Speeding up the credit decision process is vital. While striving to be as methodical and rigorous as possible in their evaluation of every loan request received, lenders need to get to a decision in as timely a fashion as possible. Using a coherent ‘tickler’ or task system is an efficient way to ensure each credit decision proceeds in a timely manner, giving your customers the fast response they need, and improving your organization’s capacity and efficiency. Allied with customized workflows, the smart use of tasks can be transformative. The first step is to decide who does what.
Task Groups vs. Individual Tasks
Should a task be assigned to an individual or a group?
In some cases, a certain level of authorization or expertise is required to complete a task, and it becomes a moot point. However, in many organizations, stages in a credit decision can be completed by multiple officers. One option is to create groups. to which a task can be assigned — so the task appears on each group-member’s task-list — but which can be completed by any member of the group. One legitimate concern with this approach is that a task can ‘slip through the cracks’ — If two or three people can complete a task, there is a danger team-members assume someone else will do it, and then the task is left undone, or is not completed in a timely manner.
However, using task groups has many advantages. By creating a ‘Loan Officer’ group, for example, and assigning a task in a credit decision workflow to that group rather than one individual, each member is informed of the task and its due date, and any one of the group can go in and complete it. So if one member of the group is tied up, a time-sensitive task can be completed by any other member of the group. In terms of workflow, systems like FINPACK+ also leave a ‘trail’ of who does what and when, so from a supervisory or management perspective, it becomes easy to assess the workload for each team-member, who does what, and who could be tasked with doing more.
Whether you opt to assign tasks to individual or groups, setting deadlines is fundamental. There are a number of reasons for this, not least of which is the need to be customer-focused and responsive. Processing a credit decision quickly serves the customer’s needs, providing them with a speedy decision and thus allowing them to take the steps they need in their business. Speeding up the credit decision process also improves your organization’s capacity of course. The more efficient your team becomes, the more capacity you will have, and that opens up pathways for growth.
Deadlines need to be well thought-out, and not just randomly designated. Rushing any step opens the door to errors or omissions, and inevitably slows the process down. At the same time, allowing team-members more time than necessary to complete a task impacts efficiency. A good starting point is a considered analysis of current processes. Evaluate the processes currently in place, soliciting input from your team as you go. Once you have a clear sense of the optimal time-frame, you can craft the deadlines that make the most sense for your organization. Then be prepared to regularly review and tweak the parameters of your time-frame as you go forward.
The goal of speeding up credit decisions is attainable with planning and forethought. Using tasks or ‘ticklers’, especially when allied with customized workflows, allows your organization to be more responsive to your customers and also improves efficiency and capacity. Tools like FINPACK+ offer you the functionality to put those processes into practice. Contact us to learn more.