February 10, 2004

This year, banks are looking forward to a faster application process, with the help of better-integrated systems.

"We're seeing a lot of initiatives to really upgrade the application process," says Jim Gahagan, vice president and global industry executive, financial services, PeopleSoft. (Pleasanton, Calif.) "It's streamlining the number of separate systems that are involved in the entire cycle, so that they can reduce the amount of manual intervention that takes place."

Gahagan says that the lending market is behind in technology, and that banks will not fully reduce costs until systems are streamlined. "When you look at commercial lending, it's probably one of the areas where there are multiple systems and multiple processes in place," says Gahagan. "The capability for cost savings and cost reduction is a result of streamlining the process."

Christina Speh, executive vice president of PCI, says that streamlining systems and bringing back end operations into the application process can speed up loan approval.

"Some of things that they used to do on the back end, in the compliance department, can actually be done while the application is being taken." says Speh. "The technology is there, so that the compliance test can be run on the data as things are being put in the system."