Commercial loan growth is a primary objective for many financial institutions across the country and for good reason: it consistently leads to increased revenue. Whether your institution is an established commercial lender, or just testing the waters, understanding lending workflows will be vital to your team’s success. Why? Because as you lend more and your institution grows, communication silos may form as departments myopically focus on their specific tasks. When communications break down, loans get stuck. And we all know that time kills deals. To stay competitive, you will want to build a lending process that facilitates communication for fast decision-making.
An architect will design a home so that the overall structure is as cohesive as possible. This is the same approach you need to take when creating your lending process. It’s the time to put on those hard hats, unroll that blueprint, and figure out the best approach for your institution. It’s also the time to examine your technology and call on subject matter experts who can help you make your plans a reality.
In my previous life as a lending platform Implementation Coordinator, I always found it satisfying when, at the end of the project, system users were able to effectively communicate with one another without having to pick up the phone or send an email. Well-designed automations that are based on your institution’s process guide a commercial credit request seamlessly from lead through underwriting to booking onto the core. It’s a beautiful thing to behold.
The first step when designing your new workflow is sitting down with your team to discuss roles and responsibilities. Here are some of the questions that should be asked:
- What roadblocks and bottlenecks exist today that are slowing down our process?
- Who needs to be notified when each task is completed?
- Are we able to consolidate disparate systems into one?
- Can we finally get rid of spreadsheets and start tracking everything in the lending system?
- Are we entering the same data multiple times in different systems?
Time is a precious and costly commodity, and as Bill Gates once said, “The first rule of any technology used in a business is that automation applied to an efficient operation will magnify the efficiency.” This is why understanding the granular details of your operations is so important. You must clearly define your objectives, design the process to flow in a logical order, and, ultimately, take advantage of technologies that will bring all of these steps together in a way that reduces the overall timeline for getting the job done.
The implementation of your newly designed workflow will take time and require adjustments along the way. As the old saying goes, practice makes perfect. At first it may feel like it does when you wake up in a hotel while traveling and try to locate the sink in the dark for a glass of water. You won’t be able to rely on your auto-pilot to navigate your new system. And you may wander into a few walls while learning the new lay of the land. The point is, change isn’t easy; adoption and adaptation are key. But I can assure you that a lending system designed with input from all team members with guidance of subject matter experts using modern, open technology will deliver efficiencies and growth greater than you can possibly imagine.
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