You organized your deals in your lending platform. You set up your processes. Everything is running smoothly and you have an invaluable resource at your fingertips. Data. The question is, how can you put it to work?
If you think about it, everything we do creates some form of data. Every website we visit, app we open, or email we send shows something about us. It isn’t just big businesses that are using data these days. Even small companies have found ways to improve their processes using data.
So how can you leverage data? Do you need to bring in a third party to interpret it or can you go at it alone? How do you get started using your data?
If you feel overwhelmed, don’t stress. Data is your friend, and it can lend powerful insights into your lending’s potential. To make it easier, we’ve listed five steps to help you get started collecting and applying your data.
1. Choose the right software
The key to pulling insights from your data is the right software. Your lending creates a monumental amount of data, and without the right tools, you will miss out on the information you need to make smarter decisions. No human can process all of this data alone. This is where machine learning comes in.
Much like “big data,” machine learning is another term that many use and few understand. What machine learning is is a form of artificial intelligence. It serves to processes and learn from this raw data so it can perform a task.
In this case, make sure you know what you need when you look for your data processing and analytics software. It’s good to have an understanding of where you’ll be drawing your data from. You could start with your CRM or fintech lending platform, for example. Then, look for software compatible with the tools you already use. How can you evaluate the software? That leads us to the next tip.
2. Ask the right questions
Without knowing what questions you’re asking from your data, you will not get your answers. Always make sure that you have your goals in mind so you can understand what kind of data and software you need.
For example, are you looking to reduce the time you’re spending assessing risk? How much time is it currently taking? What are the steps, and how many people does it take? These kinds of questions will make you think about what the “right” integration is for you.
3. Plan broader goals
When you know what you’re looking for, you can start to use your data to get you farther than you may have imagined. Plan distinct, actionable goals for where you want your lending to be. Do you want to take on more deals? Then your data can show you what is currently stopping you and how to improve. Do you want fewer errors? Your data can show where they’re most often made (and even take a stab at why).
While it may be tempting to choose small goals, your competition is aiming higher. Plan for tomorrow, not for today. Successful lenders pay close attention to their industry and forecasts. This is how they know where to target their efforts and measure them with data.
4. Measure progress with your data
Once you’ve got your goals planned out and your software set up, it’s time to measure your progress. Let’s imagine that you’re trying to cut time spent processing transactions. Are the numbers lower now than they were to start? If not, take a deeper look and see what part of the problem remains. It’s not a matter of if you can achieve what you’ve planned; it’s a matter of how.
Modern loan management software offers features that make data digestible. These include visual dashboards, custom reports, and custom notifications. Use them to your advantage. If the numbers look off or if you don’t see what you need, reach out to their support center. They can give valuable tips you can tailor the software to your business.
5. Automate your processes
Once you’ve got the hang of your software, you can apply what you’ve learned to other parts of your business. Track the health of your deals with common indicators from past transactions. Standardize your processes by ensuring that all your staff uses the same flow. Better yet, set up automatic prompts to ensure that no deal is missing information.
Keep in mind that your goldmine of data isn’t limited to your actual loans. You can apply the same method anywhere in your business. Remember, work smarter, not harder.
Don’t let the buzzwords catch you off guard. You and your team can learn and apply big data, machine learning, and analytics to help even the smallest of businesses. With the right software, questions, and support, you can automate your way to success.
Regardless of the size of your business operation, it is crucial to have a quality software system that manages your loan portfolio. A proper suite to manage this aspect of your business will inevitably save the business a lot of time and energy in the long run.
Picking the right software will require an inside-out approach. Through this method, you will need to have an in-depth understanding of the nitty-gritty of your business before venturing to external sources for the solution. Aside from a loan management platform, CloudMyBiz also provides business consultation services to help with this process. To better appreciate everything, a number of internal factors have to be identified and sorted out, if required before executing any decision.
What Does the Business Need?
It’s important to maintain a realistic view of where the business currently resides in the grand scheme of things, but also have a well thought out projection of where the business should be directed towards.
This will require a strategic approach that caters to the most important features you look forward to having in your service your loan portfolios. You will need to prioritize a list that identifies the gaps in your current system and an approach that will work for the new system.
The best thing you can do for your business is pick a loan structure that aligns with your company’s goals and projections. This means that regardless of the number of loans you’re servicing, your focus is on the success of the business.
According to Ingvar Petursson, Chief Strategist with Slalom Consulting in Seattle;
“The goal should be to find a strategic partner in your software company so that ultimately, the software will meet your goals not just today, but in the long term.”
Generally speaking, getting a clear picture of your business processes, goals for the future and the hurdles standing in the way of those goals is essential in picking the right software.
What Does the User Need?
The successful implementation of your software will naturally require having ample information about the potential users/staff of the organization. Establishing everyone involved in the process, from top management to the loan servicers who will be working in the program every day is crucial. This sets the implementation up for success to make sure every part is delegated to a specific person.
This process will increase the efficiency of the program because you will know where your staff spends most of their time and the aspects that need to be tweaked or otherwise.
How Do You Deliver the Software?
This requires you to decide how you want the cloud lending software to be made available. Considering that there is a multitude of softwares in existence that vary based on qualities, you must choose wisely.
There are typically two ways of getting a new software; one is through purchasing the license and the other is a cloud-based approach. Picking either option depends on the personnel available.
For example, if you have a robust IT staff, then it is better to just purchase the license and let them navigate the software. However, if your team doesn’t have a dedicated IT department to handle such tasks, then using a cloud-based approach is preferable since it is remotely managed, serviced and maintained by the software provider.
Don’t Stretch It
Every business is focused on making a profit but at the same time, improving the quality and pace of activities should be just as an important factor when considering your goals. In this case, it is important to strike a balance between the quality of software used and the amount spent on procuring it.
This means that regardless of the type of software you pick, you have to make a budget that accounts for both direct costs like software and hardware cost, as well as indirect costs like the number of employees performing tasks that a dependable system will do automatically.
You’ll Need a List
When you’ve cleared out all the internal factors, the next step is to look for potential solutions. This requires for you to consider your needs, your vendor, and tech support.
You will need certified and reliable software, which will require in-depth research through numerous tools available. Your main goal is to come up with a short list of possible solutions.
After the list is created, the next step is to streamline your search towards the software that accounts for all internal factors that are a must. Focus on all aspects of the software in the streamlined list, considering the price, customization capabilities, security features, “licensed / SaaS” options, and other features important in your evaluation.
You could even run demos of as many softwares as possible, getting a feel of them and knowing which one will satisfy your needs in all ramifications.
Put it to Work
At this point, you should have a crystal clear idea about which software will be perfect for your loan servicing business. Ensure that you keep detailed records of all transactions relating to the decision and contact support if you encounter any issues.
Read manuals, watch tutorials and get as much information from numerous sources on the internet. Ensure that the software resides in a safe and secure PC environment, handled by the right people and used for the right purpose. It is an investment towards the success of the business and should be treated with the utmost level of delicacy.
Having a suitable, standard operating procedure (SOP) is crucial for efficiently running any business. If your business doesn’t have a simple structure to handle the simple tasks, then creating SOPs must be prioritized.
Business owners often make the mistake of believing that the growth of a business depends on more advertising, but that is not always the case.
As important as these elements may be for your businesses, having a successfully operating business requires improvement in other departments. One of the most differentiating factors between a successful business and one that continues to play “catch-up” is having SOPs in place.
Standard operating procedures are instructions that are well-written to explain how a task or job is handled. They are tailor-made and in-depth guides to make a task easier to do. SOPs are practical and can be used for virtually any task imaginable. They have been used for financing, legal work, operations in business, and so much more.
How Do SOPs Improve Businesses?
Kamyar Shah, a strategic leader and consultant, discusses his experience of working with organizations on The Process Breakdown podcast. He has found that most of them lacked SOPs or had very few of them. In comparison, organizations that had well-thought-out and structured SOPs ran quicker and more efficiently. The podcast continues with Kamyar emphasizing that SOPs are the factors that may seem small, but give businesses an edge in the industry.
Why Should You Have SOPs?
Improves the ability of employees executing tasks
If an essential task in a workplace appears too complex, there is a strong possibility that clear instructions and expectations for this specific task are missing.
When a company takes the time to have SOPs written down, people know exactly what to do, are more reliable, and are more likely to succeed. Employees are also less confused and have fewer questions.
Consistent businesses are reliable. Even if the products are small, reliability in producing great results is important and customers will be satisfied. A written down SOP gives everyone a standard to target and if everyone meets that target then better results will be achieved.
What you produce can be affected by mistakes and these will reduce the quality or the quantity of the product.
Efficient on-boarding process
When you have standard operating procedures, you make hiring and retaining employees a lot easier.
Training new employees becomes much easier, because new employees can adopt the a lot faster when they are written down. SOPs also make it easy for you to recognize the problems a new trainee might be facing and address them faster.
Improves health and safety practices
An employee’s safety should be high priority when conducting a business. In some fields, an injured employee and damaged equipment often occur from an unsafe work environment. When employees follow SOPs, they tend to keep the environment and themselves safe.
When it comes to online and SaaS business, having a system of processes in play can avoid mishaps from happening. As a lending or software company, it’s important to stay away from bad press as much as possible. It is crucial for any company that has social media or any marketing outreach, to have the do’s and don’ts written out for any onboarding team member.
Get proper feedback
It is important to consider speaking with front-line workers. Your front-line has the most contact with customers and know their complaints. When you open the door for feedback, you may find that your business’s decisions to retain customers are actually doing the exact opposite.
Speaking to employees and trying to find out what the customers think will help you see progress. This can help build a good client relationship.
What Results Can You Expect from Using SOPs?
Common issues being resolved
When you have a working SOP, make sure to take the time and have the right people look over the SOP together so any details may be discussed. see if an ambiguous part of it can be dealt with. This helps you work with employees properly while bringing their problems they may be experiencing with either the procedure or workplace environment to light.
SOPs point out organizational needs. This allows new and employees to understand the standards of the company and receive the correct information.
If everything is properly spelled out within the SOP, you will find that the frequency of communication gaps will be cut down drastically.
Better performance according to checklist
SOPs are used as checklists for supervisors and as a standard form of communication to team members. Because of this, there will be noticeable performance progress among your team. Invariably, this will lead to better client satisfaction, especially if proper feedback is given from the client on their specific needs.
What is the one most potent drive that humans have? Is it physical survival? To a degree, yes. But if we need only to address our basic needs to live, why do we strive for something more?
There is a secondary drive in humans that at times overrides even our physical survival. Some set out to climb Everest. Others leave their mark with literature or art.
Everyone, in their own respect, is looking for their way to be heard.
On the one hand, being heard implies projecting your ideas onto someone else. On another, it indicates that someone will listen. So how does one get the authority and expertise that makes them a leader?
Kamyar Shah, fractional COO/CMO, addressed the question in an interview with Coruzant. He responded above all that knowledge and lifelong learning is the key to leadership.
What is his motivation to learn? It’s not leadership. It’s not even advancing in his career.
His motivation to learn, he answered, is waking up every day “not knowing” and wanting to change that.
The beauty of this is that it shows anyone can become a leader in their field. Don’t get overwhelmed by the mountain ahead. The climb is as easy as taking the first step.
1. Admit you don’t know
As mentioned by Shah, what drives him is the desire to know. Not knowing is the spark that motivated him to take over 100 courses in the last year. It took him from a call center to a fractional COO for seven different companies. Assuming that you don’t know is not the same as an admission of weakness. It’s the first step to gaining knowledge.
There will always be knowledge gaps and misunderstandings. Identifying them can help clear up misconceptions to communicate your message clearer. For example, alternative lenders face many communication gaps with their own clients. As discussed in this article, the responsibility is on them to lead and close these gaps.
2. Use free resources
Traditional education offers in-depth coverage of the topic at hand. But, the cost and time constrictions limit its practicality for some. What’s most important is what you learn, not following the standard means of getting there. Take advantage of other resources if you have time or financial constraints. Some options include webinars, LinkedIn learning, online conferences, and video lectures.
3. Get in-depth coverage
Short videos and blog posts have great introductory value for a topic. However, don’t forget to build on that information. Coupling easily digestible information with in-depth coverage gives invaluable context. Without this, it is harder to make sure that you have the context to apply your knowledge.
Consider listening to a lecture series, reading a book, or taking online courses. Remember that you can always ask someone with more experience than you, bringing us to the next point.
4. Talk to other professionals
Some of the most practical knowledge you can find comes from the people that use it every day. Talking with other professionals is an underutilized and crucial tool for learning. It adds the value of connecting with a source of direct experience in a given niche. If you have a particular question or want to hear more about why some use a specific process in their work, ask. Find out where the leaders of your industry go. Are they in LinkedIn groups or on forums? Are there conferences or other meetups that they frequent? There’s value in surrounding yourself not with people like you but with people like who you want to be.
5. Always aim to prove yourself wrong
The scientific method sets out to prove a proposed hypothesis wrong. Experiments exist only to see if the belief holds up. Only after every attempt fails to bring another conclusion is it trusted.
Like researchers, only after trying to prove our assumptions wrong will we see what’s right. Even illusions can hide a nugget of truth. When you encounter failure, learn everything you can from it. Change your process, try again, and each time you’ll come closer to success.
6. Use diverse sources of information
Every person puts their perspective and options into their work. Often, even the author is unaware. When you see diverse perspectives on the same information, it’s easier to see what they have in common.
The Chaldean Oracles and ancient wise men would invite people to partake in acts of collective reason. Often, they invited others, saying, “Come now, let us reason together.” Once you have enough perspectives to see what varies from person to person, you begin to pick out the truth. As you practice this, the process gets quicker, and even your own biases will yield to facts.
7. Apply your knowledge through action
Even the knowledge of the most educated individual doesn’t mean a thing until tested. For example, a person can spend their life studying the maintenance of cars. They can spend every day reading, watching videos, and observing. Does this make them a mechanic?
Not until they fix a car.
The best testing ground for your newfound knowledge is applying it every day in real life. It may not feel like progress at first, but even your struggles are a form of movement. Only after practice and application will you look back and see how far you’ve come.
Industry leaders are created through a lifetime of learning. It’s not about what resources you do or don’t have. All you need is the want to know, the openness to grow, and the willingness to try, fail, and try again. The following growth reaches much further than your career or even your industry. It provides tools you’ll have for life.
Have you ever taken a good look at how many individual steps your day-to-day operations involve? How many different documents or spreadsheets do you handle a day? How many programs do you use to manage them?
With the right apps and integrations, you can handle more than just loan management in Salesforce. Lenders can manage ACH transactions, background and credit checks, and documentation within the platform. The result? A clearer picture of your business.
First, what’s the difference between a Salesforce App and a Salesforce Integration? Apps are built natively in Salesforce and downloaded directly from the AppExchange. Integrations are separate programs that communicate information with Salesforce. Both let you choose how you want Salesforce to work, but you have to download integrations from their respective sites.
What they have in common is that they both give you more ways to manage your cloud lending. If you want more data, you can collect it with an app. If you want to assess risk, you can add an integration. However, there are three types of features that all lenders need. Once you’ve covered the necessities, you can add features to boost your competitive advantage.
Your digital lending would be all but useless without ACH processing. Think just for a moment about all the transactions you handle from day to day. To make your transactions move quicker, you can move them to Salesforce.
In addition to providing faster transactions, bringing ACH processing to Salesforce creates fewer processes. Integrating these services makes it simpler and safer to process funds. You can choose from Salesforce integrations built for ease-of-use, your transaction volume, or any number of factors. Here are two examples of ACH processor Salesforce integrations.
ACHWorks is an ACH processor with Salesforce integration that’s been around since 1993. Its set-it-and-forget-it style means that once you configure it, it runs on its own. But what about security? Worry not. They prioritize, keeping sensitive information safe. ACHWorks includes encrypted transactions, tokenized account information, and hands-on support.
If you want a highly customizable ACH processor, it’s ACH.com. Their service handles recurring transactions, system-generated file uploads, and one-time web transactions. They also offer real-time analytics for more complete data. To top it off, ACH.com will handle your setup, training, and maintenance.
Assessing risk is one of the most important tasks you have as a lender. Think of how many different programs you use to get the complete picture of your borrowers—background checks, credit checks, spreadsheets, or databases managing their information. The list goes on. What can you add to reduce your risk assessment to a series of clicks?
First, move all the data about your deals to Salesforce, so you’re working with the complete picture. Next, integrate programs to verify, check, and assign risk scores to that data. Need some ideas to start? Here are some Salesforce Apps and Integrations to get you started.
One of the most well-known platforms for risk checking, Experian offers full Salesforce integration. You can verify phone numbers, email addresses, and postal addresses all from inside Salesforce. They’re also Salesforce Service Cloud Certified, so you know you’re banking on quality. Their data verification service works in over 240 countries and includes live support for around the clock help.
LexisNexis comes as a Salesforce App, available right from their AppExchange. They specialize in gathering data on your applicants, populating it in Salesforce, and using the data to evaluate your borrowers’ risk. LexisNexis also provides you with a score generated using all risk data, including non-traditional credit data. Coupled with Experian’s data verification service and your processes in Salesforce, risk evaluation can move faster and do more.
If you work with construction loans, you know the importance of having regular site inspections. Keeping them scheduled tightly with milestones can be managed right from Salesforce. When a site is ready to be inspected, you can make everything happen with the click of a button.
Quiktrak doesn’t just order your site inspections. It checks data to confirm you have the right site, adds detailed reports to your opportunity or deal, and leaves them readily accessible whenever you need them. Need multiple inspections? Don’t worry. You can order as many as you need without leaving Salesforce. QuikTrak also keeps track of interviews, photos, notes, and summaries. Since it’s an app, you can quickly download it from inside Salesforce.
Lending is document-heavy. You don’t have to look around at the files and loose papers to know. Contracts, releases, agreements, notes. When lenders talk about streamlining their digital lending, they’re talking about this. How do you get your documents integrated without wasting more time? And what more do you stand to gain?
Uploading paper documents is only part of the process. Making sure you have the information available and being able to use it are arguably even more critical. Ocrolus takes scanned documents and organizes them based on their contents. Tax forms stay with tax forms. Bank info stays with bank info. And all of them stick with their deals. Additionally, their scanner checks for tampered documents and provides you with fraud alerts when detected.
Document management is only one part of the process. Have you considered document generation? Conga allows you to create on-brand documents for your clients, which you can send for digital or in-person signatures. Its interface is easy to navigate and intuitive, taking pressure off your sales team. You can also pick templates and merge documents.
Your CRM is only worth it if you use it. While these are only a selection of Salesforce’s functionalities for lenders, you can configure it to do nearly anything you need. Covering your basics is just the starting point. After, you can start handling your client communications, marketing, and even support in Salesforce.
When your loan management takes place in Salesforce, the rest is up to you. If you’re unsure about which services can help mold your CRM to your lending, reach out to a certified Salesforce administrator who can help you choose.
During the crisis, you may be seeing a surge in applications. At the same time, you may have set tighter lending criteria and be requiring more documentation to assess the creditworthiness of each borrower. The result is that it’s more difficult to make underwriting decisions quickly and accurately. Your team can be overwhelmed.
One way to handle that heavy workload is through a more streamlined, automated underwriting process. FUNDINGO consolidates all the information your underwriters need in one place, and helps to generate more price options, reduce errors, lower risk, and ensure greater consistency.
A short video explains how the system can help your underwriting team. FUNDINGO Underwriting Software. You might also find this white paper useful: “An Inefficient Solution for Underwriting Means Inconsistency and Greater Risk for Alternative Lenders”