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Eliminating the Paper Beast

First United Bank uses an Open Text BPM solution to run a more efficient business operation and improve customer service.

As First United Bank and Trust (Durant, Okla., $2.5 billion in total assets) expanded over the past few years, acquiring community banks throughout Texas and Oklahoma, the glut of paper-based processes supporting business operations proved challenging to handle.

"Everybody had their own process, and we tried to get everyone to conform to one process," says Bryan Wandel, Director of IT for First United.

This quickly proved to be cumbersome and inefficient, as it involved the various banks printing out and signing documents, and sending them via courier to the corporate office or other locations as needed.

"Everything was shuffling back and forth between couriers" Wandel says. "Sometimes documents got lost and there were missing papers."

Also, adds Wandel, during this time document scanning and imaging was happening at the end of the paper trail, which led to more inefficiency of business processes.

Wandel says the bank then went looking for a BPM solution to help manage the increase in workflow that came with the acquisition of more banks. He says First United uses the Jack Henry SiverLake core banking system, but ultimately looked to other vendors for a BPM solution after considering a Jack Henry workflow solution. After reviewing reports on BPM solutions from Gartner and Forrester, the bank reviewed four solutions and later invited two finalists to come in-house and demonstrate how their product could be used with First United's systems and processes.

Ultimately, the bank chose the business process solutions suite from Open Text. Approximately 200 processes and one-off activities across First United have since been automated and streamlined, including new account opening, loan origination, corporate accounting and human resources.

In the two years since the solution was implemented, Wandel says First United has seen many benefits. The bank is now able to scan documents at the front end and track them using the solution. Over 2.5 million documents and images have been converted into electronic files, securely stored made accessible through virtual case folders in the OpenText suite. Electronic forms for new account opening and new loan applications are entered directly into SharePoint via the OpenText suite, and any corresponding paper forms are scanned and stored in the associated customer case folder.

Wandel says this new process has greatly helped with loan exception tracking. "The loan officer can scan in that exception and track it," he notes, adding that prior to implementing Open Text, the bank had to manually send out notices to officers via courier. This process has also enabled the bank to more efficiently handle its growing consumer lending business, he says.

Further, the analytics capabilities of the suite allow for senior management to view dashboards with instant detailed analysis of complex business scenarios and unstructured processes, enabling them to better determine the true cost of producing loans and other services.

Wandel estimates that since implementing the Open Text suite, the bank has saved around $250,000 per year on courier costs alone, in addition to savings on paper costs. First United has also been able to significantly reduce the workload of the imaging department at its corporate offices since scanning is now done locally at each individual bank.

Ultimately, says Wandel, the Open Text suite has allowed the bank to "Provide better service to our customers and make it easier for our employees."

Bryan Yurcan is associate editor for Bank Systems and Technology. He has worked in various editorial capacities for newspapers and magazines for the past 8 years. After beginning his career as a municipal and courts reporter for daily newspapers in upstate New York, Bryan has ... View Full Bio

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