Fresh Solutions for Common Loan Fund Pain Points
Having had hundreds of conversations with lenders across the country. I thought I’d share three insights that I consider to be the most useful for coming up with fresh solutions to common loan fund pain points.
1. Process Improvement
The key to creating the best process is a commitment to rapid iteration, at least at the beginning. Software that allows for rapid iteration will also provide the long term flexibility needed for ongoing fine tuning. Being comfortable with inserting additional steps,or requesting additional documentation exposes the necessary activities that cannot be pre-determined… that must be discovered.
From an operations standpoint, your entire team needs to easily know who is responsible for what, and how much progress has occurred with any given application.
Even with the right software choice, a common pitfall is to gloss over key activities that are really micro-projects. Projects are made up of steps, and until a project is broken into steps it’s difficult to group those steps into effective phases. Without appropriate phases, convenience will drive the pace of your process. The easiest tasks will be done first, rather than tackling the tasks that determine whether or not it makes sense to proceed.
2. Dealing with Double Entry
It’s important to acknowledge that double entry isn’t always the enemy. The enemy is inefficiency and the risk of incorrect data entry. Software solutions may impact efficiency significantly enough that any double entry that remains may be acceptable and include far less risk due to better organization and communication management.
Electronic forms, integrations, automations etc are quickly becoming table stakes for any new software platform. However, if they are not intuitive enough you, your team, and your clients will likely default to traditional communication methods. Thus, the double entry challenge is equal parts ease of use (user experience) and data management. Too many RFPs are focused on avoiding bad outcomes, versus finding solutions that address the drivers behind those bad outcomes.
Another way to cut down on double entry is to run the analysis you're looking for while the information is being submitted. Quote a few platforms collect information that must be entered into another tool to perform the analysis. This is a clearer case of double entry inefficiency.
3. Client Experience (Expectation Management & Customer Service)
Your client is the most important team member of all, yet many times they have access to very little software to help them through the application process with your internal team. They are why we come in to work every day - helping clients grow, achieve goals, and provide for their communities and families. Clients who fall victim to a disorganized process can wind up having long wait times or abandon an application all together.
Creating an effective customer journey through the entire application process strikes me as the most overlooked solution to common loan fund pain points.
The quality of your client’s application experience will determine the limits of efficiency ratio optimization. Support and expectation management result in faster decisions, and more referrals. In a world where product differentiation is ever more challenging, a personalized application journey makes all the difference. Business owners talk to each other. If your process is clunky and unclear, other business owners will find out.