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Essential Characteristics of a Quality Loan Origination Solution

Essential Characteristics of a Quality Loan Origination Solution

With the continued growth of FinTech and the Alternative Lending industry, systems and solutions that are tailored to these industries have also flourished. Loan Origination, that fundamental piece to any lending business, can be one of the biggest pain points as it involves a complex sales process as well as various documents, checklists and qualifications to complete.

Naturally, digitizing and automating your loan origination process will mean a huge savings of time, effort and investment. What’s more, because so many systems and solutions are available through the cloud, lenders no longer have to buy a custom built option or spend a lot on in-house hardware. 

What to look for from a Loan Origination Solution 

Replacing an outdated loan origination solution with a streamlined, automated and scalable system is not an easy decision, or one that should be done spur of the moment. Whether your company is coming from an analog process involving pen, paper, notepads and spreadsheets, or a computer system that you have simply outgrown, you know that moving to one of the newer and better options could be a huge boost for your business. If you’re dissatisfied with your current system’s performance or concerned about growing operating and support costs, then your company’s overall success and profit are taking a hit and it’s time for a replacement.

When browsing around for a solution, you will see that most of your solution options will have many of the same features, including automated deal submissions, renewal management, stips and document tracking and easy to use application pages. Further, with so many companies having slick, modern looking websites with well written copy, it can be hard to know who you can trust to really deliver a system that will take your business to the next level.

So, in addition to the features and price of your potential solution, here are some characteristics of the solution and the company that provides it, that will help guide you to a winning option:

  • Company Focus, Experience and Background
  • Cutting Edge Technology 
  • Quality Resource and Data Integrations
  • Scalability and Configurability
  • Quick and Efficient Implementation

Company Focus, Experience and Background

First and foremost you should consider where the company came from and what their focus is? Do their employees have experience working in lending and do they understand if from all sides? While a very large software provider may have some advantages, if they are providing solutions for dozens of industries, how can you be sure that what you get will really meet your needs?

What you are really looking for, at the end of the day, is someone who speaks your language, understands loan origination inside and out, and intimately knows the lending industry.

A team of highly-knowledgeable employees with a background in lending, or hands-on-experience using a loan origination system, can significantly enhance the design, development, and support of a lending system.

Another tell tale sign of this is the solution provider’s client list. Have they worked with just a handful of businesses similar to yours, or dozens? If some of the top players in your industry or vertical are using their software, it’s probably a good sign that the solution is a good one.

Cutting Edge Technology

Cutting edge technology for software and solutions isn’t exactly like a new phone, which usually equals a better camera and sharper display. For a loan origination system, it means not only being built on a solid foundation of proven architecture, but one that also has the capability to grow and adapt to whatever developments arise down the road.

Software platforms can only grow as much as their development company puts into them. However, when a loan origination solution is built on a robust, worldwide CRM platform, like Salesforce, which spends billions every year to grow, enhance and develop, you can be sure your system will stand the test of time. After all Salesforce isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and their arsenal of products, features and results only continues to grow.

Quality Resource and Data Integrations

Lenders rely heavily on 3rd party data providers to help them make quality decisions. With growing online support, this has become much easier than it was 15 years ago, however the next step is a quantum leap forward. A new loan origination system can integrate directly with your data provider, giving you instant access and sometimes pre-built automation, giving you a supercharged process. What was once a tedious, manual process, that could take hours of going back and forth between different screens and manually entering repetitive data, can be automated and reduced to just a fraction of the time commitment.

In addition, lenders can take advantage of Integrations with of Lender API’s, giving them direct access to some of the biggest players in the game, such as OnDeck and Kabbage.

When looking at a new system, take a look at which data sources and integrations you currently use, which ones are supported by the solution you are looking at, and which ones you might want to grow into in the future. 

Configurability and Scalability

No two lenders have identical procedures. Your process is something that you have worked with and developed based on your own experience, portfolio and the overall market. You want to remove pain points, not scrap the whole thing.

So when looking for a new system, you should make sure that the system can not only be configured to your needs, but that you have transparency into the process as well. Some questions to consider:

  1. Does every change and tweak need to be made by the developer, or can that be done by users as well?
  2. How technical is it to make changes?
  3. What level of support is offered and needed to ensure the longevity of the system?

Again, a system like Salesforce built its reputation on “clicks not code” meaning users everywhere were given the power to configure their system by clicking, dragging and dropping, rather than needing a coding background.

Going hand in hand with this is scalability. If you are going to make a big investment into a new solution, you don’t want it to break or be completely outdated in just a couple of years. So make sure to look for a system that is built on proven tech, built to last, and can be changed and configured without too much hassle. If you can meet these requirements, you should have a system that will grow with you.

 

Efficient Implementation and User Adoption

So you have done your homework and know which system will be best. Now comes the next challenge, the implementation. While you naturally want to have the system up and running as fast as possible, sometimes good things come to those who wait (at least a little).

Get a system that can be implemented at lightning speed and you might be running a risk that it isn’t robust enough to really handle your business needs for today and for tomorrow. Or there could be corners being cut when it comes to QA and testing, so while the system is up and running fast, it is full of errors and you end up wasting more time and money to get things right.

On the other hand, a solution that takes a long time to implement might end up costing you more than you expected, as you are stuck with your in-effective system while others get further ahead.

The Goldilocks zone is different for every company, and will change based on the project and level of customization. After all, if you are spending $5 million on a system versus $30K, your timeline and expectations will be very different.

Finally, there is user adoption to consider. How easy is it for new users to be on-boarded and trained? How challenging or cumbersome do employees find it to be diligent with their data and practices? No matter how good the software, how quick it is implemented or how great the price, none of it matters is your team doesn’t use it, or doesn’t use it the right way. So make sure you look for a loan origination system that is easy to adopt and use, and is built on a platform that is known for its usability!

 

-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team

 


 

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Tip of the Week – Salesforce Spring ‘18 Simplified (Part 3 of 3)

Tip of the Week – Salesforce Spring ‘18 Simplified (Part 3 of 3)

If you have seen our posts over the last two weeks then you already know that we have been rounding some of the top features of the Spring ‘18 Release of Salesforce. There are a lot of updates in this release and can all be a lot to sort through. That is why we decided to break it down a bit and give you a simplified guide to some of the top features.

Before diving in, If you would like to catch up with our previous articles, click here for Part 1, or Part 2.

Forest Spring Nature

Spring 18 Features – Part 3

Duplicate Jobs Feature

Rooting out duplicates in the system can be a big challenge for any organization. Anyone, from admins to users, hates dealing with dupes. Not to mention that duplicates can cause issues of efficiency and functionality issues, in addition to being plain old annoying. Salesforce is now introducing the duplicate jobs features, allowing you to report on, view, and merge duplicates in your system. Set up your validation rules and run the program in the background. This is an easy way to take control of your database, and prevent bad data from hurting your business. Previously, you could only do this through a 3rd party app, integrated to Salesforce, but it will now be a standard feature for Lightning.

LinkedIn Integration for Leads

These days, most business professionals have a LinkedIn account. The platform is a great place to network and connect with other professionals. So wouldn’t it be nice to generate leads from all those contacts? That is exactly what Salesforce thought. This new feature allows users to connect their Salesforce to LinkedIn ads. This Web2Lead style integration creates leads in Salesforce from ad clicks on LinkedIn. Available in both Salesforce Classic and Lightning, this is a great way to passively increases your daily lead flow.

Mass Quick Actions

Updating large volumes of records can be rather mind numbing for Lighting users. The default record updating function made the process slow and tedious, however, this is problem no longer. Salesforce has finally built mass actions into the system as a native feature. You can now perform mass updates for up to 200 records, all from a simple list view. Let the OCD flow through you, as you can organize and clean up all your records in a fraction of the time it used to take.

Flow Enhancements

There are quite a few enhancements for Flows in Lightning. The breakdown is as follows:

Flow Design

  • Better Flow Screens – Lightning Components allow you to build flow screens that look and operate in any way that you want them to.
  • Override the Default Header and Footer – Style customizations for both Lighting and Classic
  • Track Progress Through a Flow with Stages (Beta) – A developing feature so you can indicate a user’s point in any flow
  • Call JavaScript Directly from Your Flow with Local Actions (Pilot) – Pull data from an on-premises or private cloud database directly into your flow without going through the Salesforce server. Or do things directly in the browser, such as open a particular URL or confirm that a record was created with a toast message.
  • Upload Files Directly from a Flow – Don’t break your concentration or lose your place in the flow to add important documents
  • New Labels for Some Flow Types – Flow type changed to “Screen Flow”. Field Service Mobile is now called Field Service Mobile Flow, and Field Service Web has changed to Field Service Snap-In Flow.

Flow Distribution

  • Launch Flows as Subtabs in Lightning Console Apps (Pilot) – When records are opened in a console app and there’s an associated flow, the flow is autolaunched as a subtab.
  • Launch a Flow from an Object-Specific Action – Add flows to the action menu on your Lightning pages without hunting down the flow’s URL.
  • Start Flows Dynamically from Apex – Previously, you could start a flow interview from Apex, but you had to hardcode the flow name in your method.
  • Check Which Flow Translations Are Out of Date – When you change a flow that has translations, the affected translations are marked out of date in the UI and in bilingual export files.
  • Execute All Autolaunched Flow Interviews When Invoked in Bulk (Critical Update) – When flow interviews are invoked in bulk, they are now all executed. Previously, when multiple flow interviews were invoked in bulk, only the first interview was started and executed; the remaining interviews were discarded.

Expanded Paths

If you aren’t familiar, Paths are a feature of Salesforce Lightning that allows users to see a visual representation of where a record is in its life cycle and provides users advice  on what actions are needed based on the records current state. Starting with Leads and Opportunities, Paths have been very successful for guiding users and ensuring proper progress of objects through their life cycle.

For Spring ‘18, Salesforce is expanding the role of Paths to now include any standard object. Admins can take advantage, and ensure users have the proper directions they need for any object. Paths can now work for Accounts, Campaigns, Cases or any other standard object. A custom component setup allows you to build out your paths fairly quickly, and add an extra layer of knowledge for your users.

Conclusion

That’s it for the Salesforce Spring ‘18 Release. We hope you have enjoyed this series and that it has helped you digest all the information a little easier.

 

-Ryan and the CloudMyBiz Team

Tip of the Week – Simplifying Salesforce Spring ’18 (Part 2 of 3)

Tip of the Week – Simplifying Salesforce Spring ’18 (Part 2 of 3)

The Spring ‘18 release of Salesforce is big. Really big! So we have put together a 3 part series to simplify everything and highlight 15 of the top features. Welcome to part 2 of 3 of our guide to a simplified Spring ’18 Salesforce release. If you missed last week’s part 1, you can catch up here. For part 2 … read on!

Salesforce Surveys

Gathering quality feedback from clients and customers can be a key to growth and success and a source of giant headaches, all at the same time. While there are a large number of survey apps out there on the AppExchange, as part of the Spring release, Salesforce has created an intuitive survey builder. The easier it is to gather feedback, the better.

The best part about this feature, is that all your survey data is stored in your org, so you can view data, create reports and dashboards, and share insights within your company. This feature is generally available in Classic and Lightning Experience.

Data Privacy and GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation)

Coming in May, new regulations in Europe will play a big role in shaping how companies use and collect data on individuals. Salesforce has rolled out a number of changes to help make it easy for you to approach the coming changes and remain compliant. Some specifics are:

  • New Objects
    • There are many new objects, and particularly the “Individual” object will help companies remain compliant. This object allows tracking of individual customers and their individual preferences and data.
  • Delete Log Files
    • GDPR states that individuals can request to have their data deleted, so Salesforce has added the ability to delete data, and the associated log files
  • Data Privacy Preferences
    • Spring ‘18 makes is possible to store specific preference for individuals
  • Email Read receipts
    • If desired, Salesforce now allows for preventing users from getting read receipts for email messages they send.
  • Additional Resources
    • Finally, if all of this feels complex, Salesforce has added plenty of resources to help guide you

Custom Navigation Bar

In last week’s post, we talked about the highly anticipated customization features included in myLightning, which allows users the ability to customize the look and layout of their screens. Another customization feature being added as part of this release is: users can now significantly modify their navigation bar.

In Lightning, you can now add any object, no matter how granular, to your navigation bar. Accounts, Dashboards or even individual records, or whatever object you need easy access to, can now be popped right onto your nav bar. Further navigation bar updates allow you to reorder items, rename or remove items that you’ve added and add temporary tabs for individualized sessions.

 

Image of two young businessmen using touchpad at meeting

 

CPQ (Configure Price Quote) and Billing Improvements

Salesforce CPQ and Billing offers an end-to-end solution for creating quotes, closing deals, settling invoices, and reporting revenue.  – Salesforce

What’s not to like about that? All directly in Salesforce.

For CPQ, Salesforce is adding:

  • Updated Visualforce pages and line selection abilities
  • The ability to track the status of background contracting jobs
  • Use of the Prorate Multiplier for Order Products

For Billing, Salesforce is adding:

  • Customized billing with dynamic invoice plans
  • Better tools to manage tax for credit and debit notes
  • Improved reporting tools
  • A new payment center to seamlessly manage invoices and payments
  • Pre-rated usage for order products

Community Calendars

The introduction of Community Calendars allows users to share and view calendars from their Lightning community. This is a great way to keep in touch with everyone in your community, plan group events and coordinate meetings. The details of your calendar are also customizable, so if you don’t want to see it on the side panel, no problem. Finally, you can choose who sees your calendar and add the calendars of other team members that you want to view. Simple but effective.

That rounds it up for today’s installment. We hope you learned something and will see you here next week for the final installment of Simplifying Salesforce Spring ‘18!

-Ryan and the CMB Team

Tip of the Week – Simplifying the Salesforce Spring ’18 Release

Tip of the Week – Simplifying the Salesforce Spring ’18 Release

Salesforce Spring 18

Spring is here! (For Salesforce)

The Spring 18 release of Salesforce is fully live! Take a look at the release notes and you will quickly see that there are a TON of updates and additions. So, to simplify things, we put together a short list of our favorite updates and upgrades. Having narrowed things down to 15 features of the Spring release, we will be cover these highlights in a three part series (one a week). Each week we will take a bit of time to go over each highlight, what they are and why you would want to know about them. So without further ado, the first part of our Spring ‘18 Highlights:

Custom Themes / Style Customizations (myLightning) 

This one has to be the most prominent (and long anticipated) changes for Salesforce Lightning. myLightning finally allows users the ability to significantly customize the look and feel of Lightning! Create custom themes and consistently brand your Salesforce content.

  • Theme and Design Styling – Brand image, colors, page background images and more. All of these features are designed to be built with a few simple clicks, not code, allowing you to get your new look interface off the ground quick. If you want something new, but don’t want to take the time to customize, Salesforce has also pre-loaded a number of stock themes to choose from.
  • Dynamic Pages – Dynamic Pages do exactly what the name says, they change depending on the user that is looking at them. Through the Lightning App Builder, you can now set filters and logic that will add or subtract any page components, such as notes, alerts and more. Create a curated experience for each page and each user.
  • Lightning Flow – Visualforce flows have been a bread and butter staple of Salesforce for some time. The new Lightning Flow allows admins to create similarly guided, visual processes for users, but now it can be done with Lightning Components. These flows can be added to apps, records and more.
  • Lightning Bolt – The Lightning Bolt feature, which are out-of-the-box solutions that contain small collections of focused components, logics and practices, was introduced last year. As part of the Spring 18 release, Salesforce is continuing to encourage the use and development of these Bolt solutions. Read more about Bolts here

Macros 

This is a big time productivity enhancement. Macros can now be used on just about any custom or standard object in Salesforce. It may take a few minutes to set up, but once you do, you can save yourself a lot of time with those annoying, everyday processes. Set up your Macros to transform your complex processes to a single click or keystroke. An overview of the Macro updates is below:

  • Macros now work on more objects than ever before. Almost any standard object or custom object.
  • Text fields can now hold up to 4,000 characters. A significant increase from the previous 1,000.
  • Macros and emails now work together. Use either Lightning or Classic email templates
  • Quick text can now be used to make Macros more efficient.

Einstein Opportunity Scoring

Artificial Intelligence is simply something that isn’t going away. Salesforce’s Einstein has been around for a little bit and is getting better all the time. See our Into to Einstein post here. For those that can take advantage, integrating AI into their Sales process makes closing deals faster and smarter.Salesforce Spring 18 Einstein

The Opportunity Scoring feature is a fantastic enhancement to Einstein. Your team now has a visual indicator of their best deal opportunities, displayed in full view on the opportunity and opportunity lists. What’s more, Opportunity Scoring is easy to set up and is now available for both Lightning and Salesforce Classic.

Lightning Knowledge Enhancements

Lightning Knowledge now has a number of additional features that were previously only available in Classic:

  • Insert Articles into Case Emails – Agents can now insert knowledge articles directly into case emails. This is a quick and easy way to answer customer questions and provide quality solutions. Best of all, it is a big efficiency enhancement for Knowledge Agents.
  • Draft Approvals – A simple but important carryover from Classic, Knowledge article authors can create drafts and submit them for approval. Custom approval processes can be easily created by admins, or even create auto-approval conditions. A great way to ensure a thorough and accurate Knowledge Base.
  • Reassign article drafts – Along with being able to create drafts is the added ability to reassign them. Whatever the reason, new hire, left the company or to lighten a workload, articles marked as draft can be reassigned instead in order to get them finished.
  • Knowledge Access for Live Agents – Another great addition for Knowledge Agents: they can now access knowledge base articles while chatting live with customers. A big time enhancement for customer support!
  • Translation File Improvements – It is now possible to directly import translated files into draft translation records. Translated files are then added to Files and displayed in the Related List of the Knowledge Article.

New to Salesforce Knowledge? Click here for a quick guide

Reply and Forward Emails 

A simple but very important addition for customer support. Lightning now enables users to forward emails in the Case Feed. Because let’s be honest email forwarding is really a lot easier than cut and paste. To round out the email type features, Salesforce has added Reply, Reply All and Forward buttons to the Case Feed, Email Message record home, and the Case Email Related List. These features will be displayed on a docked email composer, that lives outside of the Case Feed

That about does it for the first installment of our Salesforce Spring ‘18 highlights.  

See you here next week for part 2 of 3!

 

-Ryan and the CMB Team