MULBERRY, Fla.-Magnify Credit Union's new origination system makes faster, higher quality consumer loans and cross-sales-at a fraction of the cost of previous technology.

"From application to approval to close, FinanceGenius is a turnkey LOS that helps us be more responsive to members and take control of underwriting," said John Santarpia, president and CEO at the $98-million CU here.

FinanceGenius can approve low-risk loans in minutes based on preset CU rules and stipulations, said Penny Bailey, branch manager and FinanceGenius administrator at Magnify. Higher-risk loans are often decisioned the same day with additional manual underwriting.

FinanceGenius combines loan processing software, a decision engine and a document system that is integrated with Magnify's website. The solution is provided by Austin, Texas-based RateGenius, launched in 1999 as an auto loan brokerage company catering to CUs and community banks.

FinanceGenius benefits come at a lower price than Magnify's previous online lending system, Santarpia said. The CU pays per transaction: credit reports are 95 cents and call center applications are about $3, depending on time spent. Online applications are provided to the CU with the purchase of the system for free, but there is typically a minimal charge for each loan application that is submitted by a member for review. The previous vendor charged $275 for credit reports, about $35 for call center applications and $7 for online apps.

"We're saving about $1,500 per month just on credit reports" since going live with FinanceGenius in February, Santarpia said.

Anyone-including local indirect lenders-can submit an application directly through the web-based system or via DealerTrack integration. FinanceGenius instantly delivers the application to Magnify's centralized underwriting department.

The system allows indirect lenders to directly input applications under their own user name, Bailey said. Prior to FinanceGenius, local car dealers faxed apps to Magnify. The CU then logged the data in a spreadsheet, faxed the application to the member's nearest branch and underwrote the loan.

"The joke among the dealers was that they wouldn't hear back from Magnify for four days," Bailey said.

FinanceGenius also hosts a call center to field phone inquiries about loans. But the call center has also been a boon for cross sales, said Bailey. Seasoned call center agents using the loan decision engine have helped increase sales by nearly 40%, said Bailey.

All loan documents are electronic and e-mailed to members so they can print and sign the loan in short order. "Our goal is to turn around the paperwork ASAP," said Santarpia. FinanceGenius also offers electronic signature functionality.

FinanceGenius delivers a wealth of lending, training and marketing support, areas where the previous vendor fell short, suggested Santarpia. "You can call FinanceGenius and get help immediately," Bailey agreed. "They even watch our buckets and give us advice."

Lending is centralized at Magnify now, thanks to FinanceGenius guidance, Bailey said. "We had loan officers and MSRs wearing multiple hats, so the turnaround on loan decisions was slow. FinanceGenius advised us to have one underwriter who focuses on making quick and consistent loans."

FinanceGenius recently helped Magnify extend the pool of highly qualified borrowers through a direct-mail rate promotion, Santarpia continued. The CU set a credit score minimum at 680, and FinanceGenius scrubbed a Florida credit report database to identify loan rates that were higher than Magnify rates. More than 5,000 potential members received the resulting direct mail. "We got lots of calls and loans."

The system offers rich reports, said Chris Brown, FinanceGenius CEO. The CU can track loan officer or auto dealer penetration on products; pull a real-time report to look at book ratios or the quality of apps; or report by channel to gauge the success of direct mail or lead generation companies.

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