Some banks are shredding 98% of their paper documents, and it’s because of the ever increasing pressure to digitize documentation in the financial services industry. One could argue that the pressure is coming from government regulations, consumer protection standards and other strict requirements, but that’s only one, relatively small, reason.
In truth, the industry is facing stiff competition and as such each company is looking for a way to gain an edge over their competitors. The industry isn’t simply bending to the will of outside pressure. The financial industry is racing to adopt PDF technology because of the 4 cost reducing, time saving, and customer satisfying benefits below:
1. Easily Formatting Complex Documents
Often times, documents aren’t in a single file format. There may be a huge range of different formats from a .doc file to a .xls and more. This combined with high volume of paperwork being processed by financial institutions creates a lengthy process for the business and a poor experience for the customer.
By contrast, when financial companies utilize PDF technology and digital documentation, they’ll cut costs, reduce waste, and create a better customer experience. It also makes dealing with paperwork more efficient and secure, reducing time spent on documentation management and helping to comply with complex regulations.
Financial documents often contain multiple different elements including:
- and/or other graphics
Word processing software has difficulty incorporating these different features into a document while preserving the formatting, but PDF documents are designed to integrate these diverse elements into a single file that is editable, searchable, and substantially smaller than many other formats. The PDF document can be edited or marked without altering the formatting, making collaboration across departments or companies much easier as well. Consumers are familiar with PDF technology as well, allowing a single file format to be used both internally and for customers.
Another major benefit of using PDF technology for your digital documentation are PDF forms. PDF forms are one of the most efficient methods of generating new information. Simply fill in – or have the customer fill in – the necessary information and save the document. No double-entry is required. This makes for time savings, and increased customer satisfaction.
Other great features include the automated tools prevalent in many PDF documents which make processing applications or claims fast and efficient. Eliminating the paper copy and physical stamp, digital documentation allows for the “Approved”, “Denied” , “Confidential” designation to be placed on a document.
2. Searchable Documentation
Unlike paper files, digital documentation is fully searchable. An entire database can be scanned for pertinent information in minutes rather than spending hours looking through filing cabinets. With PDF technology, you can:
- pull all records for a specific customer
- find transactions that occurred on a certain date
- sort information with targeted keywords
- and more
Financial institutions are required to hold an incredible volume of documentation; PDF technology puts all of this information at your fingertips.
3. A Mobile Friendly Experience
The PDF format can be used across a variety of platforms making it one of the best choices for financial institutions embracing the mobile revolution. More consumers are using their smartphones for financial services than ever before (53%), so any customer-oriented solution needs to be effective regardless of whether it is viewed on a desktop, tablet, or mobile device. PDF technology enables a single document to retain the proper formatting on any device.
4. Enhanced Security and Regulatory Compliance
One major benefit financial companies can experience by making the switch to PDF technology, is enhanced security and regulatory compliance. Regulations in the financial sector are incredibly strict regarding data storage. The newer Consumer Protection Act, Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act, and Sarbanes-Oxley Act all specify rigorous requirements for the collection and storage of data. Digital documentation makes it far easier to comply with these different regulations.
In terms of security, sensitive information, like bank account or social security numbers, can be easily redacted within the document, preserving the security of customer data. Individual documents can be password-protected to enhance security and ensure that only authorized employees can access the confidential information. Data storage becomes much simpler – with documents stored in hard drives rather than file cabinets – and safer, as the files can be regularly backed up and are impervious to physical damage.