Smaller community banks, faced with the daunting challenge of keeping pace with technological advances, are the real beneficiaries of cloud-based solutions. Rather than investing in — and constantly replacing or upgrading — hardware and software maintained by an IT staff, banks now have the option of investing in subscription-based solutions that reside on cloud servers and, more important, offer expanded capabilities often with reduced overall cost. This translates into less money being spent on an IT infrastructure and more money being spent for business development.
An emerging cloud-based solution is electronic (or paperless) document management: credit and loan files, audit preparation, HR files and customer records. Although the transition to paperless has been under way for a few years, what’s new is cloud-based document imaging that is affordable for smaller banks, such as the AccuAccount Xpress software platform. Offered by AccuSystems LLC, Pueblo, Colo., Xpress is a lending-specific imaging and document management application designed specifically for smaller financial institutions. Xpress integrates simple repository imaging with document exception management and reporting. Available as an in-house hosted solution or as a cloud-based solution, Xpress can be used for all departments, allowing banks to become virtually paper-free.
“We feel AccuAccount Xpress is a perfect fit for banks with less than $300 million in assets, although it would work well for any financial institution with less-complicated loan portfolios, limited geographic footprints and fewer branches,” said Chris Gredig, co-president of AccuSystems. “Xpress requires fewer resources to implement and manage than more robust systems, but it still allows a bank to take advantage of many automated workflows within the platform.”
When moving from a paper-based system to an electronic document management system, banks still have to image paper documents and/or upload image files to the in-house or cloud server. This may require the purchase of scanning equipment and possibly the upgrading or addition of in-house servers. Once documents are in electronic format, though, banks will no longer need to rely on paper-based files.
“Surveys among banks, auditors and regulators have determined that electronic loan management is the next large technology investment community banks are planning,” said Gredig. “When comparing the expense of installing a new document imaging system to the tangible and intangible savings of moving from a paper system, the costs can usually be recovered in 13 months or less.”
Cloud-based solutions, such as Xpress, offer benefits both internally (operations) and externally (customers). These benefits include:
Computer visionary and Apple founder Steve Jobs introduced the concept of cloud computing in 1997 — 15 years ago. In a 2012 report, Gartner Inc., the technology research company, predicts that the personal cloud will replace the personal computer by 2014. For financial institutions, cloud computing for a variety of applications is here today.
Michael Scheibach is executive editor of BankNews.
Copyright (c) May 2012 by BankNews Media