eIDAS  - Remote Electronic Signatures for Banks - Harnessing the Savings Potential (part 2) 

by Gaurav Sharma (guest) on 14. August 2019

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at how remote electronic signing can help banks with faster onboarding, reduction in operational and legal risks and enhancing operational efficiencies in relation to corporate banking clients. The direct savings from that alone can run into the millions and if we account for the opportunity costs of not having remote electronic signing solutions, that cost can be much higher.

We continue that discussion by looking at more specific cases like contracts and documents which require multi-signing and how data integrity can be better maintained with remote electronic signing solutions.   

Maintaining Data Integrity

Many surveys put cybersecurity as one of the top business challenges for 2019 and beyond, as perceived by company executives. For banks, this is especially true as the potential payoff for malicious actors targeting the financial system is markedly higher. While it is true that most of the attacks are against retail customers, that is simply attributable to the fact that they represent the vast majority of the client base. However, when corporate clients are targeted, the value at risk is high enough to cause major headaches for most executives. 

Maintaining transactional data integrity and non-repudiation is a major requirement for banks when dealing with their corporate clients (and even retail customers for that matter). A digital signature ensures data integrity and also provides legal value to the signed document. With a Qualified Electronic Signature implemented, it can be guaranteed that the document has not been altered while in transit and this eliminates the risk of fraud. The eIDAS regulation provides the necessary legal value to such signatures. What-You-See-Is-What-You-Sign (WYSIWYS) technologies further ensure protection from document tampering and give users the confidence that the document is genuine. 

Legal Assurance

In addition to data-integrity, non-repudiation is also ensured by such signatures. This means that signatories cannot deny the validity or authenticity of their signatures. This can prove to be a significant factor in addressing certain types of fraud cases and can potentially save millions that are lost to fraud and in legal fees when dealing with such fraud cases. It is a strong argument for the application of Qualified Electronic Signatures, giving an enhanced probative value and the legal standing equal to a handwritten signature.

Only Qualified Electronic Signatures have the legal equivalence of handwritten signatures. For such applications, an advanced electronic signature based solution would not be sufficient. Cross border transactions especially require solutions with the highest legal value and QES is the only standard that offers that certainty at an international level. 

Multi-signing Documents

Many banking documents requires multiple signatories to sign documents. This can become a lengthy process if signatories are spread across geographies and the document must physically travel to each signatory and be signed as per the applicable governing laws. This is especially true for subsidiaries located in foreign countries.

Remote electronic signatures offered by eIDAS compliant qualified trust providers can help streamline this process immensely.

This can also be useful in specific cases where multi-party agreements need to be signed. For example, between a bank, a local client company and the client company’s parent entity which is acting as a guarantor for the local entity. Another example may be a tri-party agreement between a bank, a client and the client’s vendor where a channel financing facility is to be provided. Imagine a large company which has multiple such vendors – the time to process all the contracts could become prohibitively long  without legally binding remote electronic signatures that eIDAS enables.  


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References and Further Reading

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