Posted by MeridianLink | June 19, 2019

Special Guest Jim Marous Weighs in on Digital Lending Questions

Did you catch our digital lending webinar last week with special guest Jim Marous from the Digital Banking Report? Don’t worry if you missed the webinar, you can request a link to the recording by clicking the button below. Even though Jim also spoke at our recent User Forum this spring, this webinar’s focus took things a step further as Jim outlined results of his 2019 Digital Lending Survey and content from his recently published 2019 Digital Lending Review.

Following his presentation, Jim fielded a few questions from attendees, so we thought we’d share them here since his responses tie so closely to the evolving digitalization discussion so many financial institutions are having today.

Here are some of the questions and Jim’s thoughts:

Q; What are the biggest takeaways from the 2019 Digital Lending Review compared to last year’s report?

A: The good news was that a lot more organizations are embracing digitalization of the lending process. By that I mean the basic elements of offering online applications through a mobile app. So that’s really good. Secondly, we’re doing better with engagement. That said, as I mentioned, we haven’t really gone deep in the process to ask how we can improve the speed, the number of times people have to stop and restart the process or want to change channels. We need to get to the underlying reasons of why someone applies digital and then use those reasons to fine-tune the process accordingly.

The key is that we can no longer refer to it as digitalization simply because we offer a digital app. We have to make digitalization mean faster, smoother, less friction for the entire process from application to origination, decisioning and eventual funding.

Q: With half the year still ahead of us, what do you see as the biggest trend that has yet to emerge in 2019?

A: I wouldn’t call it a new trend, but I think we’re seeing more and more players in the digital space competing for business. We’re going to find a lot of organizations making their entire processes smoother. In my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio, I think it was very interesting that our big arena where our basketball and ice hockey team play changed its name from Quicken Loans Arena to Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse. I think that says the movement from online to truly digital has gotten so big that even the players in the business want to promote and build better brands for the fastest delivery they have.

It’s all about speed. At any point, we can look up and find that any of the major tech companies want to get into our business even more. We’re already seeing the major tech companies stealing virtually all automatic and digital payments. We’ve got to make sure we’re in the game when it comes to lending.

Q: What are some of the biggest mistakes that financial institutions, regardless of size, looking to embrace a digital culture need to avoid?

A: It has to start from the top. It’s easy to say you want to be digital. It’s hard to do those processes. We saw a situation this past week where Chase Bank closed its Finn product. Now, there can be a lot of reasons given, but I have to think that some of it has to do with not really wanting to provide support to an organization that could completely upend a branch-based organization. Chase is building more branches than anybody else, and the reality is that if you really built a digital product that is the best, which Chase does very well, there would’ve been a whole lot of transfers from the legacy organization to Finn. I’m not too sure they were ready for that internally.

So you really have to make sure it’s not just good talk without really doing it.

Our Webinar Recording is Now Available

Last week’s webinar was certainly filled with plenty of statistical insight from Jim’s 2019 Digital lending Review. If you missed it for some reason or would like to watch it again, you can do so by clicking the button below.

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