Headquarters: Naples, Fla.
Asset size: $440 million
Project: New core, imaging systems.
Why it's cool: The bank truly strives to be paperless, including scanning and digitizing all incoming mail.

Killing Paper

Peter Setaro will be the first to admit that starting a bank off "right" with a paperless system has been no walk in the park.

"There were some pains at the very beginning," says Setaro, CIO at First National. Still, the managers "knew we needed to have the right technology to get out of what we experienced in the past with the growing pains" of manually transferring information statewide.

In 2009, Setaro and his team acquired Panther Community Bank, which had been formed two years earlier, and converted it to new imaging, archiving and core platform systems.

"We've got some seasoned lenders who have been in business 30-plus years, and they are used to shuffling papers, and they wanted to keep that paper close by," Setaro says. First National did not offer cabinets to store papers but they did offer extensive training for their new system. "All of a sudden, the folks who were hesitant to change started actually giving suggestion for enhancements to the system," he says.

Convincing customers to stay paperless through its automatic electronic statement enrollment has been a smoother process, with about 60% of First National's customers on board. First National uses several technology products through Jack Henry & Associates to virtually upload images and files to both its archive and core system seamlessly. The bank has also lowered the amount of servers to seven from 32 individual servers through virtualization technology.

Setaro acknowledges that the young FNB, which has yet to reach profitability, is working on better efficiencies after implementing a large-scale platform. "We never make a decision based solely on how much it costs or what the return on investment is," he says.

About 30% of First National's total staff can work remotely using a laptop or phone to securely view a file. They are now testing tablet applications that would allow employees to access files on their tablets.

"I can't tell you how many times a loan officer has said, 'If I hadn't had remote access to systems, a customer could have missed their closing date or had issues related to the closing process," Setaro says. "The customers are absolutely amazed at how quickly we can turn around a situation for them and respond to them, even on a weekend."