Document management is becoming more difficult for credit unions, which are tasked with following expanded disclosure regulations while at the same time providing extended remote access to financial services for members that's in line with what they could get from a larger bank.

Increasingly, digital signatures are the solution on both fronts for credit unions, giving members the opportunity to access services quickly and from any location.

For example, Pacific Marine Credit Union just began offering its members the ability to make account openings and loan applications remotely for its base of 73,000 members, many of whom are military members.

A key component of this strategy is the use of digital signatures and automated onboarding. By licensing a suite of technology from DocuSign that integrates the company's electronic signature capabilities with MeridianLink's multi-channel account opening and loan origination platform, Xpress Accounts and Loans PQ, the credit union hopes to enable faster applications for new loans by eliminating paper and manual keying. DocuSign's client base includes more than 200 credit unions.

The technology works by instructing users how to capture their signatures from a Word, Excel, PDF or other document. That signature then becomes that user's standardized electronic signature, applicable to a number of financial documents, such as loan or account opening applications. When navigating the financial transactions online or via mobile, the user clicks on the portion of a document in which a signature is required, and the captured signature is automatically placed onto the form.

"We've also customized the look and feel of our customer signing experience so it's comfortably familiar with our members," said Jennifer Topzand, a director at Pacific Marine Credit Union, in a press release. The credit union faces both tech and market competition from larger banks such as USAA, which serves military customers globally via a variety of mobile and web financial services, putting pressure on Pacific to offer similar services.

DocuSign competes in a crowded marketplace for electronic signatures, facing competition from firms such as EchoSign, AssureSign, RightSignature, Doc on Time and others.

The technology stands to get a longer look from credit unions, which face changes in documentation requirements stemming from updates to Regulation Z, which requires more disclosures in credit union applications than in the past, inhibiting the credit unions' ability to offer faster closings of new loans though less documentation, particularly for existing members.

By offering standardized digital signatures gives these credit unions the opportunity to maintain faster closings for existing members, since the new forms can be moved quickly through automation.