A Case Study of Downriver Community Federal Credit Union
Downriver Community FCU may be small in terms of assets but is a leading credit union in the use of the Internet to process loans. Downriver Community FCU, located in Ecorse, Michigan, is a community chartered credit union with $90 million in assets, and 17,900 members. They are one of the few credit unions in their asset size peer group ($50 to $100 million) to offer online mortgage applications. Last year Downriver experienced a 180% increase in their first mortgage originations. Despite this increase, they were able to process loans in an average of 26 days, far fewer than the national average of 42 days.
Online Loan Applications and Loan Processing Software Saves Time and Effort
Debbie Stuart, Loan Services Manager, credits their loan application and processing software from Byte Enterprises with streamlining their loan processing operations. “This program has been a lifesaver for us. We used to hand type everything. It took us so long, we thought there had to be another way. This program does what we want with a reasonable price.” The program enables members to enter their application online and receive an instant approval based on their credit history. Once a day, the online applications are downloaded into Downriver’s loan processing system included with the Byte Enterprises software. The program includes computerized forms that loan processing staff use to prepare all the required loan closing documents.
Real-time Online Loan Processing Updates
As loan processing staff complete various stages in the loan processing cycle, the information is uploaded into a individualized website that the member can access to check the status of their loan and documentation. Members receive a password when they enter their application allowing them secure access to the website. According to Stewart, many members like the online updates, “members can go in and see exactly where we are, or if anything is needed. They can read messages or can call us if they have any questions. We’re trying to make it as easy and as painless as we can for our members”. Even members who come in to the credit union in person to complete an application have the option of utilizing the online update system.
Stewart believes the primary benefit of this program is that it allows to better meet their member’s needs and enhance their relationship with the member: “We realized we forgot about the personal side of getting a loan. It’s probably the most important purchase a member will ever make. We were focusing too much on the paperwork. This program frees us up to deal with the member on a personal level.”
Significantly Shortened Loan Approval Times
Another key benefit of implementing this system is the significantly shortened number of days from loan approval to closing. Stewart explains: “This system has made us more competitive in the mortgage market. We do all our closings at the credit union. We can get title and appraisals within a week, and could close a loan within 3 weeks.” The streamlined processing has also enabled Downriver to keep their loan fees to a minimum, charging only a $200 application fee and no origination fees. They also are willing to lock in rates for up to 90 days with no fees.
Highly Accessible Technology
Stewart says the software program was very easy to implement, as they had it up and running within a month of purchase. She also cites the hard work and willingness of her staff to try something new as a critical success factor.
Overall, Debbie Stewart reports that Downriver is very pleased with their experience using the Byte Enterprises software. She says they researched several different programs before deciding on this one. “Many smaller credit unions don’t think they can afford a system like this. We found this program to be very user friendly. It saves money in loan processing time and forms printing costs.” She estimates that they have spent less than $5,000 on the purchase and implementation of this program, “Smaller credit unions should be aware that these programs are out there, and are very affordable for them to use.”