New technologies take on records management challenges

Whatcom Educational Credit Union (WECU) had no choice but to turn to digital records management for customer service. In 2003, when it began digitizing business processes, branches were still relying on fax and phone to share account information about members, so retrieval was painfully slow. A member who asked for a copy of his loan application might have to wait 20 minutes or more while employees tracked it down.

"It can be quite time-consuming," said Patti Moser, IT manager at WECU, based in Bellingham, Wash. "You have to wait for a fax, find a person in another building, worry about misfiling when you put the document back in the file. Digitizing our member documents was the solution."

According to Moser, the credit union has saved more than $150,000 in paper and associated costs since 2003. But the bigger win, she said, was in process improvements: Migrating various departmental processes to OnBase streamlined sluggish, paper-based operations. After starting with a few member services, departments began clamoring to digitize other processes -- developing workflows for internal audits, moving toward digital signatures in documents and digitizing other key reports that previously required stacks of paper.
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