Lending Automation and its Impact on Customer Service:

Kristie Heinemann
May 23, 2012 — 1,429 views  
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Lending automation can be a beautiful thing. When done correctly, it can streamline a financial institution's (FI's) processes and create great customer experiences. However, when used incorrectly, lending automation can slow down the lending process and create negative feelings toward the bank. Effective lending automation strategies can by employed in the origination process, manual processing, and enterprise cross-sell efforts in order to improve customer service.

Origination Process

Automating the origination process speeds up the time it takes to process applications. Because of modern technology, consumers are accustomed to receiving information instantly, so if an application can be processed in seconds, the customer experience will be positive. An application completed in even a few minutes can disappoint.  It is important for the FI to use their strategies for credit risk management to decide which processes it is possible to automate and which processes should be looked at manually. Using lending automation, banks can make application processing as fast as possible without compromising their credit risk management priorities.

Manual Processing

Manual processing slows down the speed of application processing, but it is necessary in certain instances. Manual processing requirements can be mandatory because of legal restrictions or because of bank policy, but it can also help FIs look at the customer through human eyes instead of a list of numbers and if/then criteria. Manually processing an application can be the difference between denying a potential customer and approving them.  Obviously, getting denied will cause a negative customer experience, so banks must be aware that an occasional manual review might improve customer service. Banks can gain profitable lifetime customers and expand their customer base instead of causing negative customer service experiences.

Enterprise Cross-sell®

Integrating cross-sell into lending automation can improve customer service by tailoring new offers to the customer's needs and offering them in a way that is non-intrusive and friendly.  Advanced cross-sell solutions will allow FIs to offer their customer relevant products from all lines of business based on their available information. The customer will feel like the bank knows their preferences and cares about their lifestyle, which will improve customer service. Successful cross-sell solutions will also have an offer repository and sales scripting. Once a customer is given an offer, the offer repository will record their response (accept or decline) so the FI doesn't keep offering them the same product which would have a negative impact on customer service.  Tailored sales scripting will give the FI's customer service representatives (CSRs) a conversational dialogue they can use to help them successfully sell the product. This makes the process seem very natural instead of pushy and impersonal. When customer and CSR interactions improve, so does perceived customer service.

Lending automation, if implemented properly and strategically, can have a positive impact on customer service. The origination process will be faster, giving their customers feedback in minutes or seconds. Manual processing can be done more efficiently and help FIs gain profitable customers, and integrating a cross-sell solution into the process will improve the interactions between CSRs and FI's customers. Customer service is an important part of what banks do, and improving it will help FIs weather the current economic storm.


Kristie Heinemann

Zoot Enterprises

Kristie Heinemann is an online marketing specialist at Zoot Enterprises in Bozeman, Montana. She holds a BS in Marketing and Spanish from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse.