Document automation supports growth for Cooperative Finance Association

Conga Composer saves time and effort by centralizing, streamlining, and automating communications

Cooperative Finance Association (CFA), based in Kansas City, Missouri, has provided reliable financial products and services to support the agricultural industry in the United States since 1943. When cyclical events like droughts and extreme weather hit, CFA financing products and financial services protect farms by offering an alternative to private bank loans. CFA’s primary goal is to support business continuity for agricultural cooperatives and their members.  CFA is currently experiencing astronomical growth. Over the last three years, its portfolio grew from $540 million to $3 billion. It is expecting this rapid growth to continue, targeting $5 billion by the end of 2024 and $6 billion by the end of 2025.


The Cooperative Finance Association’s agricultural customers aren’t start-ups with standard corporate protocols. They are second, third, and fourth generation family-owned companies who tend to do things the way they have always been done. CFA has close relationships with these customers, working with some of them for 20 or even 30 years. “Customer service is our product,” says Doug Richards, Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer (SVP; CTO) at CFA. “That's where we excel and that's what our reputation is built on.”

Communicating and sending documents to CFA’s customers has historically been laborious — everything was emailed to one person at a time, causing issues with tracking communications, document changes, and document status. Unfortunately, the platform CFA’s teams used wasn’t capable of centralizing or scaling these communications. It was becoming a big problem at the rate CFA was growing and the additional revenue they needed to support.  

Creating a new email for every point in a process, and copying and pasting text into individual emails without a way to track who was getting what information was creating increasing opportunities for errors as CFA communicated with a rapidly increasing number of clients.

CFA needed a solution to broadcast new features, share contracts, and communicate with its members quickly and efficiently so they could continue to provide an exceptional customer experience. 


Richards started his search for document automation software by reviewing demos from several different vendors. A custom solution was out of CFA’s price range, but Richards still wanted to find a technology partner that could work with them as revenue grew and the business evolved.  

“Being member-owned, we are in service to our members as we take on the responsibility of servicing that large portfolio,” explains Richards. “It's really important to us — and to me from a technology standpoint — that the solution is scalable, matches the speed of innovation, and provides us a true value add.”   

Richards was impressed with Conga’s strategic vision and enthusiasm and the proactiveness of the support team. The technology was even more impressive. Conga Composer allows users to embed document generation solutions into any website, application, or platform, and populate documents with data from any source. With Conga Composer, CFA’s employees can build, manage, and distribute templates from a single location.  

Conga Composer’s centralized repository of templates allows CFA to quickly and automatically send a single, standardized document or message to multiple individuals. In addition, Conga Composer eliminates manual copying and pasting, integrates with existing email and eSignature providers, and saves backup copies of documents automatically.

Instead of relying on tribal knowledge to follow communication protocols, users can now use clear, repeatable, automated processes available within the software. This ensures a consistent customer experience and paves the way for their anticipated rapid business growth. “I'm very impressed with how much Conga as a company is thinking ahead about what's coming right around the corner,” said Richards. “It's really important to have people who speak the same language that I speak and that I want my team to reflect.” 


Conga Composer has greatly sped up the communication and approval process for CFA’s revenue lifecycle. For complex processes that require tracking back-and-forth communications among multiple parties — like originating a loan — a central repository that automates each step in the process keeps business moving and organized. This makes it easy to check the status of a loan and ensure that the client’s needs are met in a timely fashion.

Richards is thrilled with how much time his people are saving with Conga Composer. “We’re at least 50% more efficient and maybe 100% more efficient,” he said. “It’s hard to overstate how much Conga Composer has gained for us.” With Composer, not only is it faster and easier to get accurate communications out to the right parties, but it’s also less stressful for CFA employees. The solution’s automation features have drastically reduced the risk of mistakes due to human error, lowering employee anxiety.  

Richards does not view new technology as a way to reduce headcount or replace existing jobs, but rather as an aid to elevate human performance by shifting time away from tedious and repetitive tasks to those directly focused on his customers. 

Taking time-intensive tasks off an employee and allowing them to focus on that customer is always a net gain for us. Even if it's just a simple 15 minutes in your day that you've gotten back because of technology, you're able to make a phone call and check in on somebody. There's no value you can put on that. 

Doug Richards
Senior Vice President (SVP), Chief Technology Officer (CTO)
Cooperative Finance Association

Business outcomes

  • Increased communications efficiency by 50-100%
  • Elevated human performance through automation
  • Accelerated business velocity with automation of email communications, greatly reducing the time and effort required to keep customers up to date
  • Increased customer satisfaction due to additional face time with customers
  • Created a predictable, consistent workflow that will scale easily as the business grows

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