Reducing Costs with Remote Signatures
Inkan, or personal seals, have been used in lieu of signatures in Japan for nearly 2,000 years. Understandably, encouraging financial institutions to embrace electronic signatures was both a cultural and technological challenge. But Escrow Agent Japan (EAJ) was able to bridge the gap with Adobe Sign, an Adobe Document Cloud solution.
EAJ provides online real estate consultation and escrow services to many smaller regional banks in Japan. When developing its electronic signature service, the company chose Adobe Sign because it operates from a data center in Japan, which meets many legal and regulatory requirements.
“I definitely wanted a server in Japan,” says Mr. Tatsuya Urushihara, Managing Director, Escrow Agent Japan, Inc. “Financial institutions would likely not accept a service using a server overseas. When we made our proposal to customers, there were cases where that was the very first point that people brought up. Among the services that we considered, Adobe Sign was the only one with a server in Japan.”
Another benefit to choosing Adobe Sign is how easily users can create documents. Although document formats can vary from one financial institution to another, such as Microsoft Word and Excel, Adobe Sign automatically converts documents to PDF, which eliminates duplicated efforts and even gives clients self-service document modifications to improve transaction efficiency.
In the first year of use, EAJ has been able to reduce contracting costs, such as printing and mailing, and contract turnaround times. The banks’ customers get their financing faster and the institutions get a secure electronic audit trail for each document, including who signed it and when. Mobile compatibility helps EAJ clients provide service to areas they once didn’t. Plus, the 2,000-year history of the seal may not be over.
“We have not been in full-scale production with Adobe Sign for long, so we are still exploring what can be done, but we believe that it has great potential,” says Mr. Urushihara. “The ability to capture the impression of a seal is very interesting. We are starting with signatures for agreements and verifications, but the day when we can break down the wall of using official registered seals is not long off.”
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