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The Key To Online Lending Success: A Human Touch

A timely follow-up call to members after they’ve applied can make all the difference.

In The Postmortal, a sci-fi novel set in the not-too-distant future, a cure for aging has been discovered and is significantly transformingsociety in a multitude of ways. Although technology is not necessarily the main theme of the novel, the author does paint a picture of a future where people have become extremelydependent on technology. But despite this pervasiveness, there are still many job functions that require good old-fashioned human interaction.

Credit unions are finding themselves in a similar environment when it comes to online lending. Some institutions have top-notch, polished online loan application systems and do a phenomenaljob driving members to their site. Yet many struggle to actually close the loan and turn a singular transaction into a long-term, rewarding member relationship.That’s where a human touch can still offer value in an online world.

A simple, timely follow-up call post-application can make all the difference to a member or prospective member who is shopping around online. Furthermore, the call creates an opportunity to build the loan (when information may be missing from the originalapplication), cross-sell additional credit union products, and show the applicant that the credit union is serious about providing exceptional member service.

In addition to follow-up calls on approved applications, the human touch is also essential for underwriting of applications that fall outside the guidelines of your credit union’s automated decision engine. With credit scores in flux due to theeconomic instability of recent years, fewer applications are able to be decisioned automatically.

In many cases, members who may not be automatically approved make up a key segment of your membership. Often, these are higher yielding loans, and failure to service such members ina timely fashion could result in lost revenue opportunities for the credit union. To counteract this, a five-minute turnaround time for a response is suggested, with service provided 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Understandably, the online lending channel will continue to increase in popularity and importance. At Lending Solutions, Inc. (LSI), roughly 50% of loan transactions are web-based and that number is sureto grow in coming years. With that trend in mind, credit unions are wise to invest time and money in ensuring their online loan application process is truly best-of-breed. Ideally,members should be contacted immediately (or at the time of their choosing) after completion of their online loan application. This immediate follow-up enables the institution to:

  1. Confirm payments and terms.
  2. Build loans that are not approved.
  3. Cross-sell additional products such as insurance.
  4. Approve more loans by making counteroffers.
  5. Set up closing logistics.
  6. Thank the member for their business.
  7. Plant seeds for future financial needs.

Whether the contact is carried out via web chat or phone call can be left up to member. The important thing is that the follow-up take place in a timely fashion in order to take the member offthe market.

The number of members choosing to conduct business online is increasing every day. If a credit union does not have processes in place to communicate with members at the time of the application, it is missing a tremendous opportunity to maximize revenue andbuild deeper member relationships.

More and more credit unions are partnering with Lending Solutions, Inc. as their 24/7 branch. Click here to view our YouTube Video on Internet Lending. From loan origination and decisioning to full member service support, our representatives provide yourmembers with the highest level of service at each point of contact whether by phone, online, or through an indirect channel. With LSI as your 24/7 partner you’ll increase loan volume,enhance member service, and exceed your goals.

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.
May 23, 2014

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