This article is part of the CreditUnions.com FinTech Series, a new collection of original Q&As that celebrate advancements in financial technology. Learn how your organization can participate today.
More than 140 lenders of all sizes use Blend’s suite of digital solutions, which includes a mortgage tool that’s handling more than 25% of the market.
The San Francisco, CA-based company — now in its sixth year of operation — uses artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation techniques to guide borrowers through applications. The streamlined workflow adds transparency and speed to a process that can often seem opaque and sluggish, adding to the anxiety members already feel waiting to close on their loans and move into their new homes.
Greg Kovtun, Business Development Manager/Alliances, Blend
More than 50% of the activity on Blend’s platforms occur outside office hours, and one-third of loan applicants apply on mobile. More than two dozen credit unions are using Blend to offer a “best-in-class digital lending experience,” including Mountain America Credit Union ($8.9B, Sandy, UT), which has reported 11% year-over-year growth in mortgage and home equity lending.
Blend currently offers a digital lending platform and mortgage, home equity, and deposit accounts. It also is the first platform to achieve certification to supply asset verification reports for Fannie Mae’s innovative Day 1 Certainty program.
“We’re working toward building a simple, more secure, and transparent consumer lending ecosystem,” says Greg Kovtun, Blend’s business development manager/alliances.
Here, Kovtun talks with CreditUnions.com about how Blend helps credit unions deepen member relationships through enhanced digital experiences.
How many credit unions are using Blend and how many financial institutions overall?
Greg Kovtun: Around 140 financial institutions overall. We work with some of the nation’s largest credit unions and many small, regional credit unions that have realized significant growth with the help of Blend.
What is Blend, and what makes you innovative?
GK: Blend is transforming the lending industry by creating a unified approach to taking out a mortgage or consumer loan. Our digital lending platform makes the journey from application to close fast and easy for members while helping lenders increase productivity, deepen member relationships, and deliver exceptional member experiences. Ultimately, it’s our vision to power one-tap access to all of the world’s financial resources.
What opportunity or challenge does Blend address?
GK: There is a huge opportunity to help financial institutions work better with their members using technology. We’re helping our customers win over members and drive lifetime loyalty.
The challenges we address include:
Shrinking profit margins. Loan approval processes are inefficient and rely on too much manual labor.
Growing competitive pressure. Top lenders and fintech companies are innovating rapidly and stealing members.
Fragmented customer experiences. Data silos make it difficult to deepen member relationships.
Rising expectations. Digital experiences aren’t up to modern standards, resulting in low pull-through rates.
We don’t digitize paper-based processes, we eliminate steps entirely through a combination of AI, data-driven workflows, and user-centered design.
How does Blend help credit unions deal with disruption in the marketplace? How does it help differentiate them from banks?
GK: We give them access to the same technology and sleek experience used by bank leaders like Wells Fargo. This allows credit unions to differentiate themselves with service and products alike.
Blend makes it easier for credit unions to deepen their relationships with members by offering a unified experience across products, including deposit accounts. New members can solidify their relationship with their credit union in just a couple of minutes by opening a deposit account through Blend and then ideally stick with that credit union for all their financial needs.
Blend promises to deliver an exceptional member experience, maximized loan team productivity, and loan cycle times reduced by as much as 50%.
How does this innovation increase member value?
GK: By delivering exceptional customer experiences through seamless lending processes across digital, phone, and branch channels.
That begins with accelerating loan cycle times by automating and eliminate the manual steps that delay approvals and timely closings. We also help our clients deepen customer relationships, raise customer NPS scores, and use new insights to drive personalized offers.
Then there are increased pull-through rates because we make it easy for consumers to connect their financial data sources and complete tasks online. Other benefits include reduced lending costs, increased productivity by lending teams that can handle more activity, and expanded market reach, especially to underserved consumers who to prefer to engage online.
What differentiates Blend from competitors?
GK: We’re the leader in terms of loan volume, funding, and product breadth, and we provide a unified approach to acquiring customers and growing share of wallet.
We also enable the highest connection rates to consumer data sources, offer the most out-of-the-box integrations, and, crucially, we don’t digitize paper-based processes, we eliminate steps entirely through a combination of AI, data-driven workflows, and user-centered design.
What kind of ROI can a credit union expect using this product?
GK: Blend users can expect up to 50% faster loan cycles, up to 70% application pull-through rates, up to 20% higher loan officer productivity, up to 60% of applicants connecting their financial accounts, and more than 40 integrations with top data and technology providers, thus saving on installation and integration costs.
For more information on Blend, please visit www.blend.com.
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