Credit Service Company was established in 1963 and quickly grew to be a major provider of mortgage credit reports in Southern California. A family-oriented business that believes in "old-fashioned" values of hard work, trust and integrity, Credit Service Company prides itself in their ability to foster close relationships with their clients and employees. At one point in the mid-eighties, Credit Service Co. employed 94 people with numerous offices in Los Angeles, Orange and Santa Clara counties.
In 1989 Credit Service Company adopted a DOS-based software system that improved their performance and reduced mortgage credit report turn-around times vastly. Between 1992 and 2000, credit report volume increased 40% and net revenue increased 25%.
However, the complexity of the credit reporting system they were using was taking a toll on their maintenance and technical support expenditures. Installing software and setting up equipment on a client's site was time consuming and costly. John Fish, General Manager for Credit Service Company recalls the difficulties of getting clients hooked up: "Making sure that the computers work OK, the labor intensiveness, making sure the forms would actually print… it was a nightmare."
Setting up customers was not the only technical problem that was draining resources. Internally, their credit reporting system required constant maintenance. Corrupted files would shut down the system for hours, sometimes days. "We spent tens of thousands of dollars maintaining the system in-house. It required us to hire an outside consulting company to handle the maintenance," says Fish.
Technical issues notwithstanding, Credit Service Company enjoyed increased sales and higher productivity from their work force. But the decision to find an alternative technology provider ultimately came down to a matter of trust. "We're like a family here… when we started using [our previous technology provider], we were the very first ones to use the system, so we put a lot of faith in them," Fish says.
Like many other technology companies in the mortgage credit software market, Credit Service Company's technology provider was a credit reporting agency themselves - a competing entity. In spite of this tenuous relationship, Credit Service Company worked with their technology provider until it became evident that the quality of support and service they received deteriorated, hurting their ability to compete. Eventually, their technology provider stopped supporting their credit reporting system altogether, and Credit Service Company realized that the relationship had to end. "It didn't make sense to us," says Lois Kelly, Office Manager. "We were constantly fighting with them for business."
Early in 2000, the idea of Internet credit reporting was beginning to be discussed within the mortgage credit reporting industry. Credit Service Company understood the potential advantages of having a system that didn't require software installation or complex networking issues.
"About 6 months before we ran into MeridianLink, people were talking about using the Internet for credit reporting," Fish remarks. By the time MeridianLink had contacted Fish and demonstrated the Mortgage Credit Link system in October 2000, he was already sold. "[Mortgage Credit Link] is the solution to all of our problems. The ease of use, versatility of the system… everything was just a click and go."
The prospect of reducing or even eliminating their maintenance costs had an even stronger appeal to Credit Service Company. Having already spent thousands of dollars on maintaining a system that was out of date and unsupported by their previous provider, Credit Service Company felt that MeridianLink could deliver an Internet-based system that fulfilled all of their expectations.
Within the first month of using Mortgage Credit Link, Fish knew that not only did he have a system that would improve his business, he had found a partner that was willing to work with him every step of the way. "Every time I had a suggestion, [MeridianLink] would have it done within hours, literally."
Unlike their previous system, implementing the Mortgage Credit Link system didn't require Credit Service Company to change or upgrade any of the equipment in their office. According to Fish's estimates, Credit Service Company had spent at least six times as much money maintaining their previous system over what they had spent on computer equipment during the first year of using Mortgage Credit Link.
Improvements in workflow efficiency and merge accuracy provided by the Mortgage Credit Link system reduced the time required to process Residential Mortgage Credit Reports (RMCR). Internet-based customer service requests have reduced call volumes and as a result, payroll costs have gone down considerably as staffing requirements were pared by five employees.
In just fourteen months of use Credit Service Company increased their credit report volumes by 30%. Customer base has grown 18%, and referral rates have doubled.
But by far the most important aspect of MeridianLink for Credit Service Company is the feeling of security in partnering with a technology provider that is not competing with them. "We know that MeridianLink has our best interests in mind," says Fish. Free from any second guessing of their provider's motives, Credit Service Company knows that they can concentrate on improving their business because MeridianLink is committed to their number one goal, service. "We were shocked," exclaims Fish. "They listen to us. They're a real team."