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Getting Ahead of Competition: COLLATERAL360 Optimizes Popular Bank’s CRE Lending Strategy

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LightBox Insights
April 27, 2020 3 mins

Vice President and Property Appraisal Analyst Fred McDonald discovered a problem when he joined Popular Bank in February 2015: the bank’s CRE lending strategy was time-consuming and inefficient. In today’s competitive marketplace, McDonald knew Popular Bank would lose their competitive edge and stunt their growth if they did not optimize processes to better serve their clients. 

Popular Bank is headquartered in Puerto Rico, and has more than 50 branch locations throughout New York, New Jersey, and South Florida. Throughout the Bank’s 120 year history it has maintained a solid reputation, and its client-centered dedication led McDonald to seek a solution that would help the Bank operate more efficiently. 

The need to optimize CRE lending strategies

Prior to onboarding Collateral360®, Popular Bank’s process slowed down deals, created inefficiencies, and left the Bank vulnerable to errors. “When I got here and reviewed the processes in place, I knew right away that I couldn’t go back to the outdated methods of going back and forth between Excel spreadsheets, Word documents, and email,” McDonald said. “All three of them don’t talk to one another and mistakes are too often made.”

McDonald had evaluated Collateral360® just prior to joining Popular Bank, and was ready to start onboarding the platform soon after he arrived. John Incandela, SVP, Head of Credit Risk for the U.S., gave the final approval for adopting Collateral360®, recognizing the need to advance their processes using new technology. 

Collateral360® is a single platform that allows financial institutions to streamline their many moving parts and gain instant access to accurate data. Banks using Collateral360® are able to manage all property due diligence from a single dashboard, including appraisal procurement, environmental investigations, collateral site inspections, tax monitoring, and more. As a web-based application, Collateral360® also helps lenders better manage key processes, risk, compliance, and ensures that each loan is managed to credit and risk policy. 

After deciding to use Collateral360®, McDonald’s team found onboarding to be quick and easy. “Our onboarding specialist was absolutely brilliant,” McDonald said. “Never before in my experience with implementing technology have we been able to get completely up and running in under six months. We were able to do it in basically 60 days after purchase. She trained over 50 people, we set up approximately six training sessions, and we started using it in late September or October 2015. And we closed our first loan before year-end.” 

The results: More deals in less time

Before implementing Collateral360®, Popular Bank averaged 40-50 deals per month. Once Collateral360® was fully integrated into the Bank’s operating system, the Bank started averaging the equivalent of 75 deals per month. In fact, the Bank was making more deals without having to add additional staff. McDonald says that the increased efficiency resulting from using Collateral360® directly translates to the Bank’s increased output. 

“The way I measure it is, if all of the account officers weren’t doing the inputs into the system and they were sending me emails, then I’d have to take those emails, copy and paste, send it to the appraisers, and then get the email back,” he said. “Then we’d go through the whole appraisal process and then do it all over again with all the reviewers. “For us, that’s probably 50-75% of time savings, and we’ve probably saved hiring at least two full-time employees.” 

Adopting Collateral360® has also allowed Popular Bank to better address other issues — such as the environmental and engineering requirements of a transaction. “Popular Bank’s Corporate Credit Risk Department is very proactive on technology and, with Collateral360® in here now, we see it as a very effective tool,” McDonald said. “In our industry, we must constantly reinvent ourselves and we need to leverage whatever automation we can, and EDR®/LightBox is constantly trying to figure out how best to serve the appraisal community.”

Here’s how Collateral360® can help your financial institution

Many financial institutions trust and rely on Collateral360® to optimize their processes, help teams save time, and make more deals — all from a single user-friendly platform. 

Click here to learn more about how Collateral360® helped Popular Bank get ahead of the competition. 

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