Case study: CECA 4 years of paperless signature – a resumee

Four years ago, customers of Spanish banks and savings banks were obliged to repeat their signature on hundreds of different documents. All transactions, however small, used to involve endless document signature. Similarly, all these documents resulted in high direct costs generated by paper, printing and archiving and indirect costs generated by the backoffice business processes associated with each document. This is why the Confederation of Spanish Savings Banks (CECA) had decided to implement a project of Digitalized Signature System (DSS) in Spanish savings banks. When CECA first started this project, they had three very clear objectives in mind: Firstly, to save direct costs associated with documents generated by banking transactions. Secondly, to convert the digitalized signature into standard practice in the banking sector and even in other sectors. And finally, to achieve greater convenience for employees and customers.

But have they been successful fulfilling their goals? Let’s have a look!

After the installation of the signature tablets in 2009 in the first branches, the signature pads do now belong to the Spanish banking world like Paella and Flamenco to the cultural heritage of the country. By now, nearly 29,000 signature pads from Wacom have been installed in more than 18,000 branches spread all over the country. With the implementation of the signature pads, a medium savings bank (+1200 branches) is able to save more than 110 million paper sheets per year – that means direct cost savings of more than 1.4 million Euros per year less thanks to paper suppression, and savings in printers and ink. The indirect cost savings are even higher: This means savings in more efficient processes of almost 1.95 million Euros. In total a medium savings bank can save about 6,27€ per document, totalling on average 3.4 million Euros per year, per bank.

The Spanish banks are equipped with the signature tablets STU-500 and STU-520. Around 95% of all documents used in the daily business of the savings banks are today signed on the signature pads. Some branches have limits for credit applications: If the risk of the transaction (amount, collateral…) is higher than this limit a classicsignature on paper is required.

The signature solution from CECA offers not only the capturing of the signature image, but also the capturing of the biometric data such as the signatures pressure and speed. The tablet registers pressure, speed and acceleration of the pen during the signing process to generate an individual profile of each signatory to verify and authenticate the signature. With those biometric data signing electronically becomes even more secure: in case of fraud, the biometric data can be requested by an authorized person and the signatures can be compared by a graphology expert. Within the last four years CECA had to face 38 legal incidents: Thanks to the biometric data, 37 of those cases were solved out-of-the-court, proving that the signatures have been provided by the authorized person. In all those years CECA had to face only one real fraud case: thanks to the biometric validation CECA was able to proof the case and support the fraud victim.

“A few years ago, we faced a true “mountain” of paperwork. In order to reduce the printed documents and simplify our processes, we decided to implement the signature pads from Wacom – which was the best decision we have taken: Since the first signature has been captured in 2009, more than 300 million documents have been signed via the signature pads and they all look nearly new” says Santiago Uriel, CECA Technology Vice-Secretary. “In all those years we only had to complain less than 30 – that is a failure rate of less than 0,1%! The high quality of the products is one main reason for the great success of our project.”

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