With the continued growth of FinTech and the Alternative Lending industry, systems and solutions that are tailored to these industries have also flourished. Loan Origination, that fundamental piece to any lending business, can be one of the biggest pain points as it involves a complex sales process as well as various documents, checklists and qualifications to complete.
Naturally, digitizing and automating your loan origination process will mean a huge savings of time, effort and investment. What’s more, because so many systems and solutions are available through the cloud, lenders no longer have to buy a custom built option or spend a lot on in-house hardware.
What to look for from a Loan Origination Solution
Replacing an outdated loan origination solution with a streamlined, automated and scalable system is not an easy decision, or one that should be done spur of the moment. Whether your company is coming from an analog process involving pen, paper, notepads and spreadsheets, or a computer system that you have simply outgrown, you know that moving to one of the newer and better options could be a huge boost for your business. If you’re dissatisfied with your current system’s performance or concerned about growing operating and support costs, then your company’s overall success and profit are taking a hit and it’s time for a replacement.
When browsing around for a solution, you will see that most of your solution options will have many of the same features, including automated deal submissions, renewal management, stips and document tracking and easy to use application pages. Further, with so many companies having slick, modern looking websites with well written copy, it can be hard to know who you can trust to really deliver a system that will take your business to the next level.
So, in addition to the features and price of your potential solution, here are some characteristics of the solution and the company that provides it, that will help guide you to a winning option:
- Company Focus, Experience and Background
- Cutting Edge Technology
- Quality Resource and Data Integrations
- Scalability and Configurability
- Quick and Efficient Implementation
Company Focus, Experience and Background
First and foremost you should consider where the company came from and what their focus is? Do their employees have experience working in lending and do they understand if from all sides? While a very large software provider may have some advantages, if they are providing solutions for dozens of industries, how can you be sure that what you get will really meet your needs?
What you are really looking for, at the end of the day, is someone who speaks your language, understands loan origination inside and out, and intimately knows the lending industry.
A team of highly-knowledgeable employees with a background in lending, or hands-on-experience using a loan origination system, can significantly enhance the design, development, and support of a lending system.
Another tell tale sign of this is the solution provider’s client list. Have they worked with just a handful of businesses similar to yours, or dozens? If some of the top players in your industry or vertical are using their software, it’s probably a good sign that the solution is a good one.
Cutting Edge Technology
Cutting edge technology for software and solutions isn’t exactly like a new phone, which usually equals a better camera and sharper display. For a loan origination system, it means not only being built on a solid foundation of proven architecture, but one that also has the capability to grow and adapt to whatever developments arise down the road.
Software platforms can only grow as much as their development company puts into them. However, when a loan origination solution is built on a robust, worldwide CRM platform, like Salesforce, which spends billions every year to grow, enhance and develop, you can be sure your system will stand the test of time. After all Salesforce isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and their arsenal of products, features and results only continues to grow.
Quality Resource and Data Integrations
Lenders rely heavily on 3rd party data providers to help them make quality decisions. With growing online support, this has become much easier than it was 15 years ago, however the next step is a quantum leap forward. A new loan origination system can integrate directly with your data provider, giving you instant access and sometimes pre-built automation, giving you a supercharged process. What was once a tedious, manual process, that could take hours of going back and forth between different screens and manually entering repetitive data, can be automated and reduced to just a fraction of the time commitment.
In addition, lenders can take advantage of Integrations with of Lender API’s, giving them direct access to some of the biggest players in the game, such as OnDeck and Kabbage.
When looking at a new system, take a look at which data sources and integrations you currently use, which ones are supported by the solution you are looking at, and which ones you might want to grow into in the future.
Configurability and Scalability
No two lenders have identical procedures. Your process is something that you have worked with and developed based on your own experience, portfolio and the overall market. You want to remove pain points, not scrap the whole thing.
So when looking for a new system, you should make sure that the system can not only be configured to your needs, but that you have transparency into the process as well. Some questions to consider:
- Does every change and tweak need to be made by the developer, or can that be done by users as well?
- How technical is it to make changes?
- What level of support is offered and needed to ensure the longevity of the system?
Again, a system like Salesforce built its reputation on “clicks not code” meaning users everywhere were given the power to configure their system by clicking, dragging and dropping, rather than needing a coding background.
Going hand in hand with this is scalability. If you are going to make a big investment into a new solution, you don’t want it to break or be completely outdated in just a couple of years. So make sure to look for a system that is built on proven tech, built to last, and can be changed and configured without too much hassle. If you can meet these requirements, you should have a system that will grow with you.
Efficient Implementation and User Adoption
So you have done your homework and know which system will be best. Now comes the next challenge, the implementation. While you naturally want to have the system up and running as fast as possible, sometimes good things come to those who wait (at least a little).
Get a system that can be implemented at lightning speed and you might be running a risk that it isn’t robust enough to really handle your business needs for today and for tomorrow. Or there could be corners being cut when it comes to QA and testing, so while the system is up and running fast, it is full of errors and you end up wasting more time and money to get things right.
On the other hand, a solution that takes a long time to implement might end up costing you more than you expected, as you are stuck with your in-effective system while others get further ahead.
The Goldilocks zone is different for every company, and will change based on the project and level of customization. After all, if you are spending $5 million on a system versus $30K, your timeline and expectations will be very different.
Finally, there is user adoption to consider. How easy is it for new users to be on-boarded and trained? How challenging or cumbersome do employees find it to be diligent with their data and practices? No matter how good the software, how quick it is implemented or how great the price, none of it matters is your team doesn’t use it, or doesn’t use it the right way. So make sure you look for a loan origination system that is easy to adopt and use, and is built on a platform that is known for its usability!
-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team
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