ONTARIO, Calif.—CU Direct has introduced a new offering, Advisory Services, that offers a broad-range of services from professional analysis and risk assessments to education.
The Advisory Services’ core disciplines are:
- Lending Optimization Review, which assesses single processes, lending programs, and a CU’s entire lending organization.
- Portfolio Risk & Profitability Analysis, detailing portfolio performance, benchmarked data, profitability and current credit risk at product levels.
- Fair Lending Analysis, which tests loan application data to search for disparate impacts to applicants in protected classes.
- Lending Academies that provide credit union training and certification on collecting, analyzing and managing key data to help improve lending and member revenue.
CU Direct, which provides lending, automotive and strategic solutions and is best-known for facilitating indirect lending opportunities for credit unions, said the goal of the new Advisory Services offering is to help CUs maximize both lending and efficiencies.
CEO Tony Boutelle told CUToday.info that part of the goal with Advisory Services is to ensure credit union clients are using the company’s “sophisticated” software to its fullest extent, as well as understanding all of the data that is being generated.
“We want to make sure that they are optimizing the lending platform,” said Boutelle. “We want to help them to make better decisions.”
Boutelle said the new initiative is able to provide credit unions with some specific recommendations related to pricing, process improvements and risk management. That includes not just the credit union-facing side of the software, but some of the auto dealer-facing side, as well, said Boutelle.
The Advisory Services solution is being headed up by Michael Cochrum, executive lending advisor at CU Direct.
“We are really not trying to be a general consulting firm,” said Boutelle. “But we do want to help credit unions better use it.”
A typical challenge, said Boutelle, is that the “guy who turned on all the bells and whistles” with the CU Direct platform is no longer with the credit union, and current staff is unfamiliar with the full range of functionality.
While there are some marketing-related aspects that the new service addresses, Boutelle said one area of focus will be around turnaround time and better decisions.
“Credit unions are good at saying ‘yes’ to a loan, but not as good at saying ‘yes’ fast,” said Boutelle. “And it isn’t just about saying ‘yes’ faster, it’s about making an intelligent decision faster. But that also means being able to say ‘no’ faster, too.”
Boutelle said that during 2014 12% of credit unions on its platform were able to provide an automated yes or no decision on applications; the rest went for human review. He said CU Direct’s Advisory Council members have all reported they process loan decisions differently. The goal is to bring some uniformity and efficiency to the process for all.
During 2014 CU Direct was involved in more than one-million loan decisions representing $22 billion in loan volume by credit unions. Boutelle said the company is on pace to exceed that volume in 2015. The average FICO on new car loan apps was 727 on its platform, 706 oin used cars.
“Those are pretty strong scores,” he added. “So credit unions are not taking a lot of risk here.”
For more info: www.cudirect.com.