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How Denali FCU Doubled Its Indirect Lending Footprint

SAIL increased automation and more than doubled the credit union's monthly funded amounts.

Denali Federal Credit Union had operated an indirect lending program for years, but with stagnant growth. The credit union wanted a loan origination system that would increase automation of its current operations, which to that point had depended solely on manual data entry and fax transmissions. As a result of the processes that were in place, turnaround times were too slow and the program didn’t give the credit union the capabilities it needed to expand its program to new markets and increased profitability.

With the way we were operating, our inefficiencies were holding us back from setting our sights on higher levels of indirect lending success, said Tatia McMillen, lending center director at Denali FCU. Without access to online portals such as Dealertrack and RouteOne, we simply weren’t efficiently communicating with enough dealers to take the much-needed first step.

Headquartered in Anchorage, AK, Denali FCU is the third-largest credit union in Alaska and operates 19 branches throughout Alaska and Washington. It has more than 70,000members as well as more than $650 million in assets, which includes an indirect lending portfolio of $239 million.

McMillen explained that Denali FCU also needed a robust loan origination platform that would allow the institution to capitalize on growth opportunities in its existing markets as well as untapped neighboring markets.

Denali FCU found the right fit to address its needs for increased automation, user-friendly functionality and paper-less lending with the SAIL (Software Application Integrated Lending) loan origination system from CRIF Lending Solutions.

Designed for financial institutions that want to take the next step in indirect lending, SAIL is a comprehensive platform that can help any institution increase loan volume by streamlining and automating loan approvals using comprehensive underwriting capabilities that are tailored to the institution. It also automates processes to save time and money while reducing errors, improving productivity, and eliminating the need for redundant data entry. Institutions utilizing SAIL can boost service quality to dealers and applicants by providing instantaneous responses to loan applications, day or night.

Member data input, application history lookup, response generation and much more occur automatically ensuring instantaneous response times to applicants. For the management team, the extensive reporting capabilities and activity dashboards provide valuable information on lending activities and are easily tailored to the institution’s needs. This real-time insight into loan activities means lending managers can proactively address changing market trends.

McMillen said connectivity to portals such as Dealertrack and RouteOne, as well as a real-time interface with its core system, has made a world of difference. She adds that the complete reporting functionality was also a significant reason for choosing SAIL.

Executive management is all about seeing reports in areas such as loan production to gauge our progress, and SAIL makes my life a lot easier in that respect due to all of the options is provides, McMillen said. Being able to customize our reports has also allowed us to see our information in ways we previously could not.

Since moving to SAIL, Denali FCU’s average monthly indirect loan production has jumped from 323 funded loans and $7.4 million in 2007 to 518 funded loans and $15 million in 2015. Projected growth for this year is even higher as the credit union’s performance through August 2016 has averaged approximately 700 funded loans per month totaling $21.4 million.

McMillen said SAIL’s decision engine made a big difference.

It’s probably the most flexible and configurable part of the system because it’s able to go through all of those hundreds of constraints, package everything, and get it to look at what you want it to while ignoring everything else, McMillen said. It has the flexibility and speed we needed.

Significantly expanding to new indirect lending markets has been a major catalyst for the growth in 2016. Increasing automation and decisioning speeds as well as moving to more of a paperless operation has enabled Denali FCU to significantly expand its program not only in Alaska, but also move into Washington. In just under two years since expanding to its neighboring state to the south, Denali FCU has more than doubled its dealer network by adding 71 dealerships in Washington to pair with its network of 80 dealers in Alaska.

Using SAIL has also meant that Denali FCU hasn’t had to increase the size of its indirect lending staff. McMillen said there are as many people now servicing two states with around-the-clock service as they served in its home state with traditional business hours using the previous solution and processes. After switching to SAIL, increased automation and configurable decisioning engine have reduced turnaround times from an average of almost 10 minutes to as fast as 10-15 seconds.

Overall, going with SAIL was the best decision for us, McMillen said. We look forward to seeing how the system’s evolving capabilities will allow us to position ourselves for even greater success.

CRIF Lending Solutions has the industry’s best loan origination systems that have paved the way for greater indirect lending success for credit unions across the country. For more information on the most important things to consider when evaluating how a platform fits your indirect lending needs, please click the button below to download our checklist.

Download Our Indirect Lending Checklist

This article is sponsored by a recognized solutions provider in the credit union industry. Callahan & Associates does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer, and the views and opinions offered here might not reflect those of Callahan. If you are interested in contributing an article on CreditUnions.com, please contact the Callahan team at ads@creditunions.com or 1-800-446-7453.
October 17, 2016

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