Equinox Consulting

Analysis- I’m signing for electronic signature… Are you game or not?

Barbara Busi at 2015-11-17 in Décryptage

The deployment of electronic signature in bank branches is becoming more and more popular. Considering that it gives an opportunity to reduce costs, risks, and also optimize timelines, this trend is bound to gain momentum. The implementation of a legal framework at the European level from July 2016, in order to harmonize practices between countries, is further strengthening this reality.

 Signature électronique_1Source : http://abibiometrics.org/signature-identification.html

Why should I get involved?

The craze for electronic signature in French banks is explained by the fact that it has many benefits, which can be classified under three categories:

1. Economies of scale: less printing, and saving on the cost for storing scanned documents. Examples:

  • A medium-sized bank can save on more than 6 euros per document, which represents a saving of more than 3 million euros per year and per bank (1)
  • Following the installation of tablets in its branches, Caisse d’Epargne now saves on more than 365,000 sheets per year (2)

2. Productivity gains: Electronic signature contributes to the optimization of the contractualization by reducing processing timelines. It thus enables to remove a number of low added-value processes, and at the same time provides a smoother customer experience, thus improving the conversion rate and sales performance. Examples:

  • Thanks to the installation of tablets for electronic signature in its branches, Caisse d’Epargne has saved 9% of the time spent on sales development, which is now allocated to higher-value tasks (2)
  • At Credit Agricole Consumer Finance (CACF), the unit processing of vendor invoices required more than 25 minutes on an average, for a total volume fluctuating between 200 and 400 invoices per day, thus enabling to reallocate a part of Full-Time Equivalents (FTE) to other activities (3)
  • CACF has set up a financing subscription on iPad enabling it to process files in less than 10 minutes (3)

3. Security gains for better risk management: It facilitates the archiving of scanned documents, reduces document loss rate, ensures a quick and easy signatory authentication and enables electronic message traceability. Examples :

  • Logistics loss of documents: (4)
    • Cost of a lost document: $350
    • On average, 1 paper document is lost every 12 seconds in large firms

And what will be my strategy?

Considering these advantages, the number of banks involved in this field is increasing year by year.

Most of the banking institutions favor progressive implementation though a two-speed strategy, thus preferring the development of online electronic signatures first, before deploying them on branch networks.

This can be explained by two reasons:

  • Providing touch tablets to bank branches requires considerable financial and technological investment,
  • Customer advisers must be supported in understanding this enhancement, thus requiring a wide-scale organizational approach.

Online subscription remains the easiest-to-apply and fastest solution, which is increasingly favored by customers. In 2014, for instance, 21% of customers subscribed to a direct online banking offering (5).

Signature électronique_2

Many banks are also working on the distance selling of their products. This distribution channel requires the development of customer adviser equipment, especially the availability of tablets so as to be able to initiate a video-conference with customers.

Before standardizing this system over a large scope of offerings, the players primarily prefer its deployment on offerings that are legally less binding, to ensure a simple and massive market penetration.

In this perspective, Everyday Banking, Balance sheet savings and Non-life insurance offer subscriptions are favored over other banking products, irrespective of the distribution channel type.

OK, let’s go, but with caution

Based on the experience feedbacks of the most advanced players, some cautionary points need to be observed for a successful implementation.

However, some sticking points, which slow down project execution, may occur. It is right to wonder what are the reasons preventing deadline compliance, in spite of careful preparation of the deployment roadmap.

Time constraints: The duration of transformation projects related to electronic signature deployment is relatively long: from 18 to 24 months between the pilot phase and deployment for a range of offers distributed by a branch network.

Budget and IT constraints: many banking institutions have faced technical difficulties – and therefore budgetary constraints – in the alignment of information systems. Very often, the lack of anticipation of regulatory constraints and changes underlies these problems.

Operational efficiency constraints: Despite continuous improvement and customer satisfaction being the constant aim, some players do not invest enough in the digital front and principles of future banking. In parallel to arbitration between digital transformation projects and regulatory projects, relations with producers must also be considered, because the lack of alignment of the roadmap with that of the producers can significantly delay the standardization of electronic signatures in bank branches.

If I go ahead, how can I succeed?

Businessman presses button transformation on virtual screens. Business, technology, internet and networking concept.Source : docaufutur.fr

A cross-functional, flexible and agile organization

Implementation of electronic signature in bank branches requires the participation of customer advisers, right from the pilot phase till deployment.

Sales promotion plays a key role in supporting branch networks and therefore forms one of the main pillars for an appropriate « digitalized » organizational architecture. It is intended to create awareness and involve networks in digital transformation, particularly by ensuring smoother communications between Marketing, Training and Commercial Animation teams.

The vertical and sequenced organization is changing progressively to a multidimensional, agile, more reactive and more reliable model. One of the most efficient means to execute this is to implement cross-functional groups, or « communities », dedicated to the different digital projects. The implementation of digital signature is one of the best means to initiate this shift.

From integration to buy-in

A second success factor is based on the skill ramp-up of advisers through adapted training modules. These modules enable an understanding and a rapid assimilation of new techniques.

In order to reinforce training and improve adviser engagement in Digital technology, it can be particularly efficient to set up mechanisms for continuous improvement of bank branches (i.e. test branches/Labs to get familiarized with the new tools, etc).

Objectives set: smoother pre-sales, sales and post-sales journey for a clear and transparent customer experience, through an implicated Commercial Animation team.

What are the latest news on the market ?

Banque&InnovationSource : http://www.banqueetinnovation.com/

Electronic signature is therefore one of the most important aspects in the digital transformation process of the banking sector. Handwritten signature, however timeless, is becoming obsolete, giving way to a simpler, faster and smoother reality, which should be adopted in different channels.

The « Banque et Innovation » (bank & innovation) conference organized on the 1st of October was one of the events which gave rise to this adoption and provided a toolbox for participants: In parallel to solutions already generalized in bank branches, such as interactive screens and styluses sold by Wacom, other new technological solutions have been presented, such as Bluetooth adapters with USB connection and other connected devices from Vasco enabling a more secured authentication.

The scope of opportunities provided by new technological solutions is widening and enables you to differentiate yourself from your competitors. So, are you now game or not for electronic signature implementation within your network?


(1) http://itespresso.fr/tribune-wacom-signature-numerique-installe-banques-92042.html

(2) http://cbanque.com/actu/51414/signature-electronique-les-agences-bancaires-francaises-a-la-traine

(3) CA Consumer Finance Dématérialisation: un virage stratégique; (Dematerialization: a strategic shift); In-house Magazine of CA Consumer Finance, No.7- October 2012

(4) https://www.fntc.org/publications/func-startdown/374/

(5) http://www.journaldunet.com/ebusiness/le-net/banque-en-ligne-usages-des-francais/souscription-a-un-produit-en-ligne.shtml


Barbara Busi   Barbara


Retail, Digital & SFS

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