Encompass Credit Union says goodbye to paper

When you think of opening a new account at a financial institution, do you imagine driving to a branch and waiting in line to speak with a teller? Or, do you think about opening an app on your phone and following quick and easy steps from the comfort of your sofa?

The second option is possible with Encompass Credit Union.

“About two years ago, we began to transform ourselves to become more visible, flexible and functional in the digital space,” said Amy Gertsma, Vice-President of Information Services with Encompass. “We need to stay relevant and provide members and prospective members not just what they want on digital, but what they don’t know they want because they haven’t been exposed to it yet.”

Across the financial services industry, change has become the new normal. Credit unions have always been leaders in innovation – from being first to offer full-service ATMs in 1977 to leading with fully functional online banking in 1995 – so it should come as no surprise that we continue to focus on evolving to provide members the convenience and adaptability they’ve come to expect.

Amy echoed that innovation doesn’t exist on a continuum. “We must continue to grow and change. We’ll never be finished.”

In November 2017, Encompass partnered with digital technology and integration solutions provider Celero and fintech ASAPP Financial Technology to introduce an online account opening tool that was convenient and easy-to-use online and in the branch. The goal for this new system, which launched in June 2018, is to have 85% of consumer accounts opened either online or in branch using the account opening system. Another big milestone was the ability to obtain digital signatures through DocuSign® to make the process 100% paperless. Goodbye to paper, hello to the future!

Encompass now offers online sign-up for chequing and saving accounts, as well as Tax-Free Saving Accounts, retirement and investment products. In fact, it is the first credit union in Canada to enable online applications for retirement accounts like RSPs and obtain digital signatures on the beneficiary designation. Coming soon will be online loan and mortgage applications.

“Thanks to the security and integrity of our business processes – with the help of our corporate partners – we are in a position to accept digital copies of documents and move away from the existing paper-based system,” said Amy.

So what does this mean for new and existing Encompass members? They are no longer restricted by geography. And given that Encompass serves rural communities spread out across Alberta, this is a game-changer.

“Now, a member who leaves his town to go to university can operate his account online with no issues while living away. Or a new member who wants to bank with our credit union but doesn’t live nearby can open a new account without ever entering a branch,” Amy explained.

But don’t think that this shift to digital solutions means Encompass will lose its focus on award-winning customer service. It just means offering service that is tailored to meet members where they’re at in life.

“We still want to have a dialogue with all our members and get to know their financial goals so we can help them be successful. The only change is that the channel we use to speak with them may vary,” Amy said.

There also an opportunity to offer members more to make their lives better by identifying the products and services they need before they need them using business intelligence. Imagine a future where you are pre-approved for your mortgage as soon as you consider moving, or where you’re offered a line of credit before unexpected expenses arise.

“It’s not about cross-selling for us. It’s about finding where we can truly add value.”

For more information on Encompass Credit Union check out their blog here.