Technology Expanded One Lender’s Base in the Pandemic

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By Allen Jingst, LenderClose SVP

Having the right technology for today and tomorrow is one of Community 1st Credit Union’s brand promises. And, the Iowa credit union’s willingness to adopt member experience-enhancing technology is precisely what enabled the cooperative to continue delivering top-notch member service when the COVID-19 crisis hit. 

A Safe and Efficient Closing Experience

Because the $700 million credit union was already utilizing the LenderClose platform to digitize and streamline its lending process, it was easy to access the platform’s built-in Remote Online Notarization (RON) solution to offer notarization to accommodate borrowers during the pandemic. In addition, Community 1st was able to offer members an option to close their loans from home almost immediately with RON. 

“After using the RON technology to authenticate IDs, we were able to move through the closing package just as we would with a typical refinance,” said Community 1st Mortgage Lender Derek Carter, who serves the credit union’s Albia and Centerville branches. “But this time, members could complete the process from the comfort of their own homes without having to get their kids out and commute to the branch – and, it saved us from having to manage a large stack of paper.” 

Carter sees remote lending as a huge value to busy members. “The in-person transaction is not going away, but this is a great way to adapt our services for members who either don’t want to come into the branch, or whose schedules can’t accommodate our normal business hours.” 

An Expanded Borrower Base

Adopting digital lending technologies has allowed Community 1st to remove the geographic limits on the people they are able to serve. “Using LenderClose and RON significantly expands the universe of people to whom we can offer mortgage products. And we believe that once we show prospective members how easy it is to work with us – and how much they’ll save in fees compared to a large bank – we will have no problem earning their business,” Hagen said. 

“We’re proving that outstanding member service doesn’t require a face-to-face interaction. In every way that we meet a need, our commitment to people comes through,” added Hagen’s colleague Anne Hagen, Community 1st VP of Marketing.

COVID-19 accelerated the need to digitally serve almost every demographic. People with health conditions and the elderly may be wary of returning to a physical branch for some time. Younger generations want to conduct their business from anywhere on a mobile device. Community 1st has found its dual focus on member service and digital technologies creates a winning combination for growth. 

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