Radius Financial Group built its culture around robots and jelly beans
Amid the shift to a purchase-driven origination market, mortgage lenders have had to closely examine their processes to find even the smallest gains that make their scarcest resources — employees — more efficient. Radius Financial Group turned to business intelligence and robotic process automation technologies to streamline workflows and eliminate banal tasks.
The Norwell, Mass.-based lender started by scrutinizing every step in its workflows to identify opportunities for improvement. Then it developed a proprietary bot farm to handle routine tasks that don't require human intervention.
"We spent a lot of time looking at our workflows and in mapping those out, we identified basic tasks that we had incredibly smart staff members doing," said Dustin DeMeritt, Radius' chief marketing officer.
"We identified 15 or 20 different things we could use robotic automation to do. Our team set out to start creating bots to do those things."
The bots have become so ingrained in the Radius culture that they're part of the family — and are treated as such.
"We have north of 25 robots and they all have names and personalities. Our designers have pictures of them on their desk, they consider them their kids," DeMeritt continued. "They've taken on this life of their own. From a marketing standpoint, our charter is to bring them to life. They're living, breathing parts of our culture and that's who we are."
In a commodity-driven industry, there's a multitude of lenders to get mortgages from. Margin compression is also a major challenge for the overall industry and the top challenge for Radius. For a lender to strive and survive, it needs to separate itself from the pack.
The way Radius continues to grow and be efficient is through AI, learning and robotic automation. Keeping operations efficient means streamlined mortgage delivery and lighter costs. When you look at how much time, energy, effort and personal attachment Radius has with its fintech, that's what truly differentiates it.
"We look at compression and wonder how you continue to grow very aggressively," said DeMeritt. "We've been in the business 20 years. We've navigated the financial crisis, we've acquired and had organic growth. We've played by the rules and continued to win, grow and be successful. Because one of our core values is character matters."
The Best Mortgage Companies to Work For survey highlighted that a company is only as good as the people running it.
High employee response rates show they care about their company and vice versa. Receiving company accolades is always nice, but the why is more important.
Building an enthusiastic staff means finding the right people while making sure they're properly valued — which includes their time. Radius does something called Jelly Bean Day. A jar of jelly beans sits in the office, each bean representing a day in an average lifespan. Accompanying the jar is a sign that says, "What are you going to do with your day?"
"Would you read a book, go on a walk, run a marathon, volunteer, hang out with your mom and dad, spouse? Live like you're dying. You're not just coming to work to get a paycheck. Certainly I get that part, but there's more to it than that," DeMeritt said.
Radius wants its employees to think about what's most important to them and what they would do if they had one more day, or in this case, one more bean.