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How Neighbors FCU Increased Its Direct And Indirect Loan Portfolio

A case study on why the Louisiana credit union chose CRIF ACTion to fill its four largest origination software needs.

A well-known credit union in southern Louisiana knew it was time to change its loan origination software but wasn’t sure if there was an available solution that addressed its four largest needs: centralization, format, security, and indirect lending.

First, it needed a centralized location for processing and funding to streamline operations and drive growth. Secondly, the system needed a user-friendly format to eliminate the growing number of application entry errors. Next, the credit union required a secure way for its members to submit external loan applications. And lastly, the credit union needed a system that would help it increase its indirect lending portfolio.

In November 2011, after considering several systems, Neighbors Federal Credit Union chose CRIF ACTion from CRIF Lending Solutions. Based in Baton Rouge, LA, Neighbors serves approximately 71,000 members and has $632.9 million in assets.

In no time, ACTion helped reduce the credit union’s number of total underwriters for its direct consumer and home equity loans as well as its indirect lending operations from 10 to four. On the indirect lending side alone, Neighbors now requires only two full-time underwriters to handle almost $18 million in funding each month.

The usability problem with Neighbors’ previous system stemmed from all of the data fields appearing on one page. Too many fields on one page created confusion and staff could overlook necessary fields. Incomplete applications led to longer processing times, which hurt Neighbors’ overall loan productivity. The application side of ACTion alleviated this concern with its step-by-step entry process. Separate pages clearly display a red triangle and halt the entire process if necessary data is missing before moving to the next page. As a result, Neighbors streamlined its processing times and increased its daily underwriting productivity from six applications to 26 applications.

For external applications, Neighbors wanted a system that allowed members to apply via phone or Internet. ACTion Online enabled the credit union to increase its percentage of external applications from 20% to 53%. The closing rate on those applications also increased by 46%.

To stimulate indirect lending growth, several innovative indirect lending features of ACTion, including the ability to interface directly with DealerTrack and Route One, allowed Neighbors to increase its dealer network from 47 to 60 and the number of applications processed each month from fewer than 750 to 1,800.

In terms of added flexibility, Neighbors’ vice president of lending Marc Walls says the fact the ACTion system integrates with such a large number of core systems is another added bonus. Should Neighbors decide to switch core systems at any point, it could do so without jeopardizing the member’s lending experience.

While we’re pleased with the initial results from switching to ACTion, we continue to work very closely with the CRIF ACTion team to ensure our loan origination system adapts to meet the evolving needs of our members, Walls says. It’s a true partnership that we expect to see grow even stronger as we move forward.

Neighbors knew what its key needs were in selecting a new loan origination system and found CRIF Lending Solutions’ ACTion platform provides increased staff productivity, greater system flexibility and functionality, and, most importantly, an expanding loan portfolio. For more information on key factors to think about when selecting a loan origination system, click the button below to download Checklist: How to Select the Loan Origination System That’s Right for You.

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.
March 3, 2014

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