CIOs have a unique perspective on a financial institution’s technology investments. Operations and sales managers evaluate the impact a new tool might have on efficiency, cost savings or ease of use. The CIO and CTO, on the other hand, also need to ensure that the software works, is secure and can grow with the bank or lending institution.
When it comes to loan document preparation software, there are some specific areas every CIO is concerned with. Regardless of a specific institution’s needs, any loan document software should be able to answer four key questions:
1. Is it secure? Cybercrime is one of the biggest threats facing financial institutions today, and loan documents handle sensitive personal consumer data. One of the most important questions CIOs will ask is how the software ensures data security.
2. Is it available? No matter how slick a user interface is, if the system crashes on the 30th of each month or is always down because of latency issues, the software is useless to a lender. CIOs will always investigate how a vendor sets up redundancy servers, prepares for disaster recovery and manages system performance and disk utilization.
3. Is it scalable? Any technology investment is a long-term commitment, and loan document software must be able to grow with the bank’s growth.
4. Does it integrate with our system of record? This is typically a pretty straight-forward answer, but any new document software should be able to communicate with loan databases to ensure a smooth user experience.
The answers to those four questions are usually enough to get a solid loan document preparation system, but there are three more questions every CIO should be asking to ensure that their institution has the best solution possible.
1. How does the vendor handle change management? Software capabilities change at a rapid pace. In less than a decade, consumers have gone from experimenting with online banking to embracing mobile banking. Likewise, in a lending operation, the environment is always changing. CIOs need to understand how their partners implement Q&A for new features, keep up with changing tech requirements and needs and control change to ensure quality of service in the future.
2. Can you fix it? Sometimes things just don’t work the way you expect. If something goes wrong, does the vendor have the tools and processes to diagnose, debug and solve a situation? This is more than just customer support for questions on how to use the software, and vendors committed to long-term success have staff who can solve database errors or work through integration hiccups.
3. Do you improve data integrity? Any loan document system will need to communicate with a database and system or record. It may be loan origination software or a bank’s core banking platform, but the software needs to be able to securely pull loan data, build the appropriate documents and push the updated data back to the system of record. This closed-loop approach prevents staff from physically entering data multiple times, which reduces the errors and mistakes that are more likely when relying on manual entry.
By understanding how document providers are able to answer these questions, CIOs can help the management team select a product that not only helps the financial institution save time or money, but also select a product that will provide a secure, stable tool for years to come.