Improve the Online Loan Process Through the Use of Web Chat

Online loan applications are a popular cost-saving alternative, but usability barriers often keep members from fully embracing this channel. Web chat is a solution to improve member satisfaction with the online loan application process.


Though credit unions are heavily funding online loan decisioning technology, there are usability barriers keeping members from fully embracing this channel.

Online Loan Decisioning was the number two technology spending priority for credit unions in 2004 according to The Callahan & Associates 2004 Credit Union Technology Survey. Yet more than 20 percent of the members who tried using an online loan application did not complete it, according to the results from a recent survey performed by the Callahan’s Survey Consortium.

A disconnect exists between the priority placed by credit unions on the deployment of online, self-service options in order to lower costs and the potential member service shortfalls caused by a bad experience with online loan applications. This threatens to reduce overall member satisfaction and could possibly threaten loan volumes as well.

Reduce Costs But Still Increase Member Satisfaction
Members frustrated by online loan systems lacking the basic information needed to complete an application could turn to other, higher cost channels to complete their transactions. This would negate the cost advantage of the Internet-based self-service channel. Even worse, dissatisfied members could also potentially turn to other institutions for their loans.

One way to alleviate this disconnect is by deploying real-time web chat on the loan processing website. By providing members with a “real time” capability to ask questions during the loan process, credit unions can help reduce the loan application abandonment rate while simultaneously increasing member satisfaction.

Another key statistic unearthed by Callahan’s survey is that credit union members who have tried and subsequently abandoned online loan applications are more reluctant to try completing one in the future than those members who have never tried to complete one. Common member complaints about online loan applications include:

  • No example of what a completed form looks like
  • No explanation of the application process
  • No way to ask questions

The survey concluded that the inability to get questions about the loan process answered while filling out the application was the number one reason members abandoned the process. There is a solution that provides the higher responsiveness that members need to successfully navigate the online loan process, and that solution is real-time web chat.

Increase Satisfaction and Loan Volumes
With real-time web chat capability, credit unions can provide that “question answering” capability members seek when filling out online loan applications. Web chat permits members who are filling out online applications to ask member services agents questions about the loan process without leaving their computer.

Web chat is a lower cost channel than a phone call to your member service center, which also helps your credit union save money. The web chat tool also provides a secure, encrypted communication channel. This ensures members’ privacy when discussing the confidential matters surrounding a loan application.

Web chat technology also lets you offer real time approvals to your members. The technology provides the capability needed to reduce member abandonment and speed up the loan process, thus increasing your members’ satisfaction and increasing your overall loan volume.

As Scott Patterson, Callahan’s vice president for e-commerce, said recently, “Providing your members with tools to answer their questions, such as more detailed online checklists and online chat capabilities, will go a long way towards helping you capture the member’s loan.”

Improving member service while constantly reducing the cost of providing that service is key to the future of your credit union. It is an established fact that credit unions are expanding their deployment and use of online loan processing systems. By deploying web chat technology along with online loan processing systems, credit unions can provide the superior customer service for which they are known to the online channel, increase their loan volumes and continue their tradition of providing the best service in the financial services industry.

Deploying real-time web chat on the loan processing website removes the barriers to member adoption of online loan decisioning. By providing members with a “real time” capability to ask questions during the loan process, credit unions can help reduce the loan application abandon rate and increase member satisfaction at the same time.



This sponsored content article is provided to the credit union community for shared insights and knowledge from a recognized solutions provider in the industry. Please note that the views and opinions offered here do not reflect those of Callahan & Associates, and Callahan does not endorse vendors or the solutions they offer.

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Oct. 18, 2004



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