Glasgow Credit Union is one of the largest credit unions in Europe, serving the greater Glasgow area with a service scope focusing on savings and loans. Experiencing steady growth, the organization used Laserfiche to power a number of digital transformation initiatives aimed at reducing reliance on manual processes and ensuring that the organization could scale while maintaining the high-quality customer experience for which the credit union is known.
The organization initially implemented Laserfiche in 2016 as a document management platform, integrating it with Glasgow’s CRM system to improve access to information for customers and employees. Since then, Laserfiche has helped achieve business process automation to digitize and streamline loan processing. With a completely automated lending platform, clients are offered more competitive lending services, enabling customers to complete loan approvals in under an hour.
“Laserfiche is quite central to all we do,” said Paul McFarlane, chief technology officer at Glasgow Credit Union.
Additionally, Glasgow Credit Union’s digital initiatives have supported business continuity during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling the organization to rapidly pivot to more digitally focused services. This aligns with expansion and scalability needs: Since implementing Laserfiche, membership has expanded to around 55,000 customers, representing nearly GBP 200 million (US$277 million*) in assets.
A Customer-Focused, Streamlined Lending Process
Founded in 1989, Glasgow Credit Union has grown substantially over the past four decades but its aim has remained the same: helping members and ensuring they have access to friendly, professional financial services that meet their needs. As member expectations have evolved, the credit union has prioritized digital transformation to provide the best possible member experience.
“It’s not just us, but in our sector, we didn’t have a lot of scalability in a lot of our processes,” McFarlane said. “So our application journey, specifically to onboard a member and apply for a loan, was quite a cumbersome process because it was paper-heavy and there was a lot of manual tasks. … There was no automation. Initially there were no web services as well.”
Using Laserfiche, the organization created an automated lending platform which digitized and centralized loan applications, increasing accessibility of information for staff; and ultimately accelerated loan processing for clients. With the understanding that an easy and fast new member onboarding is fundamental to a member’s experience, the credit union also digitized and streamlined the member onboarding process by integrating Laserfiche with its existing financial management application, Curtains, along with DocuSign. New members can now join the credit union and apply for funds within 15 minutes — a process that used to take up to three days.
With an eye toward enhancing the full client experience, Glasgow Credit Union also launched an initiative to streamline the borrowing process. This required as fast a turnaround as possible for customer loans to be issued once their loan applications were accepted. Previously handling around 24,000 loan agreements each year, the company manually processed and archived 120,000 sheets of paper. Customers were manually notified by staff at each stage of the loan journey, resulting in 10,000 resource hours each year.
“The feedback from members was phenomenal — the speed, the efficiency, the fact that we didn’t have to wait for the post to deliver the paper, and how easy it was to do business with us after we had improved those processes,” said McFarlane.
The Glasgow Credit Union team re-engineered and automated the loan agreement process so that loans could be completed in under an hour rather than several days.Approximately80% of applications were completed digitally prior to the pandemic. COVID-19 increased reliance on digital processes, however, and today, nearly all loan applications are now submitted and processed in a digital manner, benefiting both clients and staff in terms of efficiency and turnaround.
“Our work with Laserfiche wasn’t about preparing for something like COVID — I don’t think anybody was preparing for something like COVID,” McFarlane explained. “Our decision to digitalize was all about efficiency; it was about speed and providing a better, slicker service to our members. But if we hadn’t done that, it would have been a different conversation that we’re having today.”
Improving the Customer Journey
Digitization has also benefited Glasgow Credit Union members by providing the ability to initiate joining and borrowing processes even after office business hours. An automated self-serve channel allows the processes to be kicked off without staff supervision. After initiating an application process, Laserfiche integrations with third party applications — DocuSign, Curtains, and a bespoke front-end platform — seamlessly drive the loan application process through a workflow from the initial application stage to final payout.
Documents are delivered back to customers for signing, bringing them to the next application stage. The automated process saves more than 150 employee hours each week. Employees have reclaimed this time to focus on other parts of the business, expanding operational capacity.
“We’ve got Laserfiche integrated with our core technologies, so users can view documents through our front-end that are pulled from the Laserfiche platform, without having to open up separate applications,” said McFarlane. “Employees find it quite easy that they’re not having to work across multiple platforms.”
Underlying Glasgow Credit Union’s integration and process automation initiatives, the organization has robust records management practices — a critical element to success in the financial services industry. Laserfiche has supported the organization’s information governance, enabling the credit union to manage the full life cycle of documents and supporting compliance with European data protection regulations.
During the first year after deploying Laserfiche, Glasgow Credit Union experienced an income growth exceeding GBP 1 million (US$1.31 million*), as well as a GBP 40 million (US$52.44 million*) increase in loan volumes from 2017 to 2018. Followed by this business growth, the credit union’s team now feels they have an infinite operational capacity for loan processing. After four years, Glasgow Credit Union has achieved ROI equating to their original investment in the Laserfiche platform. Factoring in resource savings and improved customer journey times, the credit union has a scalable model that has resulted in significant growth in business.
As a central, business-critical software solution, Laserfiche has helped Glasgow Credit Union with existing scalability and project prioritization goals, as well as helped to respond to customer needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond member onboarding and loan applications, the organization is looking to implement Laserfiche in a similar capacity in mortgage applications and other business units.
“I’m amazed at the simplicity of integrating Laserfiche with our existing processes and other pieces of business-critical technology,” said McFarlane. “Our vision is to the lender of choice within our marketplace in Glasgow – Laserfiche has helped us achieve that.”
*USD conversion subject to current exchange rate.