ANAHEIM, Calif.-When a credit union starts offering members the option of signing loan documents online with e-signatures, adoption can take some time.

But it takes no time at all for a virtual credit union such as CarePoint FCU. "We constantly have to look for ways to offer our members the convenience and flexibility they want," explained CEO John Saatela.

The majority of CarePoint's members are nurses, many of them working 12-hour shifts, which makes it difficult for them to deal with the signing process. "We used to overnight documents to the members," he said. "They'd sign and either mail them back or take them to a FedEx box and overnight them back to us. Depending on the availability of the member, that could take days. Now we can do all that in minutes and fund the loan immediately."

Some Members Still Like Paper

CPFCU has been offering members the e-signing option through Docusign since April 2011, but a few members still prefer signing paper documents, Saatella said.

"We accommodate them with the old technology. But we've had almost no member resistance to e-signing," he stated. "Adoption was actually slower internally. We had to look at how adopting the e-sign process would affect various employees. Fortunately DocuSign offers great training and support staff. And the results are superior. If a member faxes back the documents, the images tend to be dark. DocuSign gives you a clear color copy-of a driver's license, for example. It's more secure as well."

CarePoint is no giant. Operating since 1966 under a multiple common bond charter primarily serving the healthcare industry, CarePoint has 10,314 members and assets of $44,321,035. The CU's core system is Fiserv's XP2, which is architected in the Microsoft .NET framework and boasts delivering a 360-degree view of the member via an IBM DB2 relational database.

Though the CU has no metrics in place to verify that processing cycles have been shortened and closed-loan ratios improved thanks to e-signing, the anecdotal evidence has been overwhelmingly favorable on the part of members and employees alike, said Saatela.

Technology Evangelists

CarePoint currently uses e-signing only in the loan department, but he said that department's employees are enthusiastic enough about e-signing to evangelize adoption by other employees. "We are definitely looking for other ways to use the e-sign technology," he said. "One way would be for signing up new members." Saatela said he was eager to find out how another DocuSign customer, Tulsa Teachers Credit Union, uses e-signing with a loan-by-phone program.

In addition to e-signing, he said, the technology-dependent tools that have been most mission-critical for the CU have been being part of a shared branch network and having information at the member's fingertips 24/7 on the CU's website. "I encourage all my peers to be looking at technology such as mobile and remote deposit capture," Saatela said. "It's what members are expecting from their financial institutions, no matter what size you are."

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