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Online Mortgages: Improving Efficiency

NBKC increased volume and customer satisfaction with direct-to-consumer model.

By Rajesh Bhat

NBKC Bank had an online mortgage experience problem. While borrowers were offered a digital mortgage application, it wasn’t a complete solution. Furthermore, the system had so many drawbacks that it created more headaches than it solved – the opposite goal of an online experience. It was clear that something needed to change for the Overland Park, Kan.-Based bank.

The Problem

The bank, with $600 million in assets and five branches in the Kansas City area, offered an online mortgage application that, in the words of Dan Stevens, mortgage strategy vice president, “looked ancient and was less than reliable.” From a consumer-experience perspective, the archaic user interface was bad enough. Compounding the problem, however, was that the application wasn’t complete. After a consumer submitted an application, a loan officer would be assigned, who would then call the prospective borrower to complete the rest of the application in NBKC’s loan origination system. Even worse, the application was so unreliable that sometimes the loan officer wouldn’t receive the application at all.

“We often heard from borrowers that they completed it,” Stevens recounts, “but we didn’t always receive it.” It all added up to a lot of wasted time, for both consumers and NBKC’s loan officers. Since the application couldn’t be trusted to convey information, loan officers often had to ask borrowers the same questions over the phone that the borrower had already answered in the application. Frustrated, borrowers often abandoned the process entirely. Even for borrowers who persevered, the system was beset with technical issues that sometimes prevented them from signing in at all. NBKC recognized that this was a serious problem. “We knew that if we wanted to continue to be a leader in our online direct-to-consumer model,” Stevens explains, “we needed to step up our game in the application process.”

The Solution

NBKC chose Roostify shortly after a demonstration of the user and loan officer experiences. Says Stevens, “We were blown away by the style and the intuitive workflow that up until that point we have never seen in the mortgage space.” The bank was offered a highly usable consumer-facing application with a completely online experience. Potential borrowers could fill out a mortgage application in as little as 20 minutes, generating a complete 1003 with no need for a phone call or other action by the loan officer. Since the solution could be white-labeled, consumers applied for home loans as part of a branded NBKC online experience, emphasizing the bank’s leadership in the online arena. The solution offered improvement for loan officers as well as the customers.

“Roostify solved problems we didn’t even know we had at the time,” reveals Stevens. One of the biggest selling points for the bank in 2014 was the creation of a customized required document list. Not every loan application requires the same documents, Stevens points out, so being able to match the borrower’s personal situation with the desired loan program and providing this information without needing to ever talk to a loan officer was an outstanding workflow upgrade, he notes. Following a process that included vetting Roostify’s security process, getting feedback from loan officers, considering the overall cost/benefit and the company’s potential as a long-term partner, NBKC signed on as a customer in the second half of 2014.

The Results

According to Stevens, loan officers quickly adopted the new solution as their primary tool for taking an application. The new process was streamlined when further and deeper integration with the bank’s LOS was added: “Our internal ease of use got even better with documents automatically uploading (into NBKC’s LOS) without any manual loan officer intervention.” With help from the more efficient workflows, loan officer workload capacity increased to the highest levels NBKC had ever seen. Integration of the program was finished by the end of 2014. During that year the bank averaged 6.2 loans per loan officer per month. In 2015 that average rose to 8.9 loans per loan officer per month, and in 2016 it rose again to 12.2 – an increase of nearly 100 percent from 2014. Unlike the days of the unreliable old application system, NBKC now boasts an extremely high application percentage. Even better, this improvement was achieved without imposing a burden on the loan officers.

Notes Stevens, “the system works for us to nudge borrowers to finish the app, and the app itself isn’t intimidating like other competitors out there that we used in the past.” Since the previous solution didn’t provide any measurement, there’s no exact data on how much things have changed – but it’s clear customers are having a better experience. NBKC no longer receives regular customer complaints about the online process, or that online applications have vanished. Stevens explains that “coming to us from the Internet, [consumers] expect us to be super-efficient and on top of our game at all times.” Expectations are super high, he adds, and lack of complaints and an extremely high usage and completion rate show us that the program is well received by borrowers. Overall, Stevens feels the investment has been well worth it. “We’ve worked closely with the Roostify team for over two years now, and are pleased every day to have this important part of our business humming. We continue to push the boundaries with automation and integration with all of our software.”

  Rajesh Bhat is CEO and co-founder of Roostify. For more information, visit (a href=”” target=”_blank>    

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