Financial institutions have a long list of compliance and regulatory hurdles that have to be cleared on a daily basis. This, of course, includes retaining and storing certain records securely for a very specified duration. 

Implementing a digitized and off-site storage component is increasingly important as consumers and employees alike embrace paper-free, electronic processes. The key is finding the right balance between physical records storage (as required by law) and digitizing records for convenience, speed, security, and greater access.  

No matter what type of financial institution you work for, a well-managed document retention system can help avoid loss and compliance issues and can go a long way to improve customer service and satisfaction.

Objectives and Goals of a Records Management System

Depending upon your industry and stakeholders, you may have slightly different needs and functionality for a records management system. Mortgage brokers have to manage a mountain of paperwork and share records amongst lenders, applicants, and escrow agencies. Investment firms are required by the SEC to keep a record of paper transactions on file for a specified period of time. And so forth.  

You likely already know your organization’s retention schedules for all paper and electronic documents. In order to improve workflows, you need to work with a provider that can help you structure your system to adhere to those requirements while also improving and automating employee workflows. 

Before you start working with a records management service provider, gather feedback from your staff. Have learning sessions to uncover the fundamental challenges your staff faces as they both open and manage client accounts and transactions.

Critical Features of a Records Management System

While your industry’s individual retention requirements may differ, the actual functionality and security of a records management system is fairly standard for most financial institutions. Employees need to easily search and locate records in real time from a secure, encrypted interface. 

Classification systems can identify and notify you where documents sit within the retention cycle, so you can dispose of them securely. Other features include: 

  • Automation that speeds up application and loan processing 
  • Tracking certifications required for state, federal, and local compliance regulations
  • Full compliance with all tax authorities (IRS, state, and local)
  • Encryption and permission levels based on individual job roles 
  • Increased accountability and transparency for the entire staff 

Improve and Simplify Workflows 

In addition to secure records storage and management, you need a system that will reduce friction for staff and customers alike. For example, how can you consolidate records to enable all departments to access a single client’s file, and touch only the right area of that record? Ask detailed questions about how your records management partner will improve workflows while also remaining compliant by recording and storing activities related to client transactions.

What to Look for in a New Records Management System

The entire financial world is now leaning into financial apps that present greater convenience, speed, and mobility for consumers. Your new records management system needs to be both comprehensive and adaptable. As the financial industry continues to evolve, from new compliance requirements and records retrieval capabilities, your institution should have confidence that your provider offers solutions that can adapt. 

Ask about quality indicators, including:

Customization: There is rarely a single solution that will work out of the box for a single financial institution. Work with a provider that is prepared to adapt a system to meet your individual needs. 

Security and Encryption: To address liability and security concerns, a records management company should provide end-to-end privacy and security for all electronic and physical records. 

Chain of Custody: When it comes to chain of custody, what safeguards does your partner have in place to reduce liability risks when those documents are stored offsite?

Disaster Recovery Systems

If there’s anything no one can predict, it’s an accident. However, they happen all the time. The only thing you can do is prepare for those accidents, and that includes safeguarding important paper records from them. 

Storms, flooding, fires, natural disasters, and more can threaten facilities. A natural event in one part of the country could also prevent your accessing records that are potentially stored there. Your provider should have adequate redundancy and security for those critical records when the unexpected happens. 

The QFlow Methodology 

While QFlow leverages technology and software to service our clients, we always lead with people. Our team will spend hours listening and working with you to deploy technological assets and deliver solutions that help your organization achieve its missions.

We use a flexible framework to prototype your new system, integrate your existing platforms, and create folder structures that adhere to your established standards. We analyze how content and information travels through your organization, identifying processes that can be made more efficient with automation. In other words, we create a system that reflects how you work today and create a platform that will support your needs well into the future. 

Schedule a demo today to learn more about how we maintain and organize records to match regulatory needs and mitigate risks for you and your team. 

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