3 Ways Technology is Elevating the Commercial Lending Industry

As the ball dropped on 2020 and all its infamy, the world let out a collective sigh of relief. But now, business leaders, including those in commercial real estate, are back to the reality of dealing with a new COVID-induced normal.

The dramatic shift to a remote workforce, falling retail and office space prices, and higher operating costs due to the necessity for increased health and safety measures—all enveloped in an economic atmosphere of uncertainty—present commercial lenders with hurdles that have forced them to tighten their lending standards. See here how as much as 78% of US domestic banks tightened their lending standards in July for CRE loans.

The challenges of remaining resilient and maintaining healthy growth in such a climate are daunting, especially considering most experts predict that the highly anticipated shot-in-the-arm relief won’t even begin to be felt until mid-summer.

The past year hasn’t been entirely negative, however.

One of the areas where the pandemic shed light was on the need for many in the CRE industry to finally embrace and implement digital technology. A surprising number of companies in this sector lag behind other industries that have seen the light and marched into the digital age. According to a recent Deloitte survey of business leaders, only one-third said they believe they are prepared to operate their businesses successfully through a digital transformation age.

Most acknowledge that going digital is necessary to remain competitive in the next 12 months and beyond. Not only does employing the use of digital technology streamline day-to-day operations and attract top talent, there are also a handful of specific software that open the door to providing improved client relations on a consistent and standardized basis.

CRE lenders who have adopted these competitive cloud-based tools are positioned to offer their customers better service in three key areas:

1. Reduced timeframes

From point of sale all the way through funding, the time it takes to move through the seven stages in loan origination can be decreased significantly with digital technology:

  1. Pre-qualification: The fact that mortgage shoppers no longer need to gather, duplicate and deliver hardcopies of financial and other documents translates into an easier, less stressful experience for your customers.
  2. Loan application: Again, the use of paperless methods to complete applications, gain signatures and collect data eases the process and can shorten this stage by days.
  3. Loan processing: The use of a robust Loan Origination System (LOS) further minimizes the time a loan is in the funnel. With processing workflows set up by the lender, an LOS can identify any missing information needed to determine creditworthiness and notify borrowers or analysts immediately.
  4. Underwriting process: With credit and risk scores in the system, along with any unique criteria a lender requires, a fully automated process that includes API integrations with a credit bureau’s engine expedites the underwriting.
  5. Credit decision: The decision to approve, deny or return docs for additional information can also be automated—even as far as automatically changing a parameter such as the loan amount or interest rate.
  6. Quality check: A quality control group will depend on technology to hasten the next step, which is to analyze variables against regulations and other external rules.
  7. Loan funding: Finally, an LOS will aid in tracking funding and making sure that all the required documents are properly signed and included.

2. Simplified searches

Needless to say, the internet has expanded options for mortgage shoppers. No longer do they default to using the lender closest to the desired property. Other than using a SaaS product built specifically to streamline the search process, lenders can serve potential customers well by making sure their websites are up to date and comprehensive.

3. Optimized connections

Another way that digital technology benefits the CRE companies and, in turn, their customers, is the advent of platforms that directly connect lenders to mortgage shoppers, allowing each to input specific criteria and letting the digital matchmaker do the legwork. Finance Lobby is in that category—and in a class all its own. Visit FinanceLobby.com for more.

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