There are a million reasons for leveraging fintech to enhance a financial institution’s small business lending experience. To name a few, there’s better efficiency, customer convenience, profitability, speed to decision, speed to capital, cost reductions and a much-improved overall customer experience. However, one that often gets lost in the fray is the impact technology will have on the day- to-day productivity, motivation and morale of the bankers who work so hard to source and sell small business loans. This “banker experience” as it is known, plays a huge role in sales performance, retention, revenue generation and employee satisfaction.
The reality of a day in the life of a small business lender is that a surprisingly small amount of time is spent on sourcing new opportunities or even cross-solving to sell deeper into an existing relationship. Because they are shackled with the responsibility of shepherding deals through the multiple steps in the lending process, the more loan deals a banker has, the less time he or she is able to spend growing the book of business. So how are they spending their time?
- As many as 80 percent of applications come in either incomplete or with an error on them, delaying the decisioning process and requiring the banker to go back to the client again and again.
- Unique borrowing situations prompt the back office to request additional information requiring the banker to reach out and coordinate the collection of the information.
- The collection of documents in the “docs and due diligence” phase of the approval process is tedious and time consuming. Bankers spend a great deal of time reaching out to applicants asking for things like: entity docs, insurance certificates, tax returns and so on.
- Multiple teams and individuals touch each deal and as a result, things get lost, forcing the banker to invest a great deal of time and energy babysitting deals and checking on their progress from application to closing.
- Much of the processing time is dependent upon the borrower’s promptness in getting requested information back to the bank. Bankers spend countless hours making multiple calls to collect information from clients.
I ran small business sales for a $150 billion asset institution, and our data proved that whenever a banker had as little as two loan deals in the workflow process, their new business acquisition productivity was reduced by 50 percent. Bankers with five deals in the process had their acquisition productivity diminished by 75 to 80 percent. That’s because they expend all their time and energy shepherding deals through the various stages of the process, gathering additional documentation, or monitoring the progress of each deal.
All of this is challenging for one person to do… but simple for technology to handle automatically, accurately and consistently. Technology can ensure an application is complete before it is submitted. It can ping the client for any-and-all documentation or data required. It can communicate progress and monitor a deal at every step in the lending process. Technology can also facilitate the collection of more and better data and translate that data into information that enables the banker to add value by asking great questions that help solve more problems for the customer.
When technology is used end-to-end, from application to closing, bankers are able to focus on the important things like:
- Sourcing new opportunities.
- Cross-solving for existing customers.
- Preparing for sales calls and follow-up activities to advance the sales process.
- Providing clients and prospects the value that earns trust and feeds future revenue.
- Growing their loan book, and their portfolio revenue.
Technology makes the banker’s life simpler. When bankers are able to do what they do best, which is sell, job satisfaction, performance, job retention and morale go through the roof. And that positivity translates into improvements in the customer experience, and increases in revenues for the institution.