technology, documents are searchable by text or index, available for many file types and in many languages.
Though reducing space-hogging stores of paper does shrink the branch footprint, “it’s not really about the paper. It’s about the data within those documents,” said Olivia Markbreiter, a Principal Advisor at Iron Mountain.
“When you open a customer file, you really can be reading their life story: when they opened their account, if they have a spouse’s account, if they have their children’s accounts or a business account,” Markbreiter said. “So, the challenge here is not just about paper but how we get all this data into a digital format and a unified customer profile.”
That customer profile helps the branch optimize customer service, as does the use of technology to sort paper files rather than assigning tellers to the task.
Artificial intelligence technology—available in Iron Mountain’s InSight software—can spot elements such as names, Social Security numbers, customer ID numbers, check amounts, and addresses. Then, it automatically indexes records based on any specified criteria. This means legacy paper documents merge with online records for a more complete digital profile that can be queried, searched, and integrated with automated workflows.
If digital transformation were easy, everyone would have done it by now. What makes the move to paperless uniquely challenging for banks comes down to three things.
After years of supporting financial services clients with their digital transformations, the experts at Iron Mountain recommend a sensible and effective approach for bank branches.
An ideal starting point is to talk to a professional in this arena. Iron Mountain’s team works with thousands of bank branches to consult and customize solutions that address objectives as well as pain points. They know how to reduce the risk and stress illustrated by the chief banking officer who witnessed an all-too-common scene of associates overwhelmed by paper. Not only will digital transformation declutter branch desks, but it will also enhance compliance, increase efficiencies, and protect sensitive customer information.
For more information and support with becoming a paperless branch, learn about the Iron Mountain Digital Bank solution.