A discovery process during a core conversion uncovered the ability of Northwest Federal Credit Union to enhance its online mortgage servicing capability, resulting in a nearly 50% increased user rate.

In an effort to abandon certain traditional paper-based mortgage loan servicing practices, the $2.6 billion-asset Northwest looked for additional functionality through online channels. The credit union was determined that managing mortgage loans via the web could significantly enhance service to the CU's 169,000 members while reducing expenses.

"We were seeking a solution to our online system for first mortgage servicing which, at the time, provided limited visibility and functionality for our members," said Northwest FCU's Assistant Vice President Loan Servicing Jennifer Kostelnik.

In 2013, Northwest FCU adopted Financial Industry Computer Systems Inc.'s Mortgage Servicer and Commercial Servicer platforms. The goal was to implement FICS' online solution, eStatus and LoanStat, in early 2014. "The single sign-on interface that eStatus has within our online banking system has been a big selling point for our members," said Kostelnik.

Susan Graham, FICS' president and chief operating officer, explained that eStatus provides members with access to all of their mortgage information, including a 24-month history as well as statements and tax documents.

"At the beginning of the implementation project, Northwest enlisted the commitment of the departments at the credit union they deemed were crucial to their success," said Graham. "Their team's commitment and organization of the project not only resulted in early implementation but also high usage by their members soon after offering the solution."

Kostelnik said that since going live in March, the CU's loan servicing department has done "a tremendous job" in selling eStatus with every member contact. Within the first three months of launching eStatus, for instance, Northwest FCU registered 3,163 users, which represents a 47% usage rate.

To achieve these maximized results, the CU developed a support team comprised of employees from all impacted departments, which included mortgage loan servicing, marketing, training and IT.

"We had weekly meetings to go over action items and stuck to the timeline," said Kostelnik. "This project was well-organized and the communication between the departments worked so well that we were able to implement eStatus two weeks ahead of schedule."

 

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