How can you maintain and grow your lending customer base? In theory, it’s pretty simple:
The faster you can process loan requests, the more likely it is that your customers will keep coming back to you for their lending needs.
The problem is that manual, paper-driven processes take time, and speeding them up can be dangerous. There’s a reason why time-consuming tasks like data entry take so much time. It’s because doing them faster can lead to costly errors that could turn your customers into former customers.
Lending Management Automation Software
What is this magical fintech that can help you process requests faster, while reducing the time and resources required to process loans?
We're glad you asked.
What Is Lending Management Automation?
Lending management automation is the application of enterprise automation tools to the lending industry. That means, you get access to tools like:
- Process Automation
- Document Management
- Web Forms
- Data Capture
- Systems Integration
These tools can be applied to any industry. They especially shine when used in the back office. Let’s take a look at how they can be used within the lending industry.
Your Lending Digital Transformation
The first step is to begin your lending digital transformation by going paperless with document management and web forms. Web forms are super important because they free your team from the paper-based forms that may be keeping your office from going paperless. What about the rest of your files? Whether documents are received digitally or through the mail, they can be automatically filed with the use of advanced capture tools like OCR (optical character recognition) software.
Once all of your data and documents are in one place, you can connect the enterprise automation platform to your other systems using system integration. Whether your IT team has built a system in-house or you purchased software from another vendor, an enterprise automation platform like DocuPhase can be connected to that system, eliminating the re-entry of data, and keeping all of your info up-to-date and error-free.
Process Automation Tools for Lending
The next step is building out your process using automation tools. Bots can automate all kinds of tasks, not just data entry.
Documents can be automatically routed to the proper person, and tasks presented along with the information needed to make a decision. Data can be synced. Emails can be automatically identified as containing important attachments and filed within the system. Notifications can be sent. Imagine the time your team would save on data entry, filing, and emailing alone. And that’s just a starting point. More complex tasks can be automated with the help of a knowledgeable process improvement consultant.
Automating the Lending Process Is the Best Way to Improve Lending Customer Service
Fixing the back-office is actually the most effective way to improve the customer experience.
This theory is supported by a couple banking and lending gurus, including senior analyst Bob Meara, of Celent’s banking group. He says, “Improving back-office processes is often more valuable than customer-facing innovations.” Why? Because it’s more than just lip service. While face-to-face or voice-to-voice customer service is important, turn-around time and accuracy will win in the end.
CEO of ConnectOne Bank, Frank Sorrentino, further explains that automation is key because it helps to
“remove the friction, decrease the amount of time to process information and make quick decisions on credit… You don’t want to keep asking the client for the same information at multiple different points in the process.”
If you don’t have a good system in place for actually servicing your customers, you’ll find yourself always needing to make up for poor service, trying to appease your customers verbally, without actual follow-through.
The Importance of Automated Lending Technology
In today's financial landscape, your customers are self-educated and demand top-tier service. Institutions can survive only if they offer fast, cost-effective, and compliant loan processing, along with a positive customer experience.
Can your organization compete with the services offered by your biggest competitors, while also ensuring accuracy and maintaining your own profitability? Maybe… but not if you fail to take advantage of the fintech available to you.
The quickest route to delivering all of these things is through automated lending processes. Automation technology is even helping community banks level the playing field as they gain access to and take advantage of the same class of technology that large financial industries are leveraging! Yes, it’s that powerful.
The Benefits of Automated Lending
Here are some of the biggest benefits you stand to gain from using an automated lending process:
1. Deliver Better Customer Service
Enterprise automation allows you to process applications faster, which is going to translate to happier customers.
You can also leverage the technology to provide customer portals, where your customers can go to submit requests and to view the status of their loan applications.
And finally, systems integration (the tool that connects your automation platform with your other systems) can eliminate data entry errors by synching your data in real time.
2. Ensure Compliance and Auditability
When all of your processes are digital, this allows for two important things: consistency and visibility.
Automated processes are consistent because they go down the same workflow path and require the same steps to be completed, every time. Nothing falls through the cracks. No steps are skipped. Each action requires a user to push a button declaring that he or she has completed the step, creating consistency and visibility.
This digital paper trail also creates easy auditability. You can view each document’s entire lifecycle – each action that was taken, and each version of the document that was created.
3. Improve Your Operational Efficiency
A worthwhile enterprise automation vendor is going to offer process consulting services. After all, the goal isn’t just to duplicate your existing processes. While you’re switching over to the new digital system, you’ll always want to clean up those steps in your process that are redundant – you know, the ones your team has been doing for years and years, simply because that’s the way they were trained to do it, whether or not it makes sense to do it that way anymore.
A process improvement consultant who understands the automation software will be able to use drag-and-drop process modeling tools to build the best process possible for your team, automating wherever possible, including important process controls, and accommodating exceptions.
All of this adds up to a more efficient process that will give your organization a competitive advantage.
4. Gain Access to Reporting and Analytics
It’s tough to set organizational goals if you don’t know where you stand. An enterprise automation platform like DocuPhase provides you with reporting and analytics dashboards. You’ll be able to see how long each step in the process is taking, how much work is actually being completed, and where you may want to reallocate your resources.
With our drag-and-drop process designer, you’ll be able to work with agility, making changes on the fly.
Learn more about using agile methodology in this article: “Here’s How Organizations Are Using Agile Methodology to Solve Their Biggest Problems”
5. Make Room for Growth
If you’re going to get an automation platform, make sure it’s a scalable solution.
If you choose a single-purposed software that can’t grow into other parts of your business, you may end up disappointed and looking to make a switch.
Here’s a real-life example of a lending company that decided to invest in a solution from Hyland OnBase:
It didn’t take long for AgFirst to discover that their current software wasn’t scalable and couldn’t accommodate future growth. They decided to switch over to DocuPhase, engaging with a platform that is open-ended and scalable.
DocuPhase was able to provide AgFirst with a smooth transition from Hyland OnBase's system to the DocuPhase enterprise automation platform. After implementing DocuPhase, they saw improvement in their business almost immediately. Documents became available remotely and with permission to external auditors, creating more efficient labor and more constructive use of time by agents. Disaster recovery plans are also now in place for records and documents – a previously unanswered problem for the company.
Check out “Enterprise Automation vs. Point Solutions” to read about how single-purpose solutions stack up to enterprise automation platforms.
What Lending Process Steps Can Be Automated?
Still waiting for the nitty gritty? Here it is: From the application stage, to underwriting and funding, each step of the lending process can be transformed by a flexible enterprise automation platform. That includes:
If that sounds too good to be true, consider the type of technology we’re talking about here.
An Enterprise Automation Platform includes a robust document management repository, along with process automation bots (software robots) that can assist with everything from filing and data entry to document routing and automated approvals. Everything is kept organized and auditable, and the system produces analytics that enable business leaders to make data-driven decisions that can further improve operational efficiency.
Lending Automation in Real Life
If you need to see it to believe it, you can find out what other lenders are saying about their experience with enterprise automation. Check out the AgFirst video above, or read the AgFirst case study.
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