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Phil Britt
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North Shore Credit Union Improves Service and Cut Costs by Eliminating Paper-Based Products

NSCU streamlines customer relationship management and cuts costs with FileNet platform.

Like many financial institutions, North Shore Credit Union (NSCU) was looking to improve service and cut costs by eliminating paper-based processes. "We're a very heavy CRM user," explains Fred Cook, the credit union's CIO. "We were looking at how to drive slack out of the process," he says of NSCU's efforts to streamline customer documentation management.

According to Cook, NSCU's use of CDC Software's (Atlanta) Pivotal CRM application stems back to 2000, when then-new CEO Chris Catliff targeted customer relationship management as a way to increase customer wallet share. While the strategy had helped Vancouver-based NSCU (US$1.5 billion in assets) double its asset size, when Cook joined the organization in November 2003, he says, he viewed content management as a way to further streamline processes and enhance member services.

The active search for an enterprise content management (ECM) solution started in mid-2004, Cook relates. NSCU considered products from Hummingbird (now part of Waterloo, Ontario-based OpenText Corp.), Xerox (Stamford, Conn.) and FileNet (Costa Mesa, Calif.), which is now an IBM company, as well as a few others. "We wanted something that would integrate easily with our CRM system," he explains.

NSCU selected FileNet's P8 ECM platform in Q3 2004, Cook recalls, noting that he had used a previous version of the solution at a larger bank for which he worked several years earlier. In addition to his familiarity with the platform, Cook says, P8 not only was compatible with NSCU's CRM application, it also integrated easily with the credit union's Open Solutions (Glastonbury, Conn.) core banking system.

Implementation began in the first quarter of 2005, according to Cook. NSCU started with new-account opening in spring 2005 and finished with the lending process in December 2005. The integration work was conducted by Yaletown Technology Group, which was acquired by FileNet in 2005. "Our people were up and running with the FileNet system within 15 minutes because we fronted it with something else that they knew -- the CRM system," Cook says.

To run the FileNet application in the financial institution's Microsoft (Redmond, Wash.) Windows-based environment, NSCU added an HP (Palo Alto, Calif.) server. As P8 relies on a Web-based interface, no other hardware or software changes were needed, Cook relates.

FileNet says P8 provides NSCU with a secure, centralized content repository for member data that can be accessed across the enterprise. It also includes a document-capture tool and an integrated process engine that automatically launches appropriate workflows.

"The numerous benefits of our FileNet ECM system were seen almost immediately, from improved internal communications to enhanced member service," Cook says. "The power of the FileNet system was in the workflow and the business rules."

Cook points to the new-account opening process as an example of streamlined workflow. Now, he relates, temporary checks are issued to new customers based on data collected during the account-opening process, rather than requiring new customers to fill out separate forms in a separate system. With the single point of information gathering, NSCU eliminates errors and issues the temporary checks more quickly, improving the customer experience, Cook explains. Further, NSCU eliminated the system previously used to issue temporary checks, simplifying its IT architecture.

According to Cook, the reduction in paper has resulted in considerable cost savings. For example, by eliminating preprinted loan documents, as well as cutting the time needed to locate and file them, Cook estimates that the credit union is saving close to $100,000 a year. In addition, audits are less laborious -- Cook says NSCU saves about $7,000 annually using the FileNet system to locate pertinent electronic records.

"These aren't one-time savings," Cook emphasizes. "These are savings we have year after year." * --Phil Britt

Snapshot

** Institution: North Shore Credit Union (Vancouver).

** Assets: US$1.5 billion.

** Business Challenge: Streamline customer documentation handling to improve service and cut costs.

** Solution: FileNet's (Costa Mesa, Calif.) P8 ECM platform.

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