Delivering Operational Excellence for Financial Institutions

Many financial institutions (FIs) start using electronic signatures to streamline processes in just one or two areas of their organization – account opening forms and loan applications are prime examples. 

But Docusign is more than just the world’s leading electronic signature solution. Those FIs that have tapped into the Docusign Agreement Cloud’s extensive capabilities have discovered a universe of new opportunity, enabling them to focus limited resources on what matters most – cultivating an outstanding member or customer relationship and experience.

Docusign offers deep functionality that reduces manual effort and provides a better experience for employees and customers across the agreement lifecycle, from the preparing and signing of documents, through post-signature actions and document management. 

First Financial Northwest Bank improves efficiency to support rapid growth

The COVID-19 pandemic served as a catalyst for many banks and credit unions to expand their digital offerings while maintaining efficiency under difficult remote and hybrid working conditions.

For example, the onset of the pandemic spurred First Financial Northwest Bank (FFNWB) to expand its use of Docusign eSignature from a few narrow applications to a wider range of use cases, including electronic account signature cards and Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. 

Based in Washington State with a footprint covering Pierce, King, and Snohomish counties, First Financial Northwest Bank has grown significantly over the past six years, expanding its footprint from a single branch to 15 offices. With each branch staffed by only two and a half full time equivalent employees, the executive team is continually focused on innovating its operations to maximize efficiency while providing outstanding customer service. 

FFNWB initially used eSignature for new hire offer letters and in lending. But the arrival of COVID spurred the Bank to expand its usage into uncharted waters, including capturing customer signatures and agreements remotely for electronic signature cards— a use case originally identified prior to the pandemic which gained urgency as customers were unable to visit a branch at the height of the crisis.

“[We wanted to] let our customers sign [the signature cards] on their own devices and on their own email instead of in the branch,” Delmarter says. “The signature card is really the document that drove us to provide a more technology-savvy experience for our end users.”

FFNWB also leveraged Docusign to help manage the massive influx of small business loan applications for the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Payroll Protection Program (PPP). FFNWB used Docusign PowerForms to gather loan applications during the first round of PPP, enabling the Bank to collect over 400 unique loan requests

“PPP was a major driver to get the documents out, collect applications and [gather] signatures during the pandemic,” says Rebecca Couture, FVP Project Management and IT at FFNWB.

To facilitate smooth and seamless remote customer interactions, First Financial Northwest Bank identified the need for additional innovative features including Bulk Send, for sending out PPP lending documents and notices, Retrieve, to enable the gathering and loading of signed documents into the Bank’s image archival solution, and eSignature SMS Delivery, which supported FFNWB’s desire to offer its customers multiple options for electronic signature.

Ultimately, FFNWB’s expansion of its Docusign partnership resulted in a better customer experience, especially for the Bank’s business clientele. The Bank also uncovered additional operational efficiencies and workarounds among its various systems, enabling faster turn-around for capturing customers’ signatures and agreements which ultimately resulted in better compliance.

“Being able to help our customers in the past year and a half has been huge,” Lindsay Delmarter, senior business analyst at FFNWB, says. “The speed of capturing signatures, while providing our customers with a way to safely open accounts and obtain PPP/SBA funding in a remote way has been a huge benefit.”

Diverse functionality to meet every need

In their search for operational excellence, financial institutions like FFNWB can leverage Docusign’s broad range of features and functionality for deployment across the agreement lifecycle:

  • Prepare: With Docusign, organizations have several options for streamlining the agreement preparation process. Templates allow users to save and reuse repeatable information like standard messages, fields, and routing order for every form, which is ideal for sending similar documents to multiple recipients, or for distributing documents that are frequently sent to the same group of people. Another popular tool is PowerForms, which enables customers to take advantage of self-service options through a secure link to various forms, ideal for common scenarios like customer-initiated account change requests.
  • Send & Sign: Once the document or agreement is prepared, the next step is to deliver it to the right recipients for signature, quickly and efficiently. Bulk Send allows you to deliver standardized documents, like policy acknowledgements or letters, to mass recipients in one go. Conditional Routing automatically routes documents to multiple signers or approvers, eliminating the need to manually configure envelope routing or to use separate templates with their own routing instructions.
  • Act: To capture full efficiency you need to automate your post-signature actions and workflows on completed envelopes, a process enabled through Agreement Actions
  • Manage: And through Docusign Retrieve, a desktop application for downloading envelope documents and data in bulk to a local imaging system, you can be assured your confidential agreements will be stored safely and securely for easy access when needed.

Reach out to your Docusign sales representative to learn more about how your organization can make the most of the Docusign Agreement Cloud suite of solutions designed especially for financial institutions.