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Phil Britt
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Quicker Cash in Hand

TD Banknorth shows customers that speed and lending do mix.

Reducing paperwork is one of the best ways to improve loan efficiency, both reducing costs and processing times. For Portland, Maine-based TD Banknorth ($32.1 billion in assets), electronic document distribution also offered a competitive advantage. Customers prefer to get their money more quickly, contends John Giard, the bank's SVP and consumer administration manager.

TD Banknorth wanted to employ a solution that would help it maintain its community connection by continuing to involve TD Banknorth's extensive branch network, according to Giard. "We have a larger bank, but we are trying to keep a community feel," he explains.

So the bank counts on its 300 branches throughout New England and New York to deliver closing documents to consumer loan customers, though the loan processing is centralized at the bank's direct lending center in Bedford, N.H. Until earlier this year, that process involved sending closing documents via overnight mail to individual branches, which then needed to review the documents to ensure that everything was in order.

The bank's mortgage lending division has relied on eLynx's (Cincinnati) Web Posting Service, which enables the bank to deliver mortgage closing documents to its branches via the Internet, since March 1994. So, in January 2005, the consumer lending division considered the software for its own use. "Because eLynx dramatically improved the loan process for our mortgage division, applying it to our consumer lending division was only logical," Giard says.

The bank did consider other vendor solutions, Giard notes. But, he asserts, eLynx was easier to use and was a better fit with the division's business processes. The mortgage division's strong recommendation also was an important factor, Giard adds. He declines to name the other technology providers.


Snapshot


Institution: TD Banknorth (Portland, Maine).

Assets: $32.1 billion.

Business Challenge: Deliver loan documents electronically to branches.

Solution: Web Posting Service and online document hub from Cincinnati-based eLynx.
It took five weeks to establish the linkages to eLynx's hosted software -- no additional hardware or software was needed. The bank went live with the solution before spring 2005. The application features an intuitive design, Giard relates, so minimal training was required.

Now, rather than sending closing documents via overnight delivery, the Bedford, N.H.-based lending center "prints" documents to the eLynx virtual printer from the bank's loan processing application. The eLynx network server detects the documents, compresses and encrypts them, and posts them via a secure Internet connection to the eLynx document hub, which is housed by the vendor. The hub notifies the appropriate branch banker via a secure e-mail that the documents are ready. Recipients access documents via a secure URL for review and printing.

Faster and More Secure, Too
Though the solution facilitates faster loan closings, TD Banknorth does not cut corners in checking the credit backgrounds of borrowers or ensuring information security, Giard emphasizes. Authentication procedures - document recipients verify their identities with user IDs and password log-ins - actually have improved fraud prevention, he suggests.

According to Giard, TD Banknorth is pleased with the results. "ELynx WPS visibly enhances the loan process for our customers by improving the speed, convenience, cost savings and security of every document transaction, without affecting the way we conduct day-to-day business," he says. Giard figures the savings on document delivery alone runs about $8 per closed loan, which will save TD Banknorth "a few hundred thousand dollars" over the course of a year. But the real benefit is in the time the application saves in delivering the loan documents, he stresses.

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