of members connect to financial institutions for assets
Up to 20
calendar days shaved off home equity loan cycle
Up to 67% YoY
volume increase reported by mortgage loan originators
Two years ago, as their leadership looked at rising consumer expectations, they knew they needed to adopt a front-end application to stay competitive with the Rocket Mortgages of the world.
They chose to move forward with Blend because of the member experience and opportunities for automation.
What they did not expect was that after two years, Elements Financial’s real competitive edge with Blend would be more than its member experience – it’s faster closing times and a single platform for more consumer lending products down the road.
Shopping for a way to deliver digital excellence
After more than 20 years in the business, Julie Bowering and Ron Senci knew they needed to aggressively partner with better technologies to keep up with member expectations — and they had to do it fast.
They assembled a search team and started to look for the best digital application experience on the market. As a secondary business driver, if they could find a solution that also prevented loan teams from using haphazard, disjointed communication tools like email, phone calls, and faxes — which could cause accidental double requests for documents — they wanted that, too.
Rolling out Blend in just 30 days
Just a few months after watching a demo of Blend’s product, the Elements Financial team had signed and fully rolled out Blend’s product to 100% of their mortgage loan originators.
Because the application was intuitive, made document collection easy, and gave Elements Financial the member portal they wanted for mortgages, the leadership team decided to move all mortgage applications to Blend.
The switch was quick for everyone involved, but the results of working in an improved process have been long-lasting. Lending Risk Manager Jamie Bonner explained the difference: “Prior to Blend I would email a member and say, ‘Hey, I still need this pay stub or an asset statement. I cannot send it over to processing until I have all of these things, and it will delay your time to close.’ Now all of that information is in the file right after they apply, and there is no delay.”
Because of Blend, Elements Financial’s mortgage loan originators spend less time collecting documents and more time interfacing with their community and growing their business through real estate agent referrals or training courses at company affiliates. Two mortgage loan originators, Chris Kerr and Karla Chevrie, increased their respective loan volume from 15 to 25 million and 28 to 37 million from 2017 to 2018 — after their first year with Blend.
Gaining efficiencies and more
Elements Financial’s leadership adopted Blend for the member experience, but after learning that more loan products could be offered through the same platform, they wanted to expand their work with Blend because of its measurable processing efficiency.
Despite being unintegrated with their LOS, Blend managed to help reduce the average member’s mortgage application-to-fund time by five calendar days.
Elements Financial’s efficiency gains with Blend’s home equity product were even greater: They went from an average of 30 calendar days to just 11. “It’s huge for us to have mortgage and home equity loans on the same software platform,” explains Vice President of Mortgage Lending Julie Bowering. “It allows for more cross-sell opportunities. Our mortgage loan originators focused on mortgage can now cross-sell other products and our consumer lending team can look out for mortgage opportunities. This is possible because everyone is in the same system, and it makes the process a lot easier.”
Elements Financial credited this time savings to Blend’s automation of LOEs, asset connectivity, and overall ease of use for members; instead of applications taking three weeks, they take 15-20 minutes, and processing per loan is taking 1-2 hours less because of automated follow-ups.
The improvements across products have laid the foundation for Elements Financial’s future ventures with Blend.
“We want a consumer solution for all products because we don’t want our members to have different experiences on different platforms,” says Executive Vice President of Sales and Lending Ron Senci.
Looking ahead: Blend as a single solution for all products
What Elements Financial’s leadership thought would be a competitive edge is not only helping them grow their business, but also paving the way to originate loans across products on the same platform using the same automation and data, which is huge for cross-sell promotions.
This vision rings true to their way of doing business: “We approach things from a long-term point of view and put the member first,” says Senci. “It’s not about how much money we can make, but about how much value we can provide.”