Southwest Bank Loan Approvals Case Study

Southwest Bank Solution Case Study

Bank Uses KnowledgeLake ECM Solution to Streamline Loan Processing and Other Tasks

Southwest Bank serves businesses and consumers through 11 branches in north Texas. To streamline its internal workflows, including loan processing, it turned to a KnowledgeLake enterprise content management solution that runs on Microsoft SharePoint. Employees benefit from faster, easier access to documents, and the bank is saving money on physical storage. Just as important, customers get enhanced service because bank employees can quickly look up loan information and other data using custom dashboards.


Southwest Bank is a locally owned financial institution that provides a range of services to consumers and businesses in north Texas, including retail banking, business and home loans, and wealth management consulting. It has 11 banking centers and assets of about $1 billion.

The bank has been serving customers for more than 40 years, and over that time created paper-based processes for procedures from collecting loan documentation to gathering expense reports for employees.

In the past several years, the bank reached the point where the amount of manual effort involved in handling all of the paper was hobbling efficiency.


“For example, a loan might require dozens of documents to be recorded and processed,” says Danny Knudsen, Solution Analyst for the bank. “It was time consuming to sort, record, and then store the documents. We had other manually intensive processes, such as handling employee expense reports. Plus we had to deal with monthly rental expenses for off-site storage, and a fee of nearly $29 each time we requested that a document be pulled from storage.”



Knudsen, who had worked on an enterprise content management (ECM) solution for another community bank prior to joining Southwest Bank, joined with bank management in its decision to deploy a KnowledgeLake ECM solution along with Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.


“We’re a Microsoft shop, so additional costs for licensing and our development efforts were kept under control by going with KnowledgeLake and SharePoint,” Knudsen says.


The bank deployed KnowledgeLake Imaging for SharePoint, which is used for indexing document images as they are scanned, and KnowledgeLake Capture, which is used for batch processing of documents.

Paper files are scanned using a range of desktop and larger multi-function scanners from different manufacturers. These often involve paper files that are sent in through the mail or faxed by customers to loan officers, who use their desktop scanners to scan the documents. Electronic files sent by email are imported into the KnowledgeLake solution for indexing. During the indexing process, metadata is added to documents to aid in future searches. After they are scanned and indexed, documents go through a review process to verify the information and ensure that they are associated with the correct loan.

The bank used the Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Visual C# to develop some custom components, including a user interface for loan approvals that merge information from different data sets. The bank also developed workflows using K2 software, which is used to automate business processes and provides real-time dashboards that display the status of particular processes.


By deploying a KnowledgeLake ECM solution with SharePoint, Southwest Bank has been able to improve its internal workflows, employees can find and retrieve documents more easily, and the bank has been able to enhance its customer service.


“The KnowledgeLake solution and SharePoint combine to give us a vastly improved system for managing all the documents that are at the core of our daily business,” says Knudsen.


Fast Self-service Access to Documents

The new system is a huge improvement in terms of employees being able to quickly locate and retrieve important documents.


“One of the best examples has been with our auditors,” says Knudsen, “is that they definitely prefer the new ECM solution over our old paper-based processes because they can search for documents themselves, instead of having to put in a request for someone else to locate and pull the relevant records. It saves them quite a bit of time in performing fundamental tasks.”


Easy-to-Use System

“The KnowledgeLake solution and SharePoint system are both intuitive for anyone familiar with a Windows-based environment, which eases the transition for users,” says Knudsen. “Initially there was some training required because our employees were used to legacy processes,” he says, “but the solution is intuitive once people have had a chance to use it in their daily activities.”


Workflow Enhances Customer Service

With a new workflow system in place, users can see in real time the status of particular processes, such as stages of loan approvals.

“By providing our users with a real-time dashboard, they have instant access to the most important information about a process,” Knudsen says. “With just a few clicks, they can tell a customer where their application is in the process and identify any outstanding items. The employee has all this information available without having to make additional phone calls or track down documents that used to be transmitted through inter-office mail.”


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