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GFI Digital: How one Dealer Banked on Solutions

15 Feb, 2005 By: Darrell Amy imageSource

GFI Digital: How one Dealer Banked on Solutions

When Pioneer Bank and Trust CEO
Gaines Dittrich began scanning personal records into his computer at home, he
developed a vision for how documents at his bank could also be scanned and
retrieved. At the same time, the bank was in the process of evaluating new
multifunctional office equipment from GFI Digital, an independent office
solutions dealer in St. Louis.

“When we realized that the bank
was interested in exploring the benefits of document imaging, we immediately
engaged our software partner, InfoNow Solutions,” said Bruce Gibbs, president of GFI Digital. “As we began to examine their processes, we realized that we could
have a tremendously positive impact on their business processes with document
management software.”

Working together, GFI Digital
and InfoNow Solutions (www.infonowsolutions.com) implemented a new multifunction machine
and document management system in the bank’s Loan Administration Department,
which not only resulted in saving the financial institution hundreds of hours a
month in lost productivity, but solidified GFI Digital’s relationship with the

“When we can help a client like
this, it is a real win-win situation for all parties involved,” Gibbs said.

The Challenge

Banking is a very
paper-intensive industry. This is especially true in the loan department.  Each
loan file includes pages of supporting documents and correspondence. An average
loan file is between one and three inches thick. Some larger commercial loans
can be hundreds of pages. 

The challenge that the bank
faced was distributing loan files to the loan officers at the branch locations,
which can be a tedious and time-consuming process.

“Every time a loan officer
needed a loan file, they would drive to the main office to get the file,” said
Glenda Poppleton, vice president of Pioneer Bank and Trust. “With branches
scattered around the St. Louis metro area, the round trip to the main office
took the better part of two hours.”

The Solution

Brett Taylor, a document
solutions specialist for InfoNow Solutions went to the bank to assess the
situation. “It made sense for us to begin in an area where we could have the
quickest impact,” recalled Taylor. “We quickly realized that over 50 percent of
the bank’s documents were in the loan department.” 

The bank began scanning loan
packages to InfoNow Solutions’ Power Flow electronic document management
software after the loans had been processed.  

“We didn’t want to interrupt the
current loan application process,” Poppleton said. “We decided to scan the loan
file as the last step in processing a loan. That way, the consumer and the loan
officer are able to stay with the familiar loan application process.” 

The bank’s loan files are now
stored in electronic format in two sections: a credit file and a collateral
file. The credit file includes all of the supporting financial documents such as
credit reports, application forms and bank statements. The collateral file
includes the actual loan documents and any collateral such as a vehicle title.

With multiple index fields, the
loans can be retrieved by a variety of fields such as the client’s name or the
loan number. This helps improve the convenience of finding information. The bank
still keeps all of its loan records in paper format due to state regulations.
This is particularly true for the collateral part of the loan file that is
stored in the bank’s fire-proof vault. 

However, even with the loan
files stored in filing cabinets in the loan department, members of the loan
department find themselves using the Power Flow software to pull up loan files.

“It’s faster than walking across
the room to the filing cabinet and pulling a file,” Poppleton said. “Just about
everyone in the department would rather view the file on screen than deal with
the paper.” 

The Benefits

1.  Enhanced Efficiency—One of
the biggest benefits from the document management software has been the improved
productivity for the bank. On average, it took two hours of time for a loan
officer to leave the branch, drive to the main office, find the file and then
return home.  This process was a daily occurrence for each of the eight branch

“A process that used to take a
loan officer two hours now takes less than two minutes,” Poppleton said. “This
has resulted in a productivity increase of over 300 hours per month.”

“When you add up all of the time
wasted retrieving documents and multiply it by the eight branches, its easy to
determine a tangible return on investment,” pointed out the solutions
specialist, Taylor. 

2.  Improved Customer
Service—Fast access to information also helped the bank improve customer
service. Instead of putting the client on hold while the file is pulled from a
filing cabinet, documents can be accessed immediately on screen. Questions are
answered quickly and relevant documents can be emailed or faxed to the client.

Now that the loan officers don’t
have to drive across town to retrieve files, they are able to spend more time at
the branches. This allows more available time to answer questions or originate
more new loans.

3.  Regulatory
Compliance—Ensuring privacy is a critical part of compliance with the Gramm-Leach-Bliley
Financial Services Modernization Act of 1999 (GLBA). The act was created to
modernize the financial services industry. The act also allowed banking,
insurance and investment companies to merge. 

One of the provisions of the
GLBA is the Safeguards Rule. It requires all financial institutions to design,
implement and maintain safeguards to protect customer information (learn more at
www.ftc.gov/privacy/glbact/). Access to documents in the Power Flow is password
protected. The software also keeps a log of who has accessed documents. This
helps ensure compliance with the Safeguard Rule.

On a practical level, when loan
officers pulled files and brought them to the branch, the original files had now
left the building. If these documents were not returned, this could lead to a
lost file. And, in many cases, the paper files came back from the branches out
of order meaning that someone in the loan department would have to spend time
reorganizing them. With the electronic document management system, the original
documents remain in the loan department. Poppleton summed it up: “We’ve taken
back control over our files.”

Future Applications

Now that the system is running
in the loan department, there are several other potential future applications
for document imaging at the bank. Signature cards can be scanned and then viewed
by tellers at the branches; daily logs and trial balance ledgers can be
distributed archived in digital format; administrative contracts can be secured
in an electronic filing system; and the human resources department can use the
system to securely store confidential employee information.

As document management
technology rolls out across the bank, other departments will begin to require
scanning capabilities. This presents opportunities to update office equipment
for GFI Digital and InfoNow Solutions.

“We use the document imaging
software extensively,” Dittrich said. “We expect to find other uses for this
technology in other areas of the bank in the coming year.”

Gibbs is not only energized
about the stronger relationship GFI Digital now has with the bank, but he is
also ecstatic about the direction of his dealership. 

“When we can provide value-added
solutions to our clients’ problems, we are a more than a vendor: we become a
business partner to our clients,” he said.

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