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Inlet’s Chuck Cordray: ‘After 20 years, finance is less than 20 percent paperless’

  • Though digital documentation has been around for two decades, less that 20 percent of documents are handled paperlessly.
  • Inlet's Chuck Cordray joins us this week on the Tearsheet Podcast to talk about the finance industry's paperless evolution.
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Inlet’s Chuck Cordray: ‘After 20 years, finance is less than 20 percent paperless’

One of the things that actually becomes more complicated as the finance industry moves to digital is how customer-facing documents are managed.

Chuck Cordray, CEO of digital document distribution company, Inlet, joins us on this week’s podcast. Inlet is a joint venture between Broadridge Financial and Pitney Bowes. We talk about Cordray’s transition from the media industry into finance, how the joint venture works, and really try to figure, where we are on the adoption curve for companies to go paperless and what needs to happen to make it work.

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Below are highlights, edited for clarity, from the episode.

The adoption curve for going paperless in the finance industry
“Industry stats show that roughly 20 percent of all documents have been turned off to be delivered paperlessly in a digital format. After two decades of being able to say to we can deliver documents digitally, we’re still only at 20 percent. And when you look at the financial industry, like the wealth management industry, in particular, for most firms, it’s less than half that number. Credit cards tend to have a little higher, but not dramatically higher, paperless rate. So as as industry, finance underperforms on paperless delivery compared to across all mailers.”

Why finance underperforms on the move to paperless
“Because of how important financial documents are, consumers tend to want to have a copy and control that copy. Adding to the problem, most consumers sign up to go paperless brand by brand, which means I have a dozen bills coming in each month, and it’s a lot more work and hassle for me to remember the passwords and websites to manage all of them. The nature of financial documents is just like that — people need them for taxes, they need them because they think they need them. If I’m tracking these documents by email and websites, it’s a lot of work. It’s oftentimes easier to just stay in paper to control all the documents. People defensively file paper in case they may need it later.”

The challenges for companies to go paperless
“We often come up against is getting an organization aligned around the idea that now is the time to paperless and this is how you do it. It’s sensitive data, so no one does it instantly. The security vetting process of large banks is rigorous and we’ve passed that with two of the five largest banks in the U.S. who are now clients. We see a lot of inertia. We see our competition as really just helping the large brands understand that the consumer experience at our end destinations is one that they get to control, that their branding is there, and that there are links back to their web properties are there. Going paperless touches many of the different groups within a large organization. You have to get the security team comfortable, the branding and consumer experience team comfortable, and the operations team comfortable. You have to create alignment across an organization.”

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