Trust Officers: Meet Your New Best Friend

Your financial institution places significant responsibility upon your shoulders.

After all, as the bank’s Trust Officer, you’re tasked with maintaining a delicate balance between customer satisfaction, prudent decision making, efficient recordkeeping, and, of course, regulatory compliance.

Since taking over the department, your bank has experienced rapid growth in its number of trust accounts – a true testament to your foresight and leadership. With future scalability in mind, however, you’re beginning to question the viability of your department’s current recordkeeping systems. Specifically, managing the overwhelming volume of paper documents seems untenable.

Let’s explore best practices for solving your trust document management headaches.

Identify the Challenges

The first step of solving any problem is to fully understand the problem itself. Your trust department’s challenges are no exception. Do any of these sound familiar?

Paper Overload: Utility bills, tax returns, insurance certificates, bank statements, court documents, benefit statements…the list goes on and on. Each day yields an untold amount of paperwork for your department to review, act upon (when appropriate), and file somewhere. As a result, you’re quickly running out of storage space!

Misfiled Documents: With so much paper to deal with, it’s understandable why some documents end up in the wrong place. Your team is doing the best they can, but they occasionally make mistakes. What’s worse, no one notices the misfiling until it’s too late.

Friction with Customers: Customers count on your department to manage their most important transactions and financial decisions. With so many responsibilities for each customer, maintaining a high-level view of each relationship can be difficult – especially when everything is scattered in various folders, binders, and cabinets. Without a 360-degree view of your relationships, it’s impossible to provide the customized level of support that clients deserve.

Clearly, paper documents are creating bottlenecks for your trust department. Unfortunately, you can’t stop paper from arriving in the mail.

Revisit FDIC Guidance

Before we explore technological solutions to your challenges, it might be wise to revisit regulatory guidance on trust document management. After all, the last thing you want to do is implement a system that isn’t compliant.

Among the U.S. Federal Government’s trust-related resources is a 13,000-word Trust Examination Manual published by the FDIC. In addition to stressing the importance of a trust tickler, the FDIC points out that “Documentation is as important as the administration itself, as fiduciaries must account for their actions to others. Challenges to account administration, resulting in complaints or litigation, may occur years after a particular transaction has occurred.”

How can a trust department like yours ensure a recordkeeping process that aligns with these expectations? For starters, the FDIC points out the prevalence of electronic recordkeeping in banking: “While some smaller, noncomplex trust departments may continue to maintain trust records manually, most institutions now maintain trust records electronically. Electronic recordkeeping systems are acceptable, provided that the institution has implemented adequate internal controls and procedures to ensure the integrity of trust department records.”

In short, electronic trust document management is not only acceptable – it’s actually becoming the new norm among financial institutions.

Evaluate Document Management Vendors

As you begin to evaluate electronic recordkeeping vendors, seek out a provider who can ensure the following document management features:

Provides Flexible Imaging: Not all documents can easily be scanned using a desktop scanner. For example, some tax returns are over 200 pages long. Look for a system that provides flexible imaging solutions, such as ePrinting and multifunction scanning.

Designed for Trust Departments: Beware that there are many “general purpose” imaging solutions on the market today. As we’ve discussed, your department’s needs are highly specialized and require a platform that’s custom-tailored to trust document management.

Offers a Native Tickler: Some trust management systems offer a built-in tickler, thereby consolidating document storage and tracking under one roof. For example, our AccuAccount platform automatically clears document exceptions as documents are scanned and uploaded.

Trust Exceptions Clear Scan

Delivers a 360-Degree View of Each Customer: Don’t settle for trust imaging software that is essentially a glorified hard drive. Ideally, the system you choose should integrate to your trust core and deliver a 360-degree view of the customer’s documents, account information, correspondence, linked relationships, and more.

Meet Your New Best Friend

Ready to meet your new best friend?

Chat with us to learn more about AccuAccount, a banking-specific imaging and tracking platform that’s used by 15,000 bankers worldwide. Reduce paper, automate your tickler, and scale your trust department.

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