With so many advances in digital banking technology, why do some steps of the financial product application process feel so antiquated? Many financial institutions are still asking applicants to visit the branch to sign documents (56%), verify their identity (43%), and provide documentation (41%).
Not only is it frustrating for consumers to have to go into a branch when their application could be completed remotely, but it’s also detrimental to the efficiency of lending teams. Manual application processing requires bankers to facilitate data input, sometimes into multiple software solutions, all while juggling binders of paperwork — a process that can be time-intensive and error-prone. This can in turn lead to poor borrower experiences and high application abandonment.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. By using the cloud for banking applications as part of a wider cloud-based digital banking platform, financial institutions can modernize the way they operate and deliver benefits for borrowers and banking staff alike.
Using the cloud for banking applications boosts the borrower experience
A great application experience can make the kind of first impression that leads to long-term customer loyalty. By moving banking applications to the cloud, banks can transform the borrower experience in many ways. Here are three highlights:
- Increased convenience
Using the cloud for banking applications can unify and simplify the application process. User-focused features like single sign-on and data fields pre filled with previously provided information can reduce the effort required for applicants. Embedded data connections can make the process even easier, allowing the borrower to connect to their assets, payroll, tax accounts, and more. And thanks to the flexibility of modern internet connections, these quality of life features can all be accessed on the go, on the applicant’s preferred timeline.
- Faster time to funding
The convenience that comes from automation can also speed up the account opening process and shorten the credit decision timeline. Streamlined back-end processes translate into a smooth and painless experience for borrowers, who can get access to funds quickly and efficiently.
- More personalized offers
Legacy solutions can make improving personalization and engagement challenging tasks. With real-time data analysis and AI-enabled prediction engines, made possible in the cloud, customers can receive tailored offers powered by relevant, bespoke insights.
Financial institutions benefit when they can use the cloud for banking applications
The positive impact of banking applications in the cloud doesn’t stop with the borrower. Automation, data connectivity, and other tools can also bring many benefits for lenders. Here are a few:
- Less time spent on paperwork
When key processes are automated and bottlenecks are eliminated thanks to embedded data connections, the paperwork burden for lenders can be reduced. This can free up time that can be spent building relationships.
- Increased market responsiveness
When there’s a consistent and simple digital application flow shared across products, back-end staff are able to respond to changing market dynamics quickly and effectively, delivering relevant financial solutions to customers at exactly the right moment.
- Improved time-to-value
With real-time access to banking applications in the cloud, lending staff can react fast to customer demands and provide meaningful help and advice in the moments that matter.
Elevate the application experience with Blend
Built with the specific needs of the financial services industry in mind, Blend’s cloud banking platform can improve the application experience — as BMO Harris Bank has discovered. Through its partnership with Blend, the bank is enabling high rates of borrower self-service. Applications can be driven by the applicant in-app, whenever is most convenient and at the pace most suited to their needs.
For those borrowers less comfortable with digital interfaces, Blend’s Co-Pilot feature allows lending staff to jump in, providing in-app guidance and coaching. “From miles and hours away, our bankers are able to work with their clients and complete applications using Blend,” said Mark Shulman, BMO Harris’s head of consumer lending.
By offering a unified experience for applicants, the bank has brought greater productivity to branch banking teams.
“We’re able to do things much more efficiently like collecting documentation with ease,” said Tom Parrish, BMO Harris’s director of consumer lending product management. “Less back and forth with our processors, underwriters, and customers is critical to our ongoing success as we grow consumer lending profitably.”
In the end, the numbers speak volumes. “With Blend, we’ve reduced mortgage and home equity cycle times by over five days,” Parrish said.