Chances are, you like the rest of us, want instant gratification especially when it comes to IT investments these days; projects aren’t going to get approved without a quick payback period. So goes it with projects in this new era of banking: Corporate executives are turning their eyes more than ever to projects that provide efficiency rather than sales, convenience or vanity.
When I started in banking technology in 1991, banks were already looking for opportunities to reduce paper in their organizations. It started with telephone banking and matured through the genesis of web-based banking services. Ordering products, receiving statements and making payments were bogged down with inefficiencies of creating, handling, sorting and auditing paper. Paper was becoming the enemy.
Services rendered in a click rather than a telephone call or a paper form quickly became the darlings of efficiency and even offered more auditable transactions supporting higher degrees of quality assurance. In financial services, there are still many documents that still require a customer signature for authorization but the US Law like E-SIGN in 2000 and UETA make valid electronic signatures.
In 2003 I was involved in a project at one of the largest banks in the US, to reduce their postage expense. At that time, this bank was the single largest customer of the US Postal Service in the world. Paper and shipping reduction has been an impetus for at least two decades. It is economically and ecologically prudent and offers a better quality experience for the customer and the institution. If paper has become a differentiator and a barrier to entry for the banks’ customers, why is there still so much paper in banking? What are the barriers for banks that want to replace paper with technology–Regulatory? Cost? Converting Operations?