By David Ronald, Marketing Director at Foxit 

As the world goes digital, the banking industry is being forced to undergo change quickly in order to keep pace and meet customer demands.  At the same time, financial institutions are facing intense pressure to reduce costs while increasing productivity and finding new ways to streamline processes and improve operations. All of this must be balanced with the fact that no other industry, aside from government, has to deal with more stringent and difficult regulations when it comes to managing information.

Some financial institutions are turning their attention to document management as area that  can improve all these areas.  Banks are finding that moving on from old, antiquated systems and adopting smart, new document management solutions can greatly impact their ability to stay competitive and increase output. One of the key benefits of this move is helping banks transition online in order to help manage and rise above the current document barrage the industry faces. The sheer number of documents coming from both internal and external parties needed for financial institutions to run their day-to-day operations is staggering and that number is only going to increase.  In fact, a recent study by the BPI Network, a San Jose-based market research agency, found that 91 percent of business professionals said the pace of document creation would either increase or stay the same within their organizations. That same report also found that 83 percent of respondents agreed that the accelerated pace and connectivity of business will require them to produce, share and manage more documents in the coming years.  In the financial sector, where every process and activity must be documented, those numbers are surely to be even higher.

In this complicated transition from paper everything to digital, one of the most useful tools in the process is the Portable Document Format (PDF).  This might surprise you if you have used PDFs for any length of time as this standard has remained fairly unchanged for decades.  But a recent surge in PDF innovation has lead the business tool to becoming a key ally for organizations looking to move their processes away from paper and onto digital platforms.

PDF is a perfect fit for banks looking to digitize files and store them electronically in order to avoid the enormous space requirements, cumbersome storage and difficulty accessing documents that massive paper files have created. New PDF solutions, embedded with intelligence,enable a wide range of capabilities, including document locating and tracking, file update notifications, shared and synchronized reviews, remote file protection, data collection and much more. The benefits of these new innovative PDF tools are made even better as they are available without the use of costly, complex, kludgy old legacy document management systems.

The benefits of leveraging new innovative PDF technology in financial institutions are vast. Here are a few ways banks are starting benefit themselves and customer:

  • Decrease the size of files – Digital PDF files are much smaller than other formats, which save hardware space and makes documents easier to send online.
  • Make files searchable – Digital access to PDF documents saves time by eliminating the need to dig through massive numbers of paper documents. This is especially important as banks deal with compliance issues and legal requirements.
  • Standardize document formats across the financial institution – Having documents in different formats slows an institution down. PDF is among the best options for storing digital documents because it’s a standard and can easily be converted into documents of various kinds—including Microsoft Word, Excel, and just about any other software format
  • Retain original documents look – Banks can convert documents and still retain the look and feel of the original.
  • Retain signatures – Many financial institutions need to archive actual signed forms, with signatures included. New PDF forms ensure that the digital form with signatures included is preserved.
  • Give Customers Easy Access to Bank Statements –Banking clients need to view their statements online and in print and PDF technology can integrate right into financial institution’s applications so customers get easy access to the information they need.
  • Fast PDF Browser Display for Anytime, Anywhere Access – Whether customers are in the office or on the road, new PDF technology makes easy for them to view their statements online using desktop and mobile devices – with no local software required.
  • Easier Forms – Users can access forms online, fill them out quickly and submit them to banks faster. Banks get electronic copies that can go right into their archive with no manual processing needed.

As great as all this might sound, the inevitable question becomes how utilizing these new digital PDF tools will affect security.  When you consider the number of paper-based processes in place in financial institutions and their core challenge of protecting the financial data of their customers, no other industry has more on the line in terms of security.

As it turns out, these new digital PDF solutions have actually become a security asset for those banks instituting them.  Because of the improvements in the PDF technology, documents become more trackable, controllable and secure. This has been done through embedding PDF documents with an identity and connecting them in the cloud, allowing government agencies more control over their documents and confidential data—even after a document leaves the premises. In fact, creators can track the usage of their document and security features will follow it no matter where it goes.

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