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Technology Enhancements Propel Online Loan Application Growth at United

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – Enhancements to the online loan application and other technology improvements helped United Federal Credit Union (United) improve loan growth in 2018, with plans to continue the momentum into 2019.

“It’s a fundamental shift in how we approach the member experience in our digital channels,” said Chief Innovation and Marketing Officer, Erin Hennessy (2016-2020). “The main goal is to keep the digital experience relevant and frictionless so that members keep coming back.”

One of the most notable successes came from a twenty times improvement in submitted home equity line of credit (HELOC) applications during a one month span from mid-June to mid-July. With the implementation of the online application improvements, the completion rate for United’s HELOC applications soared from 0.42% in the summer of 2017 to 10.18% in the summer of 2018.

“We needed more than just a different layout, we needed the ability to customize our online experience and own our identity,” said United’s Vice President of Digital Strategy, Warren Pattison. “Working with our vendor, our digital strategy developers used a software development kit (SDK) to simplify the online application to make questions more relevant to the selected product, and added the ability for third party integrations. This gave us the ability to return the value of an applicant’s home or vehicle, and include predictive serving for pre-filling mailing and property addresses.”

United considers loan products like HELOCs ‘sticky’, meaning they help build and deepen relationships with members.

“Ultimately, we want to meet our members where they want to do business with us,” said Hennessy. “It’s our responsibility to cultivate a frictionless relationship with them in-person or online so that they stay with us for a long time.”

In addition to HELOC improvements, United’s overall credit card growth was 6.2% in 2018, helped in part by the improvements made to the online loan application. With the digital enhancements, the number of credit card applications taken online improved by nearly two times—from a 3.7% completion rate in 2017 to 5.33% completion rate in 2018, which is nearly a 45% increase in efficiency year over year.

“It’s really about taking your sales funnel and turning it into a sales cylinder,” Hennessy said. “It’s not enough to just take in more applications, you also have to be more efficient in booking them as well. Working with our underwriting team, we continue to find opportunities to improve the decisioning rules as well.”

Auto loans also saw a two times improvement in online applications from 2017 to 2018.

Based on this success, United has plans to continue the momentum in 2019 with improvements to the online deposit application and the online mortgage application.

“Take a look at your online application experience,” Hennessy said. “If you are smart about the improvements you make, you’ll see significant returns by making thoughtful changes. Be methodical and look for those enhancements that will change the business and enhance a member’s experience.”