After 100 Years of Paper, F&M Bank Begins Additional Digital Services

Pictured: F&M’s downtown location at Pine and 3rd St. Photo by Brian Addison.

Paper is going to be a thing of the past for most operations, at least at the 107-year-old Farmers and Merchants Bank of Long Beach (F&M).

FMBankThe bank is launching an enterprise content management (ECM) system, which officials say will speed up service, save the bank money and avoid using natural resources for endless paper trails.

ECM, presented by Long Beach-based Laserfiche, is a digital platform that computerizes and automates the bulk of the bank’s business and administrative units as quickly as possible, said Judy Morales, F&M Senior Vice President.

“Enterprise is the entirety of an organization and not just individual departments,” she said. “Be it a government agency, healthcare provider, manufacturing plant or bank, all its departments make up the enterprise. Content is the emails, voicemails, texts, photos, faxes, electronic images of documents and schematics that make up the information enterprises depend on. This content is in digital format these days making it possible to work with everything through one centralized system that allows for universal instant access in a secure environment. That’s ECM. Paper-based letters, pictures, schematics, and analog tape recordings allow for no such convenience. Management is simply the electronic management of all that digital information.”

The change from paper to digital stems from Morales’ wish for the bank to grow without reducing or impairing services. Banks are complex organizations, she said, citing F&M having 23 branches and several back offices across Southern California.

“We need to consolidate and streamline job functions wherever possible if we want to continue to grow in this very competitive banking environment,” Morales said. “We have to look at growth not just from the perspective of offering the best products and services but also from how we do business internally. The flow of information is vital to streamlining and reducing the cost of doing business.”

Morales estimates that the company will save tens of thousands of dollars with ECM, thanks to reduced ink, paper and copier maintenance costs. She said she is also excited for the smaller benefits as well, like generating reports with just a few computer keystrokes to save time.

Techniques like these will allow a faster experience for customers at every stage of service. Loans, for example, will be automated, making moving through paperwork a thing of the past.

“ECM is vital not just for the growth, but for risk mitigation and monitoring as well,” Morales said. “When you add the benefit of reduced risk to the enormous savings in improved operational efficiency from deploying ECM, it clearly provides the biggest bang for the buck when looking to grow your business.”

For customers still desiring paper statements, such services will be offered.

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