Published on Credit Union Journal on March 18, 2016

By Palash Ghosh

The phenomenal increase in LOAN growth at credit unions appears to be great news—on paper.

"Lending is probably the most paper-intensive of all credit union processes, soaking up precious staff resources, duplicating tasks and wasting money on managing and storing paper," said Alissa Fry-Harris, the director of marketing at Bluepoint Solutions. "Credit unions are definitely at a competitive disadvantage when the entire process creates delays and extra effort for their members."

Fry-Harris said CUs are well-placed to capitalize on this surge in loan volume if they can tame the costs of origination. "In general, they have made great improvements in their operational efficiency," she noted.

But for many CUs, lending remains mired in fragmented workflows, manual steps, and technology that's not well-integrated.

Fry-Harris generally agrees with the assessment, but cautions that the bigger issue is "moving the loan along smoothly and efficiently" from application to close.

"There's technology to review most of the elements of a loan applicant's qualifications, but what's less common is using technology to automate the entire workflow," she explained. "So that each step, for example, automatically queues up the next step in the review process. That's the kind of automation that will remove delays for members, optimize staff efficiency, and even free the individual steps from being tied to specific locations and times of day."

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