|First Bank Benefits from Banc Intranets’ Board Portal Product, DirectorsLink
The DirectorsLink board portal was uniquely designed to help bank directors and senior managers operate more efficiently. However, First Bank of Troy, N.C. is successfully leveraging DirectorsLink primarily for the benefit of its regional loan committee. In fact, the bank implemented the solution with the loan committee specifically in mind.
DirectorsLink allows secure access for users to instantly access up-to-date information about their organization. They can log into the system anywhere and anytime to view corporate agendas, financial reports, loan packages, procedures and other pertinent information. DirectorsLink also enhances communication and collaboration between directors, company leaders and committee members.
Implementing DirectorsLink for the regional loan committee was essential. This executive group was meeting on a weekly basis, with some members driving more than six hours roundtrip to attend. Besides having the hassle and expense of traveling, the committee consumed reams of paper. The committee members had to bring in 13 copies of each loan they presented, and the loan packets averaged 35 pages each. Now loan files can be taken directly from DirectorsLink and viewed online. “It’s made our folks so much more effective,” Senior Vice President Rex Scott said. “The regional loan officers get part of their day back by being in the office, instead of on the road.”
Making Things Easier
With DirectorsLink, the process of reviewing and voting on loans is much simpler and easier. For example: Instead of thumbing through a 35-page file, committee members can access the uploaded loan documents online and go straight to the bookmarks to focus on certain sections. The voting capability of DirectorsLink allows the bank to record the votes for each loan that’s presented, which provides useful documentation for examiners and auditors. Previously, the committee members would pass a sheet around the table and sign off on the loans. But DirectorsLink has expedited the voting process. “It makes for a much more efficient and shorter meeting,” Scott said.
DirectorsLink is also providing First Bank an unexpected benefit: Having the loan documents easily accessible online makes it possible for loan officers to go to the regional executive’s office and speak with them as they are presenting their particular loan to the committee. “The regional loan committee members are more likely to understand all the details of the customer whose loan they are reviewing.” Scott said. “It makes the case for better information.”
Now the regional loan executives prefer to meet remotely instead of traveling to the home office. They say implementing the board portal is one of the best things the bank has ever done, Scott says. When they do need to have meetings at the bank’s headquarters they conduct the meeting using DirectorsLink—viewing the site on a laptop or tablet device.
DirectorsLink is such a user-friendly solution that the bank had originally planned to have its regional loan committee hold two training meetings. But by the end of the first meeting, things were going so well, the group decided to hold the second meeting remotely.
Another important feature of DirectorsLink is its ability to archive information that’s presented during meetings. This allows the board to quickly locate and reference details from previous meetings. Scott said. “Within a matter of seconds, we can access the information, instead of going through printed reports or minutes.”
First Bank’s board of directors is also capitalizing on the ease and convenience of DirectorsLink. The directors can use their personal or company-issued tablets to log into DirectorsLink’s secure environment for meeting materials, corporate data and other important information. Different committees of the board can access specific portions of DirectorsLink to complete their duties. Each committee can be secured to only authorized members, allowing for various executive committee members to utilize the site. This obviously improves the ROI benefit.
The situation was completely different before DirectorsLink entered the picture. The board secretary used to email or mail information packets to the directors. If the packages were emailed, they would ultimately have to be printed—which created a potential security issue. “With DirectorsLink, you don’t print them out; they stay on the secure site,” Scott explained. “We feel like this is more secure.”
It’s also less time-consuming. Since documents don’t need to be mailed to the directors, they have more time to review the material prior to meetings. And because all of the documents are bookmarked, reviewers can go directly to the sections that interest them, which helps enhance their participation in board meetings. In addition, directors have full access to the information they need to attend meetings remotely, should the need arise. Scott explained: “The regulators are very concerned about the board being active and participating in the majority of meetings. Most of these are busy professionals with other demands on their time. Now if they have to attend a board meeting remotely, it’s a much better alternative for them.”
As a matter of security, the bank’s directors have secure routers in their offices, homes or wherever they’re accessing the portal. In addition, the information being transmitted is encrypted as an extra precaution.
DirectorsLink has positioned First Bank to receive significant results and return on its investment. The greatest anticipated savings is with the regional loan committee. In addition to improving the quality of the group’s meetings, the software allows committee members to spend more time in the office. The bank expects DirectorsLink to eliminate 1,500-plus miles of driving per week and two million copies each year, with an annual savings of $115,000 in mileage and copy costs.
DirectorsLink is allowing the bank’s board of directors to take advantage of remote meetings and improved access to documents. The bank will reap a $5,000 savings on paper and postage annually.
Initially, First Bank had looked at a variety of vendors before selecting Banc Intranets as its solutions provider. “The company proved to be a good choice,” Scott said. “The staff was very responsive, easy to work with and knowledgeable. It’s been a good experience.”
The bank felt that DirectorsLink was the most effective tool on the market, Scott says. “We’ve been pleased with our decision on the vendor and services,” Scott said. “I think everyone here would agree that they have exceeded our expectations.”
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"The regional loan committee alone will be able to eliminate at least 1,500 miles of weekly driving in travel to our main office," Rex M. Scott Sr. Vice President, First Bank