Breaking Up With Paper Industry Focus: Finance

Monica Orrigo
May 12, 2015

There’s no question that going paperless is taking many industries by storm. Here at Breaking Up with Paper, we’ve talked about how the break-up has affected the healthcare industry, as well as focused on how it is in the process of transforming the wholesale industry. But what other industries are hopping on the break-up bandwagon? One of the biggest contenders in the race from paper to digital is the financial services industry. Think about it––when was the last time you waited for your monthly account statement to come by mail in order to check the status of your bank account? Like millions of other Americans, you probably take advantage of online banking features and mobile banking apps so you have a better idea of where your money is in real time. Are the days of writing checks and balancing checkbooks gone? Not entirely, but that’s certainly where the industry is headed. Here are some ways going paperless has cut costs, increased efficiency, and driven more business.

From Paper to Digital: Enhanced Customer Convenience and Cost Cutting

The banking industry has made great strides in eliminating paper. These changes are as obvious as ATM machines creating a paperless fund withdrawal system and more recently, online banking and mobile banking apps, which have nearly eliminated paper checks and transfers. A survey conducted by Fidelity National Information Services (FIS) tracked a section of mid-tier financial institutions’ progression towards paperless. According to the study, here are some of the ways that banks benefited most from implementing electronic document imaging and paperless processing:

  • Over 90% of deposit transactions are done digitally. Banks are also using online systems to open new accounts, process loans and produce financial statements.
  • Though the percentages vary by institutions, electronic records cut costs and eliminate waste by drastically reducing the amount of paper banks need to use and store, ultimately cutting storage costs and staff handling time.
  • Some banks even place up to 98% of documents into a shredder once they have been successfully digitally imaged––talk about freeing up space.

Like many other industries,the financial industry is also taking advantage of going paperless to improve customer service. Digitally imaged banking documents are easily searchable and accessible to clients via online and mobile banking. Simple requests and transfers require less attention from the customer service team, and it’s faster and easier for the client. Digital documents are also being implemented in non-banking processes such as human resources, supply chain management and accounts payable.

How The Content Cloud is Helping Financial Institutions Take The Leap 

According to a recent case study conducted by, a company called Systemware is revolutionizing the way larger financial firms go paperless. In the same way that Handshake creates a paperless and user-friendly order management workflow, Systemware implements a cloud-based Enterprise Content Network (ECN) called the Content Cloud that allows for the capture, conversion and deployment of billions of images and metadata, such as billing statements and account records. These are the ways financial institutions are benefiting from using the digital Content Cloud:

  • The Systemware Content Cloud has already recorded hundreds of millions of account records and 100 billion pages of statements.
  • This metadata is secure and available in real time to both industry professionals and customers, virtually anywhere.
  • The ECN meets demands that were not previously possible, which has improved customer service, reduced paper statements by 40% and saved the banking industry $10 million dollars annually.
  • Banks are better protected from financial losses due to missing files. They are also able to respond to tax/ audit inquiries.
  • By implementing ECN, growth no longer limits the productivity of financial institutions.

Most, if not all of these benefits (fewer errors, real-time transfers of data, improved customer service, streamlined productivity) run in parallel to the effects technology like sales order management has had on the wholesale industry.

Enterprise Content Management Challenges

So why are these cost-effective and user-friendly services taking a while to catch on among smaller financial institutions? Here a couple reasons holding banks back:

  • Institutions and employees alike are used to the paper form-driven world for common banking practices, like loan approvals and mortgage applications.
  • Adopting a comprehensive ECM is essential to paperless success, but it’s also costly.

As these issues with technology adoption show, it does sometimes take a while for businesses to change their ways, but as larger financial institutions get the hang of going paperless, it’s pretty clear where the industry is going. Questions about the financial industry or comments on the parallels we see in wholesale? Let us know in the comments!