Is it Worth it? Evaluating the Total Cost of Ownership to Go Paperless

paperlessPouring money into your credit union IT budget does not necessarily define success. While it means you are making strides at new services, improving efficiencies, or fixing longstanding network or security holes, it is usually not a cost that a credit union executive happily pays. Unless of course, it equates to a quick return on investment (ROI). Balancing costs with investments into your credit union management system is crucial, and the ability for a credit union to cut the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) for a particular project is reliant upon improving efficiency - doing more with less.

In the article Paperless Productivity Making You Thankful to the Core, it was discussed how innovations such as eStatements, eReceipts, e-Signatures and more, available through internet banking, are not only a convenience for your members but great for paperless efficiency within your credit union. When your core system provides easy access to all documents associated with a member, indexed and easily recalled within the account, you have created a time savings tool for all involved...improving efficiency for both members and employees.

The biggest impact on ROI for going paperless is the speed of processing, especially in the lending space. At the beginning of this year, Forbes released a study, Believe It, E-Signatures Can Transform Your Business, in which they found the full-time equivalent (FTE) savings associated with the elimination of manual processes (form signatures, document handling, scanning, etc.), resulted in a 70 to 80 percent improvement in efficiencies. That's undeniably doing a lot more for a lot less.

Error reduction is another area where the TCO of going paperless becomes abundantly evident. The Forbes study found that e-Signature in financial transactions results in more than a 50% error reduction, making turnaround faster, not only improving efficiencies but providing better member services.

How does a credit union justify the initial cost of going paperless? Develop a budgetary road map of both scenarios: What you stand to gain in member satisfaction, new member growth, and improved operational efficiencies in various areas of your CU. Compare that to what you stand to lose: The risk of aggravating members with outdated technology, stagnant growth, and higher operational costs. The initial cost will seem minimal when you evaluate the risks.

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