Of the many areas where technology has affected the lending business, probably the most obvious is in how customers expect to interact with their lender. This is true at every step: from how prospective borrowers gather information and shop for credit products, through the application and closing process, to making payments and dealing with any issues that arise during the life of the loan.
In the software vernacular, the space where customers engage with a product or business is called the user interface, or “UI,” while the similar term “UX” (for “user experience”) is generally used to refer to the “customer journey” more broadly. For example, in the lending world, an online loan application would be a form of UI, while UX might also encompass how product information is made available to the applicant, how and how quickly the application is responded to, how an offer (or decline) is presented, whether and how the applicant might be steered to more suitable products, and how the closing process is handled.
As touched on in the introductory piece of this series, all of these things can contribute significantly to the health and profitability of a lending business, affecting conversion rates, customer satisfaction, and the efficiency of your application and origination process. These in turn drive borrower acquisition costs, customer retention and referral rates, borrower quality, and overall measures of business health like return on assets and equity.
In this piece we’ll look at what has changed in how market leaders in small business lending think about UI and UX before laying out a framework for approaching these questions in your own business and evaluating results.