As a collateral services manager at Northwest Bank, I oversee the retail line of business and take care of vendor management, including payment and onboarding. In the old days, we relied on email and spreadsheets to track vendors and requests, a cumbersome and unreliable approach. The system was archaic and disconnected, and it made a lot of my work more difficult than it needed to be. At one point, we were trying to push commercial real estate through our residential platform, and it just didn’t work. We delivered bids in an email format. Tracking those was very difficult. LightBox Collateral360® offers a range of powerful solutions that help us deal with just about any challenge that comes up. It has streamlined our workflow and made our jobs much easier.
A better way to handle bids, proposals, reports and more
LightBox Collateral360® has been a game-changer for us. We started using it in 2013 for environmental pre-screens. A few years later, we learned that it could help us create requests for proposals for services, and we used it to streamline that process. Collateral360® improved overall turn time and proposal creation. With Collateral360® we can procure all our Phase I and Phase II ESA reports. Centralizing that makes it easier for the bank and better for vendors, who get paid on time. We also use it to procure valuation services, which the branches previously handled. With Collateral360® we were able to consolidate that, streamline the process, and improve documentation. Any collateral related service can be procured through bidding or direct award. Our ability to produce and keep track of reports has definitely improved. We have more insight into what’s going on. We can create any kind of report, and it’s easy to find them on the system. Clients have different ideas about what they want to see. I like the fact that you can have multiple services within a report request. You can see everything that’s happened through a request. This historical documentation tool is especially useful when dealing with auditors.
The pandemic increased demand for loans. It was the busiest we’ve been in my 20 years at the bank. We have a retail arm, with a whole separate platform, but we didn’t have the ability to solicit bids—we couldn’t get appraisers to accept our requests. That changed when we began doing bids through Collateral360®. It improved our turn time so much we could quickly get a request out to six or eight appraisers. We cut our turnaround time from receiving a request to assigning it from four days to one. Collateral360® also allows us to keep track of license and insurance documentation across the service providers, in accordance with out internal policies.
We view LightBox as a partner, not just as another vendor. I feel like we’re both working together to succeed. Customer support at LightBox has helped us better understand processes and troubleshoot problems. They’re always ready help, and that means we don’t need a large in-house team to monitor and manage vendors and jobs. We’re saving time and money. Even though we’re not in touch every day, the lines of communication are always open—you can message the team at LightBox anytime if something happens and expect a quick response. I like the fact the Collateral360® reps keep in touch with us and anticipate our needs. LightBox also keeps us well apprised of what’s happening in the industry. I would tell potential users that Collateral360® will streamline a wide variety of processes and make your work easier. I’m amazed that anybody is still doing things the old way. Collateral360® takes away all the pain points in reporting and vendor management. Once we started using it, we never looked back.