The secret is out – business banking is broken. Financial institutions have lost market share steadily over the past decade. At first, it was hard to notice because it was only a 1% loss each year. But when COVID hit and digitization was the only choice, there was a drastic 9% drop in 2020. That’s hard to ignore.
Credit unions who are focused on delighting business members with a hands-on approach recognize the need to digitize business lending to lower their costs and improve member experience. So, embedding digitization into the business lending process flow is inevitable. But how? Let’s start by reframing the question. It isn’t whether to modernize business lending, but how to digitize lending with limited resources.
Step 1: Define Your Business Lending Workflow
As a credit union, you might be offering SBA, SMB or commercial loans to members. Regardless of the type of loans you’re offering, the first step is to map out the workflow. What you’ll find is that the process requires significant back-and-forth between the business member and loan officer, and then the officer and credit risk manager. It centers around having enough information to meet the regulatory and risk burdens to get approved. Ask yourself the tough questions. Are you delighting customers? What is going well and where are the pain points? What does your credit union excel at and what should be outsourced to streamline the process? Once this is identified you can identify which steps can be digitized. For example, does it really make sense for you to gather financial statements manually when a real time connection to accounting software is available? The key to this is establishing what your credit union excels at and what is a data layer that can be outsourced to bring more revenue and member delight to your offering.
Step 2: Decide To Buy, Not Build
With the workflow and expertise defined, you have a decision to make. Should you build the new data layer of efficiency or partner with an outside provider?
For example, at Finovate West this week, Kathy Strasser, IncredibleBank’s Chief Operating Officer stated boldly that they are evaluating fintech offerings for roll out in early 2021. It’s a big decision, so we’ve offered this easy way to make the choice on whether to build your own digitization to accelerate business lending or to partner with outside firms:
- Is this part of your credit union’s secret sauce? Meaning, is this part of your credit decisioning or a data layer that will bring data to you in real-time so that you can apply your expertise?
- How long will it take you to develop the technology you’re looking to adopt? There’s a global bank that took a year and a half to develop connections to three accounting systems to get real time information. There was a luxury of time that existed before COVID, that is no longer available. To delight business members, do you need to make changes within the next quarter or two?
- Is there a data provider that is trusted and proven in market that you would feel comfortable partnering with? It’s one thing to identify the need for outside sources of data, and it’s another to trust an outside partner to be best in class so that you are focused on proactively building relationships.
Step 3: Collaborate To Achieve Instant Results
The key to a good partnership is one that achieves the goals that are set out. When interviewing data partners, ask them about their sources of information and insights. That’s important because if they are limited, it will limit your lending and servicing of the business member. But even more importantly, ask them for clear results. CCBank recently stated that they gained two to three years of new client relationships within 30 to 60 days after partnering with a data partner to transform their arduous lending process. If the data provider has achieved this in market, they have shown they can identify the pain points you’re experiencing and address them. Without this type of qualification, it will be very challenging to rely on any outcomes.
In an era where tech giants have increased customer expectations, lenders and private capital providers are challenged to offer complete and personalized solutions. Credit unions are challenged to offer the latest technology while staying true to the best-in-class service that you are known for. When deciding whether to build or partner with a data platform, keep in mind that lenders who have the capability to automate data gathering and have the clearest view of their business members will be best able to delight them.
For more information on how to digitize business lending within your credit union, please contact us at email@example.com.