3 Steps to Make a Great First Impression in Originations

May 30, 2018

You only get one chance to make a great first impression. In originations, that positive first impression can set the stage for a long-standing customer relationship.

Manage Expectations

From credit cards (a decision in a matter of seconds), to mortgages, (taking an average of 43 days to close), it is important to manage expectations, keep complexity behind the scenes and communicate based on the applicant’s preference.

So how do you handle all of that on top of various complexities that go into the application process? Here are 3 areas of focus that we recommend to make a great first impression: 1) Simplify the application process, 2) streamline decision making, and 3) enable timely and easy fulfillment.

1. Simplify the Application Process

The application is the first opportunity to demonstrate to your future customer how you conduct business. If your application-intake process introduces a lot of friction, or forces the consumer to a specific channel, they likely will move on to another provider.

A best-in-class application process offers:

  • Digital Portals: Web interfaces and mobile apps that make it convenient for applicants to provide and receive information securely
  • Direct Data: Automatically pulls applicant data such as credit, income, and collateral information from verified third-parties
  • Omnichannel Experience: Allows applicants to start the process on one channel and complete it on another seamlessly

2. Streamline Decision Making

Applicants expect timely credit decisions. Timeliness will naturally vary by product with real-time decisions for credit card products versus days or weeks for mortgage or commercial lending products.In the case of longer decision time, it is imperative expectations be managed up front and issues should be managed behind the scenes – only surfaced to the applicant when necessary.In doing so, it will ease the anxiety of the applicant, minimize the number of drop outs, and reduce the number of interactions required of your staff.

A best-in-class decision making process offers:

  • Automated Workflows: Surfaces exceptions to underwriters quickly for review and decision
  • Contextual Alerts: Delivers critical updates to the applicant through their preferred channel
  • Automated Conditions Clearing: Automatically clears loan conditions when the relevant documentation or data is provided by the applicant or third-party vendor
  • Digital Document Management: Provides multiple avenues for applicants to provide required documentation, and uses optical character recognition (OCR) to identify standard document types

3. Enable Timely and Easy Fulfillment

Once an applicant has been approved for credit, they expect their approved loan product to be delivered with minimal friction. A timely and easy fulfillment experience is vital to developing a long-standing customer relationship. Fulfillment options should be made available upon approval and allow the customer to close the transaction at a time, place, and method of their choosing.

Best-in-class fulfillment offers:

  • eClosing: Allows borrowers to close a loan virtually, including secure eSignatures
  • Multiple Funding Options: Provide ACH or physical check for cash-out, direct pay to creditors for refinances, or immediate access to credit lines

Questions to Ask

Take the time to evaluate what type of first impression you are making. What story does your internal data tell you on application processing and fulfillment? What applicant feedback do you receive, and does it translate into a consistent theme of providing a simple, streamlined and timely originations process? If it does not, making strategic changes can go a long way in improving applicant satisfaction and helping establish long-standing relationships.