N.B. lender moves to Web-based loan origination

A regional lending organization based in New Brunswick is moving to a Web-based loan origination platform designed to speed up the process of financing car, boat or recreational vehicle purchases.

The Caisses Populaires Acadiennes

said it is mid-way through an implementation that will allow dealers to submit consumer loan applications electronically and track the status of individual deals with the Caisse’s Acadia Financing Center using Curomax’s 360Funding software. Caisse Populaires Acadiennes, based in Caraquet, was founded in 1946 and represents a network of 85 businesses in New Brunswick, with 200,000 members.

Caisses Populaires decided a year ago it needed to stay on top of the competition and integrate its financing operating into some kind of e-commerce solution, said Jocelyn Hackey, a project manager and systems analyst in the organization’s IT department. “(Dealers) were asking, and it was already existing with other financial institutions,” she said. “We had to make sure that we could offer something comparable.”

Mississauga, Ont.-based Curomax developed its Internet-based automotive financing as part of a large indirect automotive leasing organization in the mid 1990s. According to Alan Bird, president of Curomax Canada Inc., the company has done $14 billion worth of business through its platform in the last five years. Current customers include Scotiabank, RBC, TD Canada Trust and HSBC, among others. 

Bird said Web-based loan origination has been a way for lending institutions to move away from the days of getting faxes from dealers, typing data that’s send to a credit rating bureau and waiting for a result.

“We’ve really replaced the fax with real-time dealer exchange,” he said.

Caisses Populaires looked at a number of loan originating platforms, Hachey said, basing its decision on how quickly a request for credit would be treated on 360Funding, as well as its ability to calculate different ratios according to key financing criteria. Traditional processing by phone and fax might have taken up to half an hour, she said, while loans originated in Curomax can be done in a matter of minutes.

“If you compare with the industry, you want to make sure you can get an answer very rapidly,” she said. “Some requests can be answered automatically.”

Dealers don’t pay to use 360Funding, Bird said. Deployment at a lending institution like Caisses Populaires involves integrating back-end systems such as credit adjudication through Curomax, a process he said usually takes between 60 to 90 days. 

“We’ll do initial testing first, and once bugs are out we’ll pilot with five to 10 dealers before the large implementation,” Hachey said. “It will make us more accessible, (dealers) won’t have to fill things out by hand, there will be less paper and we’ll all be on the same system with other financial institutions.”

In January, Curomax moved to a larger address in Mississauga and built a new data centre to accommodate its growing business.

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