Solution Has Made Loan Turnaround 10 Times Faster At Northern FCU

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CU: Northern FCU

Category: Loan Processing

Northern Federal Credit Union is leveraging new system integration tools that allow member loan applications to go from entry point to an underwriter's desk 10 times faster than ever before.

This sophisticated process called Access Advantage, was created by IntegraSys, Frisco, Texas, to streamline XML interfaces and web service capabilities and provide seamless integration between a credit union's core system and third-party applications.

"I don't have hard-dollar figures to give you, but I know that it's a huge time-saver," said Victor James, Financial Services Operations Manager at the $82-million NFCU.

Like many credit unions, Northern FCU leverages the support of outside vendors to facilitate its lending program, James explained. Among the vendors used are Credit Union Center Mortgage Corp., Albany, N.Y., for mortgage services, and Lending Solutions, Inc., Elgin, Ill, for call center and 24/7 loan application support.

"While these outsourced services have always provided added value for the credit union, the outside vendors' systems were not initially integrated with the credit union's own technology support tools," he said.

For example, when LSI received a new loan application, its staff would fax the application information to Northern where employees had to re-key the entire application before it could be considered for processing.

With 365 loans processed by LSI so far, this year, he said, that's a lot of inputting time and effort.

"Not only was the process inefficient, it also caused members to have to wait longer for loan decisions," James said.

Similar challenges existed within its mortgage application process. While CUC manages all of the CU's mortgage accounts, it had no data connection to the applicants' other CU accounts.

This caused problems, particularly for cross-selling opportunities and member service.

James said that when NFCU's tellers or member service representatives would speak with a member, their service screens showed no evidence of that member's mortgage activity.

Not only did it create missed opportunities to cross-sell products the member might need and unnecessary attempts to cross-sell what they already had, the lack of access hindered the staff's ability to answer mortgage-related questions. Time-consuming, extra steps to assist members included logging onto the Internet, accessing CUC's website and downloading the information separately - a process that CU executives said was cumbersome and slow.

James said as the CU's contract with IntegraSys expired, it offered a chance for CU officials to renegotiate for some of IntregraSys's new advancements that would streamline both of these products and related services.

"These were interfaces that we felt we absolutely needed," he said.

IntegraSys responded with interfaces for both CUC and LSI applications that gave Northern FCU direct, easy access to its members' critical loan information.

The result: CU employees can view member mortgage loan information on the same member service screens that are used for completing other service requests.

James said this new, automated delivery system not only expedites member service response, but also creates new opportunities for tellers to make informed cross-selling suggestions to members.

He said the new interface to LSI's system has saved Northern both time and resources by eliminating redundant data entry. James added that there have been no problems since the program was installed in August.

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