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Signature Bank of Georgia Gains Drastic Improvement in Efficiency by Automating Consumer and Commercial Lending

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Automating the Life of the Loan

Financial institutions, big and small, are leveraging technology to automate inefficient, time-consuming processes. Rather than piecemeal various solutions over time, often creating even more complication down the road, Signature Bank of Georgia leveraged the full Sageworks Lending Solution powered by Abrigo for complete end-to-end consumer and commercial lending automation. Rebecca Abraham, Chief Credit and Risk Officer at Signature Bank of Georgia, had used the Sageworks Credit Analyst module prior to joining Signature Bank, and was excited to learn that it had already signed up for the full suite. “I knew it was going to be a very effective solution for us,” she said.

The institution dove into implementation headfirst. Abraham will be the first to admit a full life-of-loan implementation is a significant undertaking, but the institution’s success following the implementation is a testament to the substantial efficiency automation has created.

“Our turnaround time improved tremendously...because we were able to customize it and tailor it so we could get all of the information we needed for underwriting up front, instead of piecemeal like every other bank .”
Rebecca Abraham, Chief Credit & Risk Officer

Getting off the start line quickly

The bank kicks off its consumer and commercial lending automation with Sageworks Loan Application. “It’s one of my favorites,” said Abraham. She admits the lenders were hesitant about the move to an online loan application at first because it was different, but they quickly jumped on board once they realized the difference in time savings.

“Our turnaround time improved tremendously by starting applications through the Sageworks Loan Application because we were able to customize it and tailor it so we could get all of the information we needed for underwriting up front, instead of piecemeal like every other bank.”

Many institutions are reluctant to fully embrace an online loan application, as some borrowers would rather visit a physical branch to apply for a loan or hand in their documents. Signature Bank of Georgia, on the other hand, launches each new credit through the online loan application. For those borrowers that are not as familiar with online applications, the lenders will assist borrowers through the online application process.

The bank has created different templates for different types of applications. An applicant will designate the type of loan he or she needs at the start of the application, and the Loan Application will trigger the appropriate questions accordingly. The different templates create a significant time saver for both the lender and the applicant, as it only asks the necessary questions pertaining to the applicant’s needs. During implementation, the Abrigo team helped Signature Bank build out templates, both for consumer loans and commercial loans. “A lot of the original programming is serving us well now,” said David Perlis, Managing Director of Retail Banking/SVP. Since then, the bank has created even more customized templates to fit their needs.

Signature Bank recently began using the new SBA lending module and has built out templates for that as well. “The Sageworks SBA Lending Product promotes efficiency by creating the required 1919 and 1920 PDF forms, and promotes accuracy by using the interface with E-Tran,” said Tareasa Harrell, Managing Director of Government Guaranteed Lending. Abraham added, “Being able to aggregate our consumer, commercial, and SBA loans on a single platform gives us a distinct advantage over our competition.”

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Better documentation

Sageworks Credit Memo and Workflow have played a key role in improving Signature Bank of Georgia’s efficiency and transparency throughout the lending process.

Abraham reiterates a lot of hard work goes into it, but the return on investment is worth it. Credit memos, for example, took some time to build and have it flow through Sageworks Credit Analyst, “but now everybody just loves the product, including outside loan review,” Abraham said. Credit memos create consistent documentation from loan to loan and are customizable for each institution.

The bank also leverages Sageworks Workflow, helping the institution track a loan’s progress. “We’re big fans of workflow,” Abraham said. Signature Bank has a granular approach to documenting procedures, creating a robust workflow. With Sageworks Workflow, the bank is able to streamline internal communication and processes, significantly reducing bottlenecks throughout the lending process.

Workflow for consumer and commercial loans begins as soon as a client completes the application through the Loan Application module all the way through post-closing, booking, and ticklers. Workflow enables lenders at Signature Bank to move loans through the process more quickly and avoid stall time – even if a lender goes on vacation. “If Tareasa were to be out one day, for example, I can go in and see exactly where she was in the workflow and keep it moving forward,” Abraham said.

From handshake to handshake, Signature Bank of Georgia has found tremendous efficiency gains by automating mundane, everyday tasks. The bank has reduced the number of bottlenecks within the consumer and commercial lending process and has greatly improved loan turnaround time – without sacrificing sound lending practices.

“Being able to aggregate our consumer, commercial, and SBA loans on a single platform gives us a distinct advantage over our competition.”
Rebecca Abraham, Chief Credit & Risk Officer