• 2x

    Faster turnaround on agreements
  • Successful transaction rate (MoM growth)

Thomas P. Novak got his start in the financial services industry 15 years ago. After spending the first half of his career in the traditional banking world, he took a job as branch manager at Visions Federal Credit Union in New York—a role that soon led to an exciting opportunity when he was approached to steer the credit union’s digital transformation. “The conversation went something like: ‘Tom, we like how you work—and we think you can take on something abstract like this. Help us figure out what we can do with all this digital stuff,’” described Novak, whose official title is now chief digital officer.

The strong technology partnerships fostered by Visions led to a 500% increase in new memberships via digital channels and better member experiences. And the digital transformation department Novak helped create has grown fivefold while the credit union’s assets have nearly doubled. 

DocuSign is one of those partners helping Visions FCU bring its digital-first initiatives to life. “When we talk about innovation, member experience and best-in-class security, DocuSign is quite literally in lockstep with where we want to take things,” said Novak.

When we talk about innovation, member experience and best-in-class security, DocuSign is quite literally in lockstep with where we want to take things
Thomas P. Novak
Chief Digital Officer
Visions Federal Credit Union

Starting small, thinking big

Visions FCU’s DocuSign journey began nearly a decade ago. Since then, the credit union has seen its signature-collection speed cut by more than 50%—with turnaround times now averaging 8-12 hours as opposed to days. That means members get their funds sooner, no matter where they are, and Visions gets loans on the books faster than ever before.

What started as a handful of internal use cases quickly expanded into the consumer lending space when Visions turned hundreds of member-facing forms into DocuSign templates and PowerForms. But the marquee victory for the credit union was bringing DocuSign into its loan origination system. That is the point when even the most change-averse employees were swayed by DocuSign’s potential to transform business and the way they work.

“We moved from this analog world into the digital world almost overnight,” said Novak. The analog world involved a lot of faxes, scans, deteriorated PDF images and FedExed loan packages. With DocuSign eSignature, everything became more seamless, efficient, trackable and secure. More importantly, member satisfaction went way up. “One weekend at my local pharmacy, I ran into a member who’d just closed on an auto loan with her daughter who was out of state and purchasing her first car—and she was just floored by how fast and easy the process was. It provided an intuitive experience despite how far apart geographically they both were.”

People helping people

For Novak, the beauty of digital transformation is being able to quickly pivot to meet new challenges—like a global pandemic—“without blinking an eye.” “Because we were so heavily integrated with DocuSign, we were able to keep business going and serve our members,” he said.

Visions FCU was not only able to keep things running smoothly, but it was also able to provide a safety net for its members during a difficult time. One perk of being a credit union member is having the ability to skip a loan payment (penalty free) once every six months. Visions’ board of directors and senior management team made the call to let members skip three consecutive payments—a process the team was able to fast track because the technology foundation was already in place, and DocuSign empowered them to iterate rapidly. The same went for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) designed to keep small-business employees on the payroll. “That, to me, is what digital transformation is all about,” said Novak.

DocuSign is the centerpiece of Visions’ ongoing transformation

As Visions continues to incorporate DocuSign into more heavily regulated parts of its business like first mortgages and high-dollar business lending, compliance and security are top of mind. When the credit union had the chance to become an early adopter of DocuSign Monitor, Novak jumped at the opportunity. “We felt Monitor was a step in the right direction to get us more aligned with leading cybersecurity frameworks such as NIST.” By integrating Monitor with its SIEM tool and Power BI, Visions will be able to respond to threats faster and tailor alerts and dashboards to meet changing regulatory requirements.

The credit union is also focused on the next steps of digital transformation. For Novak and his team, that means going beyond simply digitizing existing processes, but looking at all the ways they can create a more unified experience for members and employees. DocuSign is the centerpiece of that. As part of its future roadmap, Visions will integrate DocuSign with other key systems across the organization, including Jack Henry Symitar® and ServiceNow®. DocuSign Insight and CLM are also on Novak’s radar. “We’re eager to try new things—and want to make sure we’re maximizing the positive impact of the platform.”