How the Financial Industry Uses Electronic Signatures

Paperwork is an unavoidable reality of the financial industry – it just comes with the territory. But when you nix the paper, you end up eliminating a lot of the work as well. Whether you’re running a major financial institution or setting up a merchant account for your small business, digital documents and eSignatures take the hassle out of signing and securing sensitive financial documents.

How eSignatures Help Streamline Processes:

1. No Paper

From opening a new account to financing a purchase to applying for a mortgage, everything is faster when paper is out of the picture. Many, if not most, financial documents contain multiple pages and multiple places to sign and initial. If a client misses a single one, you end up making phone calls, faxing documents, or arranging another meeting. Digital documents and eSigning let you move quickly through the signing process, ensuring that all relevant fields have been signed before you can move on to the next page.

2. Document Collaboration and Signatures from Anywhere

eSigning creates a more convenient experience for sharing documents and collaborating with your colleagues or clients. Turnaround time on documents dramatically increases when signing isn’t streamlined, and chasing down signatures for documents that are NIGO (Not In Good Order) is a major detriment to time and cost. eSigning solves both problems, speeding up the signing process and eliminating errors that prolong finalizing applications and agreements.

3. Security

Even with the promise of faster signing, improved customer experience, and more efficient team collaboration, businesses in the finance industry are sometimes hesitant to make the switch to electronic signatures because of security concerns. In reality, your documents and your clients’ personal information is more secure digitally.

Encrypted digital storage means documents are less likely to end up lost or in the wrong hands. Virtual private networks (VPNs) and password protected PDFs can add extra layers of security to sensitive documents, keeping need-to-know information need-to-know. PDFs also make it easier to securely redact information on certain documents when you send them through less secure mediums like email.

Storing documents digitally saves on cost and reduces the workload of internal management by making it easier and cheaper to comply with the Bank Secrecy Act, the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, the Truth in Lending & Truth in Savings Act, as well as other federal requirements for financial institutions’ document storage.

You may also be wondering if electronic signatures are legally binding and secure – if they have the clout to make major documents like loan paperwork and other financial contracts official and legal. The answer? Electronic signatures on contracts of any kind are just as legally-binding as handwritten signatures. In fact, most major banks accept electronic signatures for at least some of their documents and workflows.

How eSigning is used in the Financial Industry:

Account Opening

Secure eSigning is compliant with the Patriot Act in the United States. Applicants can open an account from anywhere with electronic signatures, making your institution significantly more attractive to potential members, especially younger members who have come to expect fully-automated processes.

The Aite research group, has found that when financial institutions have fully online account opening processes, new customers are much less likely to abandon their applications in favor of another institution.

Loan/Credit Applications

eSignatures offers a similar benefit in loan and credit applications. Both in person and online loan applications are streamlined by electronic documents and eSignatures, improving customer experience and drastically decreasing the time between the customer’s first interest and the official approval of the loan.

With eSigning, loan application processes are faster and less vulnerable to errors that need correction such as leaving out a signature, resulting in less customer drop-off throughout the application process. Complying with federal regulations on proper storage and security of these documents is far easier and more cost effective with a fully digital document system.

IRA and 401k rollovers

Retirement rollovers often involve significant sums of money. In an effort to land rollovers, investment companies often point to their low account opening fees or brokerage commissions. Enabling a simplified eSigning process is another way an investment company can differentiate from competitors and improve the onboarding process for new clients.

Mortgage Pre-Approval/Approvals

In competitive markets, those dream houses go fast, and buyers need to make serious offers quickly. A swift online process for mortgage pre-approval isn’t just a luxury; it’s a must for many home buyers.

These are just some of the most common ways eSigning and digital documents are used to improve workflows and security in the financial industry. With mountains of documents both on the customer side and behind the scenes, the list of use cases goes on and on:

  • Change Requests (beneficiary updates, address change, etc.)
  • Disclosures and Term Sheet
  • Reusable templates to reduce repeat work
  • Transfer of assets
  • Trade confirmations

There’s never been a more pressing time for financial institutions to adopt remote signing, which is critical to creating a positive customer experience under secure circumstances. Even before social distancing, clients expected eSigning. Now, it’s absolutely essential. If you’re not offering remote, completely digital account opening and onboarding, potential customers will find someone who is. That’s why we’re offering free eSigning to businesses of any size for the remainder of 2020. Get your business eSigning today with a truly free account (as in no credit card required) through our Better Together with NitroSign initiative.