Bank Imaging Quality Control

Quality control must be a vital component of any risk management process – especially in today’s tech-driven banking environment.

Document imaging software, now used by 69% of community banks based on our research, is a prime example of this truth. Clearly, digitizing loan files and operational documents can significantly reduce a bank’s exposure to information loss. On the other hand, bank-wide imaging presents new risks that must be mitigated through effective quality control.

In this article, we’ll explore best practices for bank imaging quality control.

Quality Assurance & Risk Management

Much has been published on the topic of risk management in banking. OCC Bulletin 1998-3, for example, specifically addresses the topic of technology risk management for national banks. The bulletin’s stated purpose is to “provide guidance on how national banks should identify, measure, monitor, and control risks associated with the use of technology.” The bulletin points out that the “OCC expects banks to have an integrated approach to risk management to identify, measure, monitor, and control risks in an institution.”

The bulletin also suggests that a technology-related risk management process should involve three key elements:

  1. Planning for proper use of the technology
  2. Proper implementation
  3. Measuring and monitoring performance

When it comes to imaging software, not all systems are created with these three elements in mind. Even a properly implemented system can fail if it lacks essential quality assurance safeguards. Scanning becomes a fruitless effort without a reliable workflow for preventing illegible signatures, missing documents, or low-quality images. Failing to safeguard against these issues can create new compliance problems:

“The OCC will review whether bank management has established procedures to ensure that quality assurance efforts take place and that the results are incorporated into future planning in order to manage and limit excessive risk taking.”

In short, an imaging system should align with your bank’s technology-related risk management process – not thwart it.

Aligning Imaging & Quality Control

So, how can your bank select an imaging system that aligns with your technology-related risk management process?

For starters, be sure to do plenty of due diligence about each system’s quality control process. Start by asking vendors these questions:

  • Does your system have an integrated workflow for QC’ing images?
  • How does the QC workflow work?
  • Can we specify certain documents (such as promissory notes) as “QC critical”?
  • What happens if a QC critical document is missing?
  • Does your system offer a point-and-click way to reject scanned documents?
  • If a document is rejected, is the original scanner notified via email?
  • What types of QC reporting does your system offer?
  • Can we generate reports to identify pending, rejected, or “QC critical” documents?
  • Will your system make life easier for our quality control team?

After receiving answers to your questions, it’s time to see the system in action. Ask the vendor to provide a demo of their QC workflow. Consider these perspectives when taking a demo of the software:

Scanner’s Perspective: Decentralized scanning is an important step for scaling your document management workflow. Quality control issues usually originate at the scanner level. Therefore, an ideal document management system should provide a suite of imaging options, such as email upload, one-off scanning, and batch scanning. That being said, QC issues are still bound to occur. When they do, your imaging system should provide built-in workflows that proactively alert the user and provide clear instructions for rectifying the situation.

QC Manager’s Perspective: Your person in charge of quality control might review hundreds of images on a daily basis. Although the vast majority will likely pass QC, rejecting even a handful can become an arduous, time-intensive process. Ask to see how rejection works and whether the workflow is feasible for your bank.

Management’s Perspective: Does the system provide high-level reporting to track QC throughput? Will the system help you identify trends and understand why certain documents are being rejected?

Get a Better QC Workflow

Our AccuAccount platform was built to streamline the entire QC workflow for community banks. Scanned documents appear in a queue for your QC team to review and approve or reject. Rejected documents are automatically routed back to the scanner, alerting the user to take action. Built-in reporting provides staff and management with the transparency they need to stay on top of compliance and reduce risk.

Quality Control AccuAccount

Ready to see our QC workflow in action? Register for our next AccuAccount Live to see our software that’s trusted by more than 15,000 bankers.

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Connect with Cathy Cirullo

Cathy Cirullo is the Implementation Manager at AccuSystems and has 30+ years of experience working in the banking industry. Having overseen loan operations departments, compliance programs, and retail operations, Cathy has extensive knowledge of loan and deposit documentation and regulations.