Disclaimer: The following post was originally published on the Commercial Finance Association blog. (Re-posted with permission.)
Every bank strives to keep its customers happy.
Of course, some institutions are better at achieving this goal than others. Competitive lending rates, reward programs, and customer appreciation events are just a few initiatives that banks employ to keep people coming back.
However, banks are often surprised to learn that back-office lending operations can make a significant impact on customer satisfaction.
In this post, we’ll explore three ways that back-office lending automation can make a positive impact on your lending relationships.
Less Friction with Customers
Your bank is under tremendous pressure to collect a variety of documents from customers. Some documents (such as loan applications and entity records) are collected upfront, while others (such as annual tax returns and financials) flow into your bank for the entire life of a loan. To complicate matters, each customer and account combination necessitates different tracking requirements. For example, a multimillion-dollar commercial real estate loan will likely have a much different document structure than a small business line of credit. Regardless of the customer or account type, it’s incumbent upon your team to accurately collect and organize the incoming documents – every single time.
The problem is that customers don’t enjoy being hassled for more information than they’re required to provide. A reliance on spreadsheets and manual ticklers increases friction with customers – especially when errant notice letters are sent out.
How can you find the right balance? Using an integrated document and exception management software (such as our AccuAccount platform) can certainly help. As new accounts are booked to your core system, document placeholders are automatically created in AccuAccount. The next time your loan administrator logs in, he or she can instantly see which documents need to be scanned and uploaded. As trailing documents arrive, exceptions can be cleared simply by uploading the missing document(s).
And, since exception data is tied directly to the presence (or absence) of a document, system-generated notice letters become much more reliable. It’s comforting to know that only customers with missing or past-due documents will receive notice letters.
A paper-based approach to loan approval can be plagued with inefficiency. With only one copy of the loan file to route among many stakeholders, action can only occur in a linear fashion. When key staff members go on vacation, become ill, or simply forget to take action, the entire approval process comes to a screeching halt. This inefficiency has consequences for your customers, who can easily become dissatisfied with your lengthy approval process.
Electronic loan approval bypasses many of the inefficiencies of a manual workflow. Unlike a paper loan file, which can only be in one place at a time, a digital loan file can be accessed simultaneously by multiple logged-in stakeholders. In addition, task groups can be enabled, alerting each team member (via email) that it’s time to get busy. Rather than waiting for one person to complete his or her task, several employees could be contributing at the same time.
By shortening the loan approval process on your end, customers gain expedited access to the capital they need. Your customers will recognize this level of service, thereby increasing the probability of word-of-mouth referrals and subsequent lending opportunities.
A More Personalized Level of Service
Technology can also help your team provide a more personalized level of customer service.
How so? An electronic document management system delivers a 360-degree view of each customer. Rather than placing a customer on hold and digging through your records room, simply log in to quickly access:
- Current and past account information
- Missing, past-due, and expiring documents
- Active exceptions
- History of prior contact with the customer
- Linked collateral and entities
- Internal notes and comments
- …and many other important pieces of data
Armed with this information, your staff is in a much better position to serve each customer’s specific needs.