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Credit Unions: How to Use Data to Streamline Better Lending Decisions

October 30, 2018  //  BY Team DataTree

When a consumer needs a mortgage loan, they visit your credit union or use your app. They talk to a mortgage loan officer on Thursday. By Friday, they have a pre-approval letter for a loan. By Saturday, they’re meeting with a realtor; and by Sunday, their home offer has been approved. They walk away from the experience very happy with your credit union and eager to refer you to other customers.

This is the kind of no-wait, no-hassle experience that wins credit unions customers, referrals and a growing reputation. Unfortunately, credit union customers don’t always enjoy such fast turnaround on their applications. The process of checking an applicant’s employment, credit and equity can take time and slow down the application process, leaving customers anxious. Trying to speed up the process can expose credit unions to high risks. Fortunately, it’s now possible to get instant access to personal and property data in order to expedite the application process while minimizing risk to credit unions.

Find Applicant Information Fast with an Instant Assessor’s Parcel Number Search

One way to accelerate the loan application process is by making it possible to instantly search verify applicant information using their current property’s assessor’s parcel number. According to Pocket Sense, an assessor’s parcel number (APN) is a unique identifying number assigned to each parcel of real estate by the tax assessor of the governing taxing authority where the property is located, typically the city or county assessor. It can also go by other names such as the assessor’s identification number (AIN), property identification number (PIN), property identification (PID), property account number, sidwell number and tax account number. Assessors and other professionals such as members of the oil and gas industry rely on APN numbers to look up property records.

You can manually locate the records associated with an APN by requesting a property profile from the local title company, or by going to the county recorder. DataTree simplifies this process for you by letting you simply enter the APN in order to instantly pull up the relevant records. This reduces much of the upfront work associated with processing a credit union loan application.

After using an APN to obtain an applicant’s property records, you should do due diligence by verifying that the information in the records is correct. Older deeds may not reflect reconveyance transfers, and tax and mechanics liens may also still appear listed. Any questions that arise from reviewing property records should be referred to the appropriate real estate broker, title company agent or attorney. This due diligence helps ensure accuracy, and it can also help keep you from being accused of violating the Equal Credit Opportunity Act, which requires you to be able to demonstrate that you aren’t turning down loans based on factors such as gender or race.

Use Property-centric Information to Streamline the Applicant Review Process

In conjunction with APN searches, there are other services that empower you to quickly retrieve key information you need in order to review and evaluate client loan applications. These include:

  • Property details: One challenge for lenders is screening applications for tax liens and civil judgments, which can delay and disrupt the mortgage loan approval process, especially when they surface late in the process. This challenge got tougher recently when credit reporting agencies removed tax liens from consumer credit reports in April 2018, according to Experian. Lenders who previously used credit reports to find information and liens and judgments now need to rely on other sources. While it may be tempting to rely on title searches, which do generally provide lien information, data on civil judgments is not always available from this source.
  • Automated valuation model (AVM) estimates: Since the 1990s, automated valuation models have become a popular way for realtors to generate leads, leading to widespread use by consumers and lenders as well. By using mathematical modeling to analyze variables relevant to property value, AVMs provide a simplified way to make rough estimates of property values. AVM services provide a quick way for lenders to get a sense of a property’s market worth.
  • Transaction history: Bank transaction history is another important set of data for evaluating credit applications. Frequent overdrafts, suspiciously large lump-sum deposits or regular payments to individuals that resemble undisclosed loans are potential red flags.

By making it easy for you to instantly obtain property-centric information, DataTree allows you to review applications more quickly and more accurately, so that you can provide applicants with better service and a more satisfying experience.

In a growing and increasingly crowded lending market, providing faster service can help you stand out from competitors. DataTree’s services provide you with the resources you need to deliver an expedited review process while still ensuring that application information is accurate and applicants are creditworthy. To learn more about how DataTree’s products can help you deliver better service to your customers, visit our Credit Union Solutions page.



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