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April 15, 2024

5 Ways Building Societies are Benefiting from Electronic Signatures

From opening a new account to taking out a loan, getting legally binding documents signed is an essential part of a Building Society’s workflow. However, using a traditional wet ink method (pen and paper) can present many operational, logistical, and financial challenges for Building Societies and their members. We look at why many Building Societies are switching to using electronic signatures and the benefits they are experiencing. 

1. Faster Signing 

Unless a customer is physically in the branch, getting them to sign and agree to the terms and conditions of documents, such as mortgage or loan applications, can take time. In many applications, the workflow could look something like this: 

  • print out the documents,  

  • put them in an envelope,  

  • post them,  

  • wait for the documents to be delivered,  

  • wait for the customer to sign the documents,  

  • more waiting for the customer to post them back,  

  • and finally, the documents need to be opened, actioned, and filed. 

Getting a document physically signed can take over a week to complete, causing delays and frustrations. Even if the documents are emailed to the customer, delays can still be experienced. They will still have to be somewhere they can print, sign, scan, and email the documents back. 

By using eSignatures, documents can be made available to the customer electronically and they can sign instantly wherever they are and on a variety of device types (PC, tablet, mobile phone). Building Societies using eSignatures commented that they now get documents signed and returned within 24 hours. 

2. Less Paperwork 

When a customer’s signed documents are eventually returned, someone must open the envelope, check everything has been completed correctly, and then file the paperwork. The Financial Conduct Authority specifies the retention period for different types of financial documents, these periods often run to several years. This can mean large areas given over to filing cabinets or paying for the services of a records storage facility. Once the retention period is over, there is then the task of destroying the documents. Things are a little easier if the documents are scanned and stored electronically, but somebody still has to scan and file every document that comes in. 

Using Legalesign’s electronic signatures, Building Societies can do away with physical documents and storage. Every signed PDF is automatically securely stored with retention periods pre-set. With a centralised document management system and simple retrieval, the Building Society has complete oversight over every stage of the document lifecycle. No scanning, no filing, no bulky paperwork, no worries. 

3. Happier Customers 

When a customer comes to you to provide a service, they expect value, quality, and speed. Electronic signatures not only help speed up the time it takes to get documents agreed but they also reflect positively on the Building Society providing the service. Many of Legalesign’s Building Society clients have commented how pleased their customers were with the ability to sign electronically.

Andy Fowler from the Cambridge Building Society commented,

The flexibility to offer an electronic signature service has been an instant hit with our customers.

Building Society customers can sign wherever they are, at a time that is convenient for them, and on a variety of devices. It is not just that the Building Society embracing new technology, but it is demonstrating a commitment to putting the needs of the customer first.   

4. Reduced Call Centre Waiting Times  

To get around the headaches caused by having to send documents out in the post, one of Legalesign’s clients decided to try something different. When a customer telephoned their call centre, they would read out the terms and conditions of the contract and get verbal agreement while the customer was on the call. This was a great way to get faster agreements, but it had the downside of longer call times. Calls to set up a new account took twice as long as before and meant a lot of potential customers were kept on hold for a long time. To solve this problem, they implemented Legalesign eSignatures. While on the call, the agent could electronically send the contract and the customer would be able to read, sign, and return in a matter of minutes. This helped reduce call times and enabled them to help more customers. 

5. Reduced Costs 

As we have seen in the previous examples, eSignatures make getting documents signed easier and more efficient. This can directly translate into reduced costs. Sending a 10-page A4 document in the post would roughly cost: 

  • 6p for the paper,  

  • 30p for printing 

  • 5p for the envelope 

  • £1.25 in postage 

So that one document could cost £1.66 just to send and that is without considering the time your employees spend putting the packages together and sending. Multiply this several hundred times, according to how many documents you send out, and the costs soon add up. Other things to take into consideration would be document storage charges and the time it takes to process the signed document.  


Building Societies switching to using eSignatures have not only seen an increase in the speed of documents being signed but also an increase in the percentage of returned documents. This has been combined with improvements in efficiencies and a reduction in costs. However, most visibly, eSignatures are helping to provide a better service to Building Society customers. Faster, more convenient, more secure, and more efficient. 


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