Banks and Credit Unions are such an important part of everyday life. Many banks have hundreds if not thousands of branches spread across the country to serve their customers in person. Often, those branches offer notary services.
But now that banking has moved online — in the US alone, there are more than 200 million people using online banking — banks and credit unions are left to wonder if notarization should move online, too.
The pandemic pushed many daily activities online — notarization included. People still needed documents notarized to close on a mortgage, submit insurance claims, and more, even if lockdown rules made it difficult to find an in-person notary. That’s why online notarizations have become so popular. They provide convenience and flexibility to those who need a document notarized. And with many transactions now available online (for example, mortgage closings) it also provides a more seamless digital experience because consumers no longer have to go meet a notary in person.
For banks and credit unions used to facilitating notarizations, this shift raises questions: If notarizations move online, should they continue to offer in-person services? Should they add online options to give customers more choice?
There are many benefits of online notarization for banks and credit unions, such as:
What’s more, online notarization provides operational efficiencies for the entire bank or credit union. Training and certifying notaries in each branch can be costly, and if someone leaves, the bank has to ensure they have a replacement.
Not only does online notarization reduce or eliminate those costs, it enables branches to offer notarization services even when there isn’t someone on staff to provide them. Customers can’t get documents notarized whenever or wherever they want because not each branch has a notary public, and even if they do, the notary may not be available when someone walks through the door. Even for a free service, this becomes a poor customer experience that may impact how a customer views their bank and potentially stops them from converting on an important transaction (such as a loan).
While online notarization benefits banks and credit unions at a corporate level, the immediate benefits, and the ability to justify the budget, is most clear when it’s implemented first at the branch level.
A bank branch can cost between $600,000 and $800,000+ to run per year. To make branches more profitable, banks are improving staff productivity, addressing inefficient processes and lowering operating costs — and online notarization fits into this strategy.
With online notarization available on a bank’s website, as well as inside the branch, regular customers get a much better experience when they walk through the door — especially if the bank’s notary is out or busy. The bank or credit union still gets the efficiencies of a digital-first experience, and can begin to reduce the costs associated with notary commissions, insurance and training that comes with having full-time notaries at each branch.
Online notarization at the branch level also brings digital transformation to more customers for more transactions. McKinsey confirms that using technology to boost revenue and improve customer experience can transform how a bank branch operates. Fewer staff are needed but customer interaction (and satisfaction) improves — resulting in a 60% to 70% improvement in branch effectiveness, as measured by cost savings and increased revenue.
With so many other important transactions offered online, now is the time for banks and credit unions to gain a competitive edge, and improve their branch’s bottom line with online notarization. Customers have embraced digital banking, and the banks and credit unions that provide the best online customer service will see higher conversion rates and better long-term ROI.
Interested in bringing online notarization services to your bank or credit union?