What if getting an auto loan was as easy as picking out a new car? Applying for a loan can quickly take the excitement out of searching for a new vehicle. But it shouldn’t. To help you get on the road with your new car faster, we recently developed and released new online loan applications for auto loans, credit cards, and more. Enjoy more time for fun. And focus on the joy of creating new memories.
We recognize that creating a great member experience happens through all of the interactions you have with us, not just in our branches or on the phone. Knowing that you were looking for an easy online experience to meet your financial needs, our Digital Experience Team challenged themselves to start building all of our online applications in-house. This decision would allow us to create a custom solution for our members. But before we could start designing and building our new applications, we first considered how we could use this opportunity to holistically improve our members' lending experience.
Through member feedback and internal testing, we made a few unsettling discoveries. Our loan process was too long, some of the language was confusing, redundant information was required in the application, and the experience looked the same for current members and potential members. We attributed these findings to the high rate of abandoned applications.
Instead of acting as a partner and helping you, we realized that our online lending application was a barrier. Sometimes at a crucial time in your life when help was greatly needed. While we intended to be supportive of your goals, these findings and the high rate of abandoned applications indicated that we were not meeting this goal. We knew that we could do better.
Focusing On The Experience
Some of the best ideas emerge from asking questions. During the process of improving our online loan applications, we considered how we could build trust, add transparency, and give you more control over the lending process. Though the result of this project would undoubtedly benefit our internal teams, we wanted to make sure the member experience was at the forefront of all decisions.
“The goal of this project focused on member empowerment. Not only did we want to make the lending process faster and easier, but we wanted to help members feel more connected to the process and more in control of their financial journey and wellness,” explains Andrea M., Senior Vice President of Lending at Lake Trust.
So, we considered everything from the design to the functionality of the application and set to work creating a simpler, more intuitive online experience.
Learning From Each Other
We’re fortunate to have an internal Digital Experience Team at Lake Trust who can research, design, and build custom applications in-house. In a collaborative effort between this team, Information Services, Lending, Member Experience, and Marketing + Innovation Teams, we took extra time to research and consider the member journey from many sources. Together, we shared the goal of creating a well-rounded experience for you. And in the process, we learned from each other too.
“This project involved a group of perspectives looking at the process from many different lanes. It wasn’t one person or one team dictating how the application would look or function. It was a collaborative effort from many different team members and departments,” says Andrea.
In the end, we built several new online applications tailored to each of our lending products. In addition to creating a shorter process, we cleaned up the design, simplified the language within the applications, and made sure that the process to apply for a loan on a phone or tablet was as seamless as the desktop experience. Now, it’s possible to securely upload documents within each application (versus scanning documents and sending a secure email or fax), which allows for faster approval times. Your time is valuable. And we respect this time.
Though our first redesigned online lending application rolled out in October 2019, the importance of this new process was truly realized in 2020. The ease of use within each application allowed you, our members, to quickly apply for financing from the comfort of your home during the COVID-19 pandemic. Besides convenience, it’s now faster to apply for Lake Trust loans online. The approval process is also quicker, making it possible for you to get the financing you need as soon as possible.
In recognition of our new experience, we were recently named a 2020 Listmaker for Best Lending Platform1 at the Benzinga Global FinTech Awards. Benzinga is a finance-focused data technology and media company based in Detroit. Benzinga Listmakers is one of the most well-known awards worldwide for FinTechs (financial technology companies). We’re honored to be the only credit union listed alongside start-ups and other innovative companies that focus on taking care of individuals' financial wellbeing.
This honor demonstrates our commitment to innovation, even as a more established institution. There’s power in all of us to make a difference. For our members. For our communities. And for you.