To reduce the need for face-to-face engagement during the initial PPP application window, some community financial institutions leveraged technology that enabled their bank or credit union to develop a “digital branch.” These institutions used customer-facing innovations such as online loan applications, electronic signature capabilities, and remote document upload features to allow borrowers to complete PPP applications online at their convenience. Furthermore, technology on the back end of PPP lending enabled financial institutions to streamline underwriting and decisioning the deluge of borrower applications by eliminating duplicative data entry and automating key processes. The efficiency gains from the PPP technology allowed borrowers to access their much-needed funds more quickly. While this might have been the first time many community banks and credit unions have seen returns on a digitization investment, these same automation and efficiency gains can be found in other end-to-end lending solutions.
Many financial institutions are recognizing the important role technology plays in weathering the current crisis and driving future growth. For example, in June, Celent’s Corporate Banking Digital Channels Survey found that 41% of corporate banking executives are increasing investments in digital channel solutions, and 29% are accelerating projects. Technology is vital for an expanding institution, Andrew Reid, Executive Vice President and Chief Credit Officer of The Bank of San Antonio, told Abrigo in a recent whitepaper.
“If you want to grow, you’d better have it,” Reid said. “Banking’s pretty black and white; it’s about loans and deposits, and if you’re making loans and deposits, you’re growing, and if you’re not, you’re not growing. And so what distinguishes banks today, it’s service and technology. We really built this bank around service with technology and being able to deliver, and technology-wise we can compete with anybody.”
By having the digital capabilities to serve customers, financial institutions can be in a better position to accommodate the cases in which customers need to visit a branch, while continuing to speedily process online applications. Going forward, financial institutions will have to make a conscious effort to deliver high-level service with remote delivery. True relationship banking relies on institutions delivering what customers want and need, whether that’s online or in person.
For more information on the ways that financial institutions can build relationships and drive growth during these uncertain economic times, read Abrigo’s latest whitepaper, “Beyond PPP: How Savvy Financial Institutions Can Propel Growth and Profitability with Technology.”