This blog post is part of a series of publications on fintechs and mortgage lenders that Reggora has developed in collaboration with a number of premier industry thought leaders. Download the Mortgage Lender’s Guide to Working with Fintechs for free here.
Although partnering with fintechs is a multistep process, the overall journey can be divided into two larger buckets: discovery and adoption. As discussed in previous blogs, the discovery phase involves learning about your own institutional pain points, finding the right fintech to address your challenges, and conducting thorough due diligence and compliance. The second phase, adoption, takes place once you have agreed upon contractual terms with a fintech and are ready to integrate the solution into your institution’s workflows. Adoption has a variety of different aspects to it including technology implementation, user training, thorough testing, and, eventually, evaluation and modification.
Concerns about a fragmented implementation and adoption experience can be a major deterrent for lenders initially interested in pursuing fintech partnerships. If your implementation is rocky or your organization fails to adopt and use the fintech solution, then the rest of the process risks being in vain. As a result, it is important to prioritize a clear implementation strategy from the get go. This involves a comprehensive project management framework that includes a realistic timeline, involves all stakeholders, and accounts for delays due to testing.
An elaborate timetable for implementation, key delivery dates, and a checklist of all the required documentation and deliverables are all musts for a successful implementation.
Additionally, it is essential to assign project managers to oversee individual aspects of the implementation. This gives the fintech a clear point person to communicate with and ensures that you maintain internal accountability. Moreover, developing a comprehensive training program, asking the fintech what ongoing support looks like, and asking if there are pre-existing FAQs or training manuals can be highly advantageous.
Organization-wide buy-in is critical to a successful adoption strategy. While tech investments are typically made at the top, the impact of these changes can often be felt to a greater degree further down the chain. Sherry Graziano, senior vice president of mortgage omni experience at Truist, recommends lenders “bring all of [their] internal stakeholders along for the journey so that they are aligned on the adoption strategy from the very beginning.” If your entire organization remains invested in the product during the time between when the technology is announced and when it is deployed, there is a higher likelihood that the team will stay motivated and determined to make the project work.
Testing, Testing, Testing
Once a fintech solution is implemented and integrated, it is important to undergo extensive testing of the product in a user accepted environment. Christy Soukhamneut, senior vice president chief of staff and director of mortgage strategic initiatives at Flagstar Bank, advises lenders to pursue “a component approach, which allows you to test-deploy-test in increments, so that you can control risk.” The length of this process can vary depending on the scale of implementation, but should always progress into a soft launch where the software is tested in a real world environment.
After your implementation is complete, you must look back and analyze the effectiveness of your fintech solution. Jason Sorochinsky, vice president of mortgage lending at Digital Federal Credit Union, explains, “best practices show that organizations should perform an evaluation of its performance once new technology is installed and deployed onto a live production environment. There may be actual problems (not discovered during testing) with the way the technology works, or there may be perceived problems by some end users.”
When evaluating results, the success of the project should be quantifiable in some way. When conducting this analysis, you should look at predefined key performance indicators that were identified at the outset. In other words, you should carefully track whether and to what degree the solution actually solved the initial problems/priorities that were outlined.
In the event that the fintech has not paid the dividends you expected, don’t immediately give up. A major advantage of working with fintechs is that almost all are dedicated to ensuring that every partnership is an unmitigated success and, as a result, most fintechs are able to quickly adjust their product to meet your specific needs.
In sum, it’s critical to carefully document what is working and not working as well as determine where pain points still exist after implementation is completed. Then, you should share that information with your fintech partner so that they can quickly make the necessary adjustments.
Want to read and hear more insights from industry thought leaders? Download the complete Mortgage Lender’s Guide to Working with Fintechs (it’s free!)
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