How OnBoard’s Board Governance Solution Helps Banks Be Their Best

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First Citizens Bank is a locally owned financial institution serving growing communities in northern Iowa and parts of Minnesota. It progressively embraces technology in an effort to build greater financial well-being for its customers and communities.

First Citizens’ nine-member board meets monthly. It also has internal committees, such as its Executive Loan committee, that meet weekly or monthly and are essential to business continuity.

Using OnBoard since January 2019, the bank has seen “dramatic” improvements in efficiency as well as greater consistencies in board management, says Sarah Nielsen, chief financial officer. “But what has been even more powerful for our organization is how we’ve utilized OnBoard in committees to improve some of the loan approval processes and governance practices.”

OnBoard’s capabilities, as well as its low cost — in some cases half the price compared to similar, competing software — made the decision to partner with OnBoard the right one, she says.

More Efficiency, More Attention to Higher-Value Work

Nielsen remembers how easy it was for First Citizens board members to move to OnBoard. “It was fairly intuitive,” she says. “Overall, it wasn’t a tough transition.”

The OnBoard platform eliminated what Nielsen termed, “chasing paper around,” and aided meeting management by helping publish board and committee information in advance and storing it in one place.

She estimates the loan committees have seen a 50-70% efficiency gain from using OnBoard.

In addition to efficiencies, Nielsen believes OnBoard introduced a better board member experience, including a more consistent process that helps members focus on higher-value work.

“It introduced better practices,” she says. “We really appreciate that you can drop content in and reorganize it as you see fit as you are building an agenda. Those features make life easy.”

First Citizens’ board members are not considered company employees and do not have automatic access to the company’s intranet, the usual place for storing internal documents.

Nielsen now uses OnBoard’s “resources” folder to house important files that board members need to access, including the policies the board must approve annually. She’s confident the information is secure and available only to authorized individuals.

OnBoard’s Versatility Adds Value in Unique Ways

Outside of traditional board work, Nielsen says the board benefited from OnBoard’s software the most in its Executive Loan Committee. “Once we introduced OnBoard at the Executive Loan committee level, we pushed it down into our regional loan committees, and they are using it weekly.”

Having the Loan Committee and additional supporting committees using OnBoard further streamlines communication and processes.

OnBoard even helps with regulatory compliance. “From a regulatory perspective,” Nielsen says, “we have both the Federal Reserve or the Iowa Division of Banking audit us every 18 months. OnBoard has streamlined all those processes.”

In the future, Nielsen believes OnBoard will only get more useful. “I think they are adding functionality that is evolving with the times. The continued improvement is appreciated,” she says.

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