For APFCU, 'C' In ECM Has Stood For Change

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SAINT PAUL, Minn.-Electronic content management (ECM) at Affinity Plus FCU here isn't about making or saving money; instead, the past decade has delivered a sea change in operations and member service across 24 branches.

Recent highlights include eliminating the need for a 35-person paper records department; forcing employees to address outstanding items via workflows; and automatically indexing and routing documents using native barcodes, said Keith Malbrue, COO at the $2.3-billion CU.

"We never set out to make money or save money," Malbrue said. "OnBase is all about member service, accuracy and compliance." OnBase ECM software is provided by Hyland Software of Cleveland, Ohio.

As of November-after years of network and infrastructure upgrades-all electronic documents at Affinity Plus are managed centrally, eliminating the 35-person records management staff at remote locations, he continued. Now the documents are instantly available to staff from each workstation across the CU.

Central management is a far cry from the old, paper days when 30 staff members had to ship and sort through mountains of documents and then locate and fax or courier a document to respond to a member request, he said.

Native barcodes are the icing on the cake, Malbrue suggested. In an OnBase configuration unique to Affinity Plus, all documents bear a built-in barcode that contains information about the member and type of document. The barcode automatically indexes and routes documents into the correct member file, saving manual indexing and routing.

"The automatic and accurate indexing has been tremendous for member service," he said. Members can make inquiries with any staff member, who simply has to pull up the member's file to locate the relevant document.

Malbrue estimated that the barcodes shave three minutes from manually indexing each document, including mortgages, web applications and teller transactions. "Not all employees can do indexing well."

"Affinity Plus is a prime example of how to most effectively use the OnBase barcodes," said Steve Comer, credit union industry manager, Hyland.

Affinity Plus worked closely with its forms vendor to be able to generate documents embedded with barcodes, whereas other institutions manually affix barcode stickers or cover pages after the fact, he said.

OnBase workflows act as watchdogs for a variety of business processes, including new accounts, vendor management, on- and off-boarding employees and accounts payable, said Malbrue. "Employees can no longer hide," he said. "There are lights on in every room."

In the new accounts workflow, an OnBase dashboard alerts employees of missing information and issues a follow-up deadline. "The same alert appears on the supervisor's desktop," said Malbrue. "You actually have to scan the necessary documents before OnBase clears the alert. Now we know who's responsible."

Audits come up clean, he continued. "We went from multiple issues around the state with open accounts and missing documents and not knowing who opened the account to a point where we have no outstanding issues."

The accounts payable workflow ensures vendors are paid correctly, said Malbrue. Managers can approve, reject or make notes on electronic invoices. "In the past, some vendors didn't get paid at all or some got paid three times. That doesn't happen anymore."

Soon, that functionality will extend to smartphones and iPads so that managers can pay invoices beyond the walls of the CU.

Hyland is in the midst of moving OnBase workflow and document retrieval into the mobile age, integrating the platform with Android, iPhone and Blackberry systems, said Comer.

Mobile ECM is critical, said Malbrue. "We want our members to have access to anything and everything they need for new accounts and to apply for loans and credit cards from anywhere."

OnBase is interfaced with core, data warehouse, CRM, mortgage servicing and document assembly software at Affinity Plus.

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