Silicon Valley Bank in Santa Clara, Calif., has launched a program that lets new customers sign up for accounts using electronic signatures.

The $44 billion-asset bank, a unit of SVB Financial, announced its eSign program to clients Friday and made it available for use nationwide this week, an outside spokeswoman for the bank said. It is designed to simplify the account setup process by eliminating paper forms and documentation.

Traditional standards, which require a physical or "wet" signature for bank draft authorizations, are time-consuming; if a transaction involves multiple signers in different cities, it can take days. Accounts using eSign can be opened the same day, the spokeswoman said.

"Our clients are technologists, so it is important to us that we find ways to digitize and simplify the onboarding process," the spokeswoman said. "We want to focus on providing our clients with ways to move their ideas and businesses forward fast."

The technology can save the bank 500 hours a year in paperwork processing, she said.

New clients with a touch-screen mobile device can sign all required documents electronically either by using a representative signature or by drawing their own on the mobile device.

SVB piloted the eSign program in select regions this spring. It said 65% of new clients opted to draw their signature on a mobile device during the pilot phase.

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