During the pandemic, banks and credit unions were flooded with small business owners seeking funding from the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Due to this influx, lenders spent the last year without the need to prospect new customers.
Today, with PPP shuttered and an economy still rebounding, borrowers aren’t seeking new funding at the same pace they were a year ago. Accordingly, lenders need to rethink their strategies if they want to increase new customer acquisition.
Sales Transformation in Banking
COVID led to many changes within the industry. Alternative lenders became even more popular due to the convenience that they provided their customers. Traditional financial institutions implemented digital solutions making PPP loans easier to obtain, and borrowers quickly adapted to this new digital format.
Now, with PPP originations behind them and Forgiveness underway, lenders are looking to the future--and for business banking, the future of sales is digital.
What Customers Expect from Lenders in 2021
As lenders begin transitioning back to the new normal, it’s important that they take into account that customer expectations have changed, and the option of going back to the old way of doing things before PPP is no longer feasible. Borrowers welcomed the digital advancements made during the pandemic, and now it’s what they expect.
Even though many institutions went through a major sales transformation during the pandemic by processing PPP loans digitally, this alone will not be enough to keep up with alternative lenders. In fact, a recent BAI Banking Outlook Survey reported that only 76 percent of consumers feel that their regional bank understands their digital needs, and for community banks and credit unions, the number was even lower at 61 percent. It is extremely important for lenders to identify this gap in their digital offerings and implement strategies to adopt new technology to provide customers with the sales experience they expect from their financial institutions.
First and foremost, today’s bank customers expect omni-channel support. This means customers expect to be able to get in contact with their bank through their preferred channel, whether that’s over the phone, online, or in person. They also expect to be able to start a task in one channel and finish it in another. This means that customers expect the banker they’re speaking with to be able to address their questions or concerns, regardless of whether they’ve ever before interacted with the representative with whom they’re speaking.
The ability to provide customers with omni-channel support will become more important as lenders return to normal after lockdowns. While some will still opt for an entirely digital experience, the ability to provide borrowers with a choice will create a competitive advantage that alternative lenders can’t replicate with a business model that is completely online.
Best-in-Class Customer Experience
Another takeaway from the pandemic is the importance of providing customers with a best-in-class digital experience. In 2021, one of the main qualities that consumers are looking for in any service is convenience, and they are willing to pay a premium for it.
Another way lenders can provide an excellent experience is through implementing an end-to-end, easy-to-navigate lending experience. With alternative lenders providing seamless customer experiences all on one platform, it’s important that financial institutions are able to do the same. Borrowers are looking to quickly apply and receive funding in one place through easy applications, fast decisioning, and frictionless closings.
Finally, when it comes to a digital lending platform, borrowers expect efficiency. The platform must allow for fast and easy applications every time. It’s important that lenders provide customers with an experience that moves at their preferred pace, and requires as little information input from the customer as possible.
Saving time is equally as important for the lender as it is for the borrower. When lenders are able to save time using technology, they are able to provide customers with better experiences overall. Without the need to prep loan documents, financial institutions can focus on providing fast decisions and concierge service. Lenders that used Numerated for PPP Originations saved around eight hours per loan. In turn, they were able to utilize this extra time to add value to other areas of their customers’ experiences.
Enabling Sales Transformation
Covid identified a technology gap in many financial institutions, and even though many lenders accelerated their digital sales offerings during the pandemic, there is still a big opportunity for continued innovation. This is especially true for lenders who created digital experiences for PPP loans specifically. In these cases, lenders should consider implementing digital solutions for Forgiveness, as well as for loan products outside of PPP.
Lenders that have taken the step towards digital transformation, and adopted a digital lending platform have observed significant increases in customer satisfaction. Valley National Bank chose Numerated to facilitate their PPP loan origination process, and saw measurable results immediately. They surveyed customers who utilized the Numerated platform to receive a PPP loan, and 92 percent of customers reported that the application was easy to use. Furthermore, a full 87 percent reported that the platform made them feel confident in applying for these complex loans.
Learn more about how the Numerated Digital Lending Platform can transform sales and make commercial lending easy, by contacting us to schedule a live demo. For regular updates on industry trends and our product offerings, register for our Tuesday Insights Sessions by saving your seat below.
Editor's Note: This post was originally published on Aug. 20, 2019. It was updated on Sep. 15, 2021.