For consumers, getting a mortgage can be a daunting task. Securing a home loan can take weeks (or months) from application to closing, in large part because the process often still requires offline and manual tasks. That’s not an ideal scenario for consumers who want to get in their new home, or for lenders trying to deliver a top-notch customer experience.
That was the challenge facing NBKC Bank, a full-service bank headquartered in Overland Park, Kansas. In 2014, the consumer-direct bank, which generated $2.5 billion in loans last year, realized that their internet application system was becoming a liability that could hold the bank back from further growth.
NBKC allowed clients to apply for loans online in 2014, but the application’s limited functionality didn’t provide the kind of experience the bank wanted to offer its customers, and generated unnecessary extra work for the loan officers. Based on older technology, the online application’s user interface was beginning to look obsolete. Making matters worse, the technology that powered the application was no longer completely reliable. “We often heard from borrowers that they completed [the application],” recalls Dan Stevens, the bank’s vice president of mortgage strategy. “But we didn’t always receive it.”
Another pain point was that the existing application couldn’t support a full online experience. Loan officers would still need to call the consumer after the application was submitted to complete the application. Due to the bank’s unreliable application system, consumers were sometimes asked for information they had already provided online, which was frustrating for everyone involved.
To address these problems, NBKC partnered with Roostify, a San Francisco-based fintech startup that provides a mortgage loan platform that enables faster closings and a more efficient, transparent loan process. The company bills itself as helping lenders provide user-friendly online applications, and offering online document and collaboration tools to cut down on the time-consuming manual tasks that can stretch out a mortgage approval process.
NBKC chose Roostify after seeing a demo highlighting the user experience for both the borrower and loan officer. Roostify provides NBKC with a highly usable consumer-facing online application, which the bank could white-label to present consumers with a branded NBKC online experience.
Through Roostify, NBKC’s customers can now apply for a mortgage in as little as 20 minutes without the need for a phone call or manual intervention from a loan officer. More customers are completing applications, too. Stevens confirmed that the updated process was a hit with NBKC’s customers. “Expectations [for an online experience] are super high. Hearing no complaints, with an extremely high usage and completion rate, shows us that it’s well received by our borrowers.”
NBKC was also able to use Roostify’s automation features to help improve internal productivity by reducing manual processes, particularly around documentation.
“One of the biggest selling points for us in 2014 was the creation of a customized required document list,” explained Stevens. “Not every loan application requires the same documents, so for it to be able to match the borrower’s personal situation with the loan program they were wanting, and giving them this information without needing to ever talk to a loan officer, was an outstanding upgrade in our workflow.”
Eliminating repetitive manual tasks like generating document lists and going over applications by phone freed up time for NBKC’s loan officers to process more loans, contributing to an overall increase in productivity. Between 2014 and 2016, NBKC saw their average loans nearly double, from 6.5 to 12.2 loans per loan officer per month.
Banks and fintech startups alike face stiff competition in most areas of financial services, and banks like NBKC highlight the importance of offering a seamless digital customer experience. The bank’s partnership with Roostify illustrates how savvy use of technology platforms can also benefit the lender’s bottom line.