MADISON, Wis. (7/22/13)--Lending and information technology staff must work together with colleagues from other departments to identify solutions that cost-effectively deliver on members' expectations for easy, convenient access to credit, according to a joint white paper by the CUNA Lending Council and Technology Councils.
"Partners in Progress: How Lending and IT Work Together to Improve Efficiency and the Member Experience" presents examples of recent steps forward in lending operations powered by technology, including mobile lending, more secure credit cards, and paperless mortgage and consumer lending.
Among the case studies explored in the paper is Royal CU's efforts to optimize its new mortgage lending software. Royal CU, based in Eau Claire, Wis., identified two strategies for its initiative: To revise its internal processes to capitalize on new system capabilities and to "find a partner invested in [our] success," said Erik LeMay, enterprise solutions manager for the $1.3 billion asset credit union serving 147,000 members. "Software is software, but a partner is success."
The credit union's aim to refine its mortgage processes to get the most from Mortgage Cadence's Symphony software is consistent with its adoption of the Six Sigma process improvement and quality-management methodology. Six Sigma is characterized by a commitment to produce measurable financial returns, an emphasis on strong management support, project leadership by internal experts, and data-based decision making.
Adopting this methodology has helped Royal CU focus on efficiency, on doing it right the first time, and on minimizing variance in its processes, LeMay said. In the case of its new mortgage lending software, the approach helped the credit union steer clear of customizing that might have sacrificed efficiencies built into the system.
A primary goal in the search for new mortgage software was to reduce turn-around time to 30 days or less from application to closing. Other key aims were improving the application process for members and employees entering data, accommodating interruptions in loan processing without derailing the loan, replacing paper loan files with e-documents, and providing an online portal so members could follow the progress of their loan.
The credit union piloted the Symphony system in May 2013 and went live the following month.
The mortgage software is a first step toward another goal Royal CU has set--to create a unified experience that "allows members to end up with the same result, regardless of how they started the process," LeMay said.