A Banker’s Honest Perspective on Digitizing the Lending Experience

Digital Lending

Digital transformation in lending is essential in today’s tech-enabled world. Borrowers increasingly expect a modern, intuitive, and convenient lending experience – from completing a loan application to receiving a decision on the approval status of their application. At the same time, financial institution team members expect easy-to-use technology that supports more efficient lending workflows – from loan origination to portfolio monitoring.

That’s why there is no better time than now for community banks to partner with a technology provider to deliver a digital lending experience that meets the expectations of both the bank’s team members and customers.

Home Bank is one example of an institution that has modernized its approach to lending, specifically for small business and commercial loans.

Founded in 1908 as Home Building & Loan, Home Bank is the oldest financial institution in Lafayette, Louisiana and has revamped its lending processes with Baker Hill NextGen®, resulting in significant efficiency gains and a better borrower experience.

Our team recently spoke with Barry Burns, the Vice President of Business Systems & Process Manager at Home Bank, about their partnership with Baker Hill and what’s next for the bank.

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and your role at Home Bank?

My name is Barry Burns, I work for Home Bank, which is based in Louisiana, and I am the Vice President of Business Systems and Process Manager. I'm responsible for the implementation, configuration, and administration of the Baker Hill systems that we use.

What are your goals with Baker Hill NextGen® and what problems were you looking to solve?

For Home Bank, our goals are really to improve the experience of serving our customers. Wherever the Baker Hill NextGen® platform can help us, my goal is to make those benefits a reality.

Our original adoption of Baker Hill in general was to automate our lending processes, which involved finding opportunities to drive efficiencies, reduce duplication of efforts and reduce the risk of errors.

As Home Bank evolved, we upgraded to Baker Hill NextGen® to incorporate some additional features and functionalities, specifically for our commercial loan portfolio. Historically, Home Bank underwrote all business loans similarly to commercial loans, resulting in a tedious process for small business owners. The decision to shift to Baker Hill NextGen® Business Loan Origination was driven by a desire to serve our small business customers more efficiently while offering the industry’s best resources for portfolio management. With Baker Hill NextGen®, Home Bank is able to automate, integrate and streamline our commercial lending processes, allowing small and medium-sized businesses to increase productivity while minimizing risk.

Today, Home Bank also leverages Baker Hill for customer relationship management with the Baker Hill NextGen® Banker Application. Our team will use the Banker Application to further enhance the experience for our end users. The application will empower each of our team members with a convenient digital tool to assist customers with loan applications.

Is that what you’re most excited about with the Baker Hill NextGen® Banker Application?

Oh, absolutely. Baker Hill NextGen® is such a fully capable, flexible, and powerful platform that it can create a little bit of anxiety for some of our end users, especially in the retail space. We’re excited about the Baker Hill NextGen® Banker Application because it simplifies that experience for them and can create a sense of empowerment for them so that they feel comfortable serving a customer, and that's going to be a huge win.

Why do you continue to partner with Baker Hill over other options in the market?

We have had great experiences with them, both as an institution and some of our employees at Home Bank that have worked with Baker Hill in the past. There’s a comfort level with the experience that Baker Hill brings to this market.

What would you tell other people who are considering partnering with Baker Hill?

Home Bank’s experience has been positive. Even when we've faced challenges, we've worked through them together, whether it’s day-to-day businesses challenges that need to be resolved or bigger, more urgent economic challenges, such as rolling out the Paycheck Protection Program. Baker Hill has consistently pivoted very well and helped us deliver solutions that meet our customers’ needs.

What has it been like working with the Baker Hill team?

It’s been a positive experience and we've worked with a variety of people. With every engagement you have different personalities, but by and large we've worked with great team members here.

Today, we're on-site here at Baker Hill, and that has been a great experience for us to accelerate a lot of the project work we're trying to do. The openness to doing things like that, I think is something that we appreciate.

What has stuck out to you the most about working with the Baker Hill team and the solution?

I'm appreciative of the open-mindedness that Baker Hill brings to the table, something I'm seeing even more of recently. Baker Hill’s desire to be aware of challenges that their clients experience is apparent and they do a great job of using that intel to inform their product roadmap.

While this has always been done, I think this approach is more prevalent now than ever before. Our team at Home Bank sees it making a difference, so we appreciate it.

What do you want to accomplish next with Baker Hill NextGen®?

Home Bank is committed to the relationship with Baker Hill and the NextGen® platform. We’re on a journey and this year we're focused on completing our journey to migrate to Baker Hill NextGen®, as well as implementing the Banker Application.

Over the next few years, we're going to use Baker Hill for portfolio risk monitoring and we hope to increase our utilization of Baker Hill’s CRM capabilities, potentially for pricing and profitability. I'm sure there will be other useful features and product enhancements that we'll adopt. We're in this relationship for the long haul.

Fulfilling the Needs of Customers

Home Bank’s relationship with Baker Hill is just one success story of many and serves as an example of what a true partnership should look like. After working with Home Bank for several years, Baker Hill continues to uncover new opportunities to generate growth, reduce risk and improve productivity for the bank while fostering a better experience for borrowers.  

For additional resources and to learn more about what Baker Hill NextGen® can do for your financial institution, visit Baker Hill’s resource page.

Topics: digital lending