By W.B. King
In an effort to streamline its home equity loan process, All In Credit Union recently adopted an automated workflow solution that has slashed processing time nearly in half.
“The mortgage staff was inundated with mortgage applications, so we needed a way to take home equity loans off them,” said All In Credit Union's Senior Vice President of Sales and Lending Todd Peeples.
The $2.1 billion Daleville, Ala.-based credit union serves more than 145,000 members at 26 branch locations. And while its existing loan origination system (LOS) was effective, Peeples said the process “desperately needed a great partner” for settlement services.
“We also wanted a way to increase our home equity volume. Therefore, we moved them under the consumer umbrella by pushing them out to our 26 branches. The branch staff is not trained in mortgage lending, so we needed an easy way to make a smooth transition that didn’t require much previous mortgage knowledge,” Peeples explained. “We needed a way to streamline the process so we could make the home equity loans more like vehicle and personal loans.”
Plug and Play
After vetting vendors in the space, All In Credit Union selected the West Des Moines, Iowa-based LenderClose. The company helps credit unions and community banks simplify the process of lending and underwriting with the goal of creating a better borrowing experience.
“We did not want to require people to log into another system to track down various items. We wanted to streamline as much as we could. After viewing various vendor demos, LenderClose was the partner that got us the closest to one click and done,” Peeples said. “With LenderClose’s mindset of continual improvement, future enhancements should get us the rest of the way there.”
From contract signing to launch, Peeples explained that LenderClose’s was able to integrate its solution into All In One Credit Union’s core with “little assistance” from the credit union’s IT department. In total, the process took six months.
“Our LOS administrator was involved with sending LenderClose the information they needed, which was very minimal. LenderClose set it up from there. We performed training but that was mostly on when to pull which services and product knowledge. The LenderClose ordering process was easy and took very little training,” Peeples noted. “A true beta site was not available, so we ran tests in the LenderClose production environment with it attached to our test LOS environment.”
Since launching the solution, the time frame from opening an application to closing the home equity loan has gone from an average of 28 days pre-launch to 14 days. In addition, the credit union’s monthly home equity volume has quadrupled.
“Members are now able to access the equity in their homes much faster. We have many members tell us that banks are telling them it will take up to two months to process a home equity loan. We can complete it in one to two weeks,” Peeples said. “Furthermore, with automated valuation methods (AVMs) and other automated tools, members can be less involved in the process with a smaller amount required of them.”
Peeples explained that the credit union currently uses a decentralized lending model where the branch managers are also loan officers and the MSRs process loans. To this end, there are approximately 75 staff members throughout the organization who could be involved in these processes.
“With a click of a button, the system starts down a process to order the necessary items for a home equity loan,” he said. “The ease of use has made the entire process less intimidating to staff. This has led to increased production and stronger member service.”
With a return on investment ratio currently holding at four times the investment, Peeples encourages other credit unions to look into similar solutions. He did, however, note that the biggest obstacle was training certain staff on product knowledge and processes, especially employees who haven’t completed a home equity loan or who hadn’t personally gone through the mortgage process.
“The technology implementation is smooth and functions well, which helps reduce challenges with staff training,” Peeples said. “Credit unions will also need to re-evaluate their guidelines as you now have more opportunities to use more methods to process a home equity loan opening, the door to change how you currently process these loans to be much more efficient and save time.”
If you enjoyed this article, you might like reading these Finopotamus articles as well: