November 01, 2006

Storing 120,000 loan files and 12,000 commercial credit files was causing the vault of Hancock Bank ($6 billion in assets) to burst at the seams. Convinced that an enterprisewide document management solution would solve the storage problem, as well as improve efficiency and customer service, executives began vetting vendors in 2005, according to K. André Pires, loan operations analyst at the bank.

Following presentations from several vendors in the third quarter, Hancock Bank selected Performance (Spring, Texas), an authorized Hyland Software (Westlake, Ohio) partner, to install Hyland's OnBase enterprise content management (ECM) software, largely based on the solution's open architecture and scalability. In addition to the OnBase software -- which includes an Application Enabler module that links the OnBase image repository to line-of-business applications, such as CRM software -- the bank also selected Performance's INFO-ACCESS document-tracking software.

A Hard Lesson

But before a contract could be signed, Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast in August 2005, destroying Hancock Bank's Gulfport, Miss.-based headquarters. As a result, the bank was forced to truck documents 75 miles to a branch in Purvis, Miss. "Once we moved the files, unpacked them and put them on the shelves in some order, we knew we had to sign the contract quickly, get the equipment and concentrate on imaging," says Pires. A contract was signed on Oct. 31, 2005.

During the next two weeks, Hancock Bank installed Bowe Bell & Howell (Durham, N.C.) 8090 DC document scanners; Fujitsu Computer Products of America (Sunnyvale, Calif.) fi-5750C document scanners; Fidelity Information Services (Jacksonville, Fla.) Systematics core processing software; and IBM (Armonk, N.Y.) servers and storage solutions at the Purvis branch. By the end of November, a 45-day pilot program was in operation in Purvis. A team from Performance trained Hancock employees on the imaging and tracking software and scanning techniques.

By August 2006, more than 10,000 credit files had been imaged, which accounts for more than 1 million pieces of paper, Pires reports, noting that it may take years to scan the current 126,000 loan files because new loans are always being processed. The bank sends tape backups to disaster recovery facilities in Long Beach, Miss., and Denham Springs, La., where the data is stored on additional IBM servers.

According to Pires, the new imaging and tracking software provides immediate availability of documents and allows multiple people to review a file concurrently, which reduces cycle times and improves customer service. Also, audits are completed more quickly and the cost for paper storage has been cut dramatically. Documents that must be retained in physical forms (e.g., titles) are returned to the vault; others (e.g., copies of tax returns) are destroyed, Pires relates. "Out of a six-inch file, less than half might actually have to be retained in a physical form," he says. As a result, the bank's 14-person vault staff will be cut in half, Pires adds.

Among Hancock's current OnBase users are loan reviewers, credit analysts and commercial lending officers. But the software's open architecture provides a scalable solution that can accommodate additional departments as well as growth in volume, Pires notes. "And best of all," he says, "[OnBase] is user-friendly with a short learning curve." * --Vicki Gerson

Document Management

***Institution: Hancock Bank (Gulfport, Miss.).

***Assets: $6 billion.

***Business Challenge: Eliminate paper storage and improve efficiency by electronically imaging documents.

***Solution: Hyland Software's (Westlake, Ohio) OnBase document imaging solution and INFO-ACCESS, document tracking software from Performance (Spring, Texas), a Hyland partner.