When it comes to loans, Royal Credit Union treat all members equally, but in doing so employees spend an inordinate amount of time analyzing small business loan requests.

“We needed to become more efficient to serve all members better,” said Royal Credit Union Vice President of Business Lending David Thoe.

The $2 billion Eau Claire, Wis.-based credit union is ranked sixth for highest volume of business loans for credit unions nationwide and currently maintains a $708 million business loan portfolio. In an effort to make loan applications easier, the CU turned to the Carmel, Ind.-based Baker Hill, a loan origination software and bank lending solutions firm.

Royal Credit Union’s Glen Kennison, VP Credit Risk Management (standing left), Julie Frey, VP Business Loan Operations and Services (seated) and David Thoe, VP Business Lending Manager.
Royal Credit Union’s Glen Kennison, VP Credit Risk Management (standing left), Julie Frey, VP Business Loan Operations and Services (seated) and David Thoe, VP Business Lending Manager.

“It is important to set clear expectations and requirements for financial information prior to implementation. We looked at our workflow and gathered information from production, underwriting and documentation to make the changes efficient and effective for all areas,” said Royal CU Vice President of Risk Management Glen Kennison. “While the B2B product makes recommendations all final decisions and loan structure are made by a business loan officer.”

Royal implemented Baker Hill’s NextGen Small Business Lending platform to automate the loan origination lifecycle for business loans less than $300,000.

Following its initial success with Baker Hill, Julie Frey, vice president of business loan operations and services, said the credit union implemented the data integration and customized online loan application solutions as well.

Prior to implementing Baker Hill solutions, Royal processed more than $10 million in business loans for the year. After both solutions had been implemented, the credit union processed more than $30 million in business loans through Baker Hill’s small business loan origination platform, and that has continued to make strong gains. Those gains helped earn the credit union a 2017 Best Practices Award from Credit Union Journal.

Thoe explained that Royal Credit Union experienced continued growth for 2016 processing a total of 644 new loans, which equated to approximately $146 million in new exposure. And, 328 of those loans were processed using Baker Hill NextGen Small Business Lending.

“Royal Credit Union has also substantially reduced the time to approve or deny a loan application,” said Thoe. “Before using Baker Hill, it took three to five days to process an application, but now, processing time has shrunk to just over one business day.”

For those efforts, Royal CU earned a 2017 Best Practices Award from Credit Union Journal.

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