Lender Document Management - Helping Lenders Manage Risks
Streamlining business processes and increasing productivity are fundamental challenges for lenders. Much of the work for lenders is document focused and the effective management of documents improves a lender’s profitability. Constant pressure to reduce cycle times for processing of documents has led many lenders to use electronic document management to make the classification, storage and retrieval of documents more efficient. Additionally, email has become a primary method of communication that needs to be managed alongside other documentation.
Globally stringent anti-money laundering legislation and financial reporting requirements are making regulatory compliance increasingly complex and demanding for organizations. Coupled with this trend of tightening regulatory environment is the drive for greater transparency which is compelling organizations to take a more strategic approach to both content and document management. These trends are increasing the pressure on lenders to become more organized with their data. Effective electronic document management is recognized as a critical part of compliance with regulatory requirements both from a records management perspective as well from a security and traceability standpoint.
The increased momentum in the move towards the paperless office has been made possible by decreasing costs of digital storage and the exponential growth in computing power coupled with the more affordability and greater ease of use of application software.
Why Lenders Need Document Management Software
What is required of a document management system to meet the requirements of the lending world? This area provides some guidance for lenders who are considering our services.
Records Management Strategies mitigate Legal Risk
Since the implementation of Sarbanes Oxley Act in the United States, effective records management has become an essential requirement for good corporate governance and financial reporting. Organizations are required by law to retain certain documents for predefined periods. Legal admissibility and evidential weight of electronic documents are other important considerations when implementing a document management system.
An important part of records management is the ability to automate scheduled events on documents. Document types (e.g. contracts, email etc) are configured to have associated time-based actions so that when a set period has passed, documents may be archived or permanently deleted from the system.
Lenders, as well as other organizations, need assurance that, when faced with a legal battle, their electronic documents are both admissible in a court of law and that they will carry enough evidential weight, alongside corroborating evidence, to be accepted as being the documents they purport to be. Two key features of document management systems increase the admissibility and evidential weight of electronic documents: (1) the ability to freeze a document so that it cannot be changed and (2) an audit trail so that any changes or actions to a document are recorded in the database.
A Secure and Scalable Document Repository provides the Platform
Lenders need a secure and scalable document repository that allows their support staff and their attorney, in the event of litigation, effective access to information. Effective security entails the ability to restrict access rights to documents based on groups and roles within the firm. Traceability of interactions with the system and individual documents ensures that there is an audit trail from the time someone logs into the system until they log out. Other users can see exactly who checked in new versions of the documents and what changes to content or metadata were made. Our applications meet these criteria.
Ease of Use Shortens the Learning Period
For busy professionals training time is often limited and employees may be disinclined to learn yet another software program. Additionally, working on the document management system may be a responsibility assigned to support staff. We offer an intuitive interface that will shorten the learning period of our system.
Our software integrates with widely-used office productivity tools such as Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint to reduce the learning period and encourage compliance with processes. Similarly emails and their attachments relating to files are required to be archived for pre-defined periods. Integration into common email clients such as Microsoft Outlook will allow both outgoing and incoming emails as well as their attachments to be saved, stored and indexed, and have metadata attached.
Metadata and Taxonomies
Lenders deal with a multitude of different document types. Our software caters to each document type and the accompanying metadata. Document metadata, or data about data, provides information about documents such as when they were created or modified and who the author was.
Similarly, the document taxonomy or folder classification is configured at implementation but may be able to be changed at any stage by adding new folders and subfolders. This primary organization of documents may take: a file-centric view, a time period view, or a team based view depending on the preferences of the lender.
There have been reports of metadata embedded in documents being unintentionally distributed resulting in the disclosure of private information. The ability to output final document versions before distribution to a file format such as PDF, will help avoid this unfortunate occurrence.
Scanning, Storage and Searching
Lenders are required to store and have ready access to large volumes of documents. Our effective electronic document management strategy can greatly streamline these document storage and retrieval challenges. Original copies of documents may be scanned, stored and managed on site allowing lenders to reduce costs and improve process timed.
We offer an extensive search engine that can do metadata and full text searching. We have the ability to scan and perform optical character recognition on hardcopy documents through integration with both desktop and high volume scanners.
Custom Numbering caters for Naming / Numbering Conventions
Lenders number and reference documents in different ways. Custom referencing schemes may include customer names or dates as well as incremental numbers and alphanumeric characters and are searchable, allowing a lender to continue using their current document numbering and naming conventions.
Document Workflow makes Processes more Efficient
Workflows are business process embedded and automated in our software and they can provide significant benefits through increased efficiency. A simple workflow would be a document approval process whereas a more complex workflow may have multiple workflow steps or transitions. When moving from one workflow step to the next, our systems are configured to send notifications informing users of a change in the status of their document. This automated task chasing can reduce cycle times as well as drive efficiencies.
There are numerous factors that make our document management software the right choice for lenders. Particular attention should be paid to ease of use, speed of implementation, an alignment with existing naming/numbering conventions, document version control, a secure and scalable document repository, and efficient scanning, searching and storage capabilities.
The successful implementation of our document management system is an important initiative that requires visible support from leaders in the organization. Well understood document processes and adequately trained and motivated users will also aid successful implementation.