Vehicle finance and the protection of personal information: How tech drives compliance

When the pressure to digitise due to the pandemic dovetails with the enforcement of particularly stringent regulatory requirements, the pressure on businesses to acclimatise at pace becomes exponential. In the finance sector, covid restrictions, remote work and compliance with the Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPIA) became a tall order.

PoPIA and Covid-19 have culminated in a severe struggle with regards to the logistics required to get PoPIA data protection agreements back from clients, legally signed. This puts organisations at exceptional risk and can result in various serious consequences. Thankfully, technology provided a sound solution that is driving ongoing efficiencies.

As a stalwart of the finance sector, a top vehicle and asset finance provider has proven to be both proactive and innovative in its approach to compliance. This bank’s PoPIA campaign ensured that it achieved compliance in record time following a digitised approach, using Impression Signatures’ eSignature platform. As a result, the bank’s relationship managers were empowered to send out the PoPIA agreements in record time, ensuring agreements were signed electronically and securely.

The gargantuan campaign entailed re-signing the vehicle and asset finance department of the bank’s entire dealer network’s contracts. This was an incredibly complex and delicate process, entailing the redevelopment and renegotiation of contracts that took decades to build. Throughout the process, various notifications and contracts to approximately 2 000 dealers were distributed for signature in just a couple of months.

Through this campaign, the bank hoped to achieve two goals: firstly, to conform to the regulatory provisions enacted by PoPIA, ensuring that dealers are held accountable for data privacy compliance. The second was to close any possible gaps in existing contracts, eradicating any leak risks for the bank.

The campaign was successfully implemented in a matter of months, achieving both goals in time to ensure total compliance. “The bank’s dealers were made aware of the upcoming changes and were given a detailed explanation as to why it was essential for every dealer to participate. This prepared dealers in advance and gave them the opportunity to ask questions while Impression was building the signing solutions,” confirms Carrie Peter, Managing Director at Impression Signatures.

The first step was to gather the details of officials who had the mandate to sign from each of the dealer organisations. “This in itself aided in cleaning up the client’s databases, especially where contracts had been signed 10 years prior by now defunct signatories,” recalls Carrie Peter, Managing Director at Impression Signatures.

The next step was to distribute the new contracts and updated Non-Disclosure Agreements electronically. “The dealers enjoyed the ease of use of the Impression solution, and even those who faced technical challenges due to a lack of technological prowess were successfully guided through the process,” adds Peter. “This digital process allowed for fast turnaround in securing legally binding signatures, while ensuring the bank’s staff faced no Covid exposure, and achieved excellent efficiency, since employees mostly did not need to travel to secure a signature.”

Taking Gauteng’s complex dealer-base as an example, the bank’s regional team of only four members secured more than 100 contracts in just one week. “This would have been wholly impossible if contracts were being distributed manually, via door-to-door visits. Every agreement sent out had the potential to be signed immediately, from anywhere in the world. The ability to achieve the impossible was made available; and that’s the greatest value one can expect to gain in any project,” concludes Peter.