Competition is fierce in the financial services and lending industries. Like many well-established business sectors, at first glance, opportunities in lending may be difficult to identify. Innovation and competitive differentiation—particularly for very large lenders—may be slow and painful to implement.
But success in today’s commercial lending industry will belong to the nimble—companies that are able to morph quickly to meet changing economic conditions and the needs of borrowers. Companies that can streamline their commercial lending process for borrowers. Those that can provide rapid loan application, loan origination, underwriting, and loan servicing. Financial institutions that can solidify their customer relationships by optimizing every aspect of the commercial loan lifecycle. That’s the kind of organization that will prosper in today’s competitive climate. Does that describe your business? Or the kind of company you aspire to lead?
That’s where platforms like Biz2X come in. These commercial lending software platforms give small businesses the flexibility, speed, and confidence to take their financial needs into their own hands; and they help lenders manage the complex process of originating commercial or business loans. Could your business use a little bit more of that? Let’s take a look at how to go about deciding whether and what kind of lending platform could propel your company forward and gain you more—and more lucrative—business.
Prepare Your Team to Launch Lending Software
One of the most important first steps you can take before instituting any new software solution is to engage your entire leadership team in the decision-making and implementation process. If you’re considering a comprehensive new loan management system, you’ll want pretty much every functional leader in your organization involved in the discussions:
- Your head of IT is perhaps the most obvious person to make part of the team when you consider a cloud-based loan management solution. IT directors are your resident SMEs. They can see things from the objective perspective of someone who routinely keeps up with technical innovations in your industry. That’s an important part of their job. But they also have an insider’s knowledge. They can see where your business might benefit from streamlining. They can anticipate both the benefits and the potential pitfalls of engaging any SaaS partner. They know where your current loan origination technology is bent or even broken—and that’s the starting point for trying to fix it.
- Get your Chief Lending Officer involved early in the process of selecting a commercial lending solution. Sales leaders and loan officers bring the all-important voice of the customer into your consideration set. They own the stats on your loan portfolio and can see where it may need balancing. Salespeople own the customer experience very personally and will bring critical insight—and likely, enthusiasm—to any initiative that can boost customer satisfaction.
- Your Chief Compliance Officer is charged with ensuring your business observes all of the regulatory details involved in commercial lending. He or she is in the best position to evaluate whether a single-platform loan management product checks all the critical boxes for compliance keeps you on the right side of the law. Your in-house legal team can contribute even more insight.
- How can you be sure that implementing a commercial lending platform is worth the investment? Your Chief Financial Officer is equipped to perform a cost/benefit analysis at the outset of your search for the right lending software for your business—and should continue to study and document where and how automation creates operational efficiencies and drives greater profitability.
- Your Chief Risk Officer is in the best position to determine how well a commercial lending solution protects you from loss—whether it’s due to taking on unnecessary credit risks, avoiding liability for security breaches, or simply putting your business in a non-competitive mode.
- Don’t forget your marketing leaders. Every positive change you make to your loan application, loan origination, or loan servicing processes represents an opportunity for marketing to drive home the new benefits your bank, credit union, or online lending institution is offering. Your website will necessarily be transformed when you automate many aspects of commercial lending. Creating and branding an exceptional user experience falls within marketing’s purview. The Biz2X platform allows you to configure a unique customer journey. It includes many customization features that help you differentiate your site visually and accommodates your company’s unique brand voice throughout the loan lifecycle.
Keep in mind, too, that your resident digital marketing experts can provide invaluable, data-driven design insights into what makes a productive financial services website. Bring them on board early—then keep them on—to help you evaluate how your site is performing on an ongoing basis. They may be able to suggest small but powerful tweaks that optimize customer experience and up your conversion rate.
Built-In: Best Practices for Commercial Loan Origination
We’re creatures of habit. Chances are you’ve witnessed many times how small changes in your business operations throw some employees for a loop. Switch out the brand of coffee you keep in your break room and it’s going to cause some folks to have a conniption. Companies that manage change well have a few things in common, though.
Often, the nimblest companies seek feedback from non-management employees before any change is implemented. That’s smart for a lot of reasons. Management may be missing something important in its calculation of whether change is warranted, for one thing. Non-management employees often have insight into workflow efficiencies that may be invisible from the corner office.
Finance companies that navigate change well communicate openly about what changes employees can expect. They explain in detail why a change is necessary. They send out emails and host webinars. They might even print up special T-shirts to get folks in the spirit to work on change together. They answer the inevitable question employees will ask: what’s in it for me? And they recognize that the answer may be different for individual employees and employee groups.
There’s no such thing as over-communicating when it comes to implementing major business changes. Certainly, automating your commercial lending process qualifies as a substantial innovation. When employees feel they’re a part of the evolution of a business and understand why they play a critical role in a company’s progress, they’re likely to be more committed to supporting change, rather than resisting it. Commercial lenders that only involve management in their decisions run a serious risk of alienating the folks in the trenches.
Choose a Platform with Proven Expertise
Lenders have dozens of options to help them with their lending origination and servicing procedures these days. But there are some key things that show a platform provider is ready to take on your unique challenges. Selecting your vendor based on these factors is a sure way to ensure success with your project.
For instance, at Biz2X we have a clear picture of the challenges financial institutions like yours face, from unwieldy document management systems to building lasting customer relationships. We developed our commercial lending solution as lenders ourselves. Our sister company, Biz2Credit, experienced rapid growth as a result of the innovations we brought to risk management, loan decisioning, and CRM. That’s when we realized that other lenders could benefit from what we’d learned and became an SaaS provider.
Today, the improvements we continue to make to our unique commercial lending products are driven by marketplace changes, the feedback we get from customers, and our own experience. Our platform is as responsive as our leadership team is sensitive to the ever-changing dynamics of the commercial lending industry.
Request a free Biz2X demo today and learn how our experience can benefit you and your borrowers right now and as your business evolves and grows.