Farm Credit Illinois, a farmer-owned and directed agricultural lending cooperative, was modernizing its lending process. Before the institution invested in new loan origination technology, it wanted to identify and make key process and operational improvements that will prepare it to realize maximum benefit once the technology is in place. That’s why it turned to West Monroe.
Even before beginning implementation of the nCino loan origination platform, Farm Credit Illinois has seen measurable impact.
reduction in overlapping, redundant, and duplicative tasks
reduction in the number of tasks assigned through a RACI by providing role clarity
faster loan cycle time for sales support personnel by realigning roles and tasks
As a pre-requisite to technology modernization, Farm Credit Illinois asked West Monroe to review its operations and identify improvement areas. Bottlenecks within the underwriting and loan processing stages of the credit origination process caused delays and affected member experience. The association knew that by correcting these issues upfront, it could realize greater value from its new technology. And it knew we had the right combination of industry and organizational design expertise for this challenge.
We reviewed roles and responsibilities across the lending process, identifying 15 discrete process enhancements. Farm Credit Illinois asked us to assist with addressing two of the most important: standardizing roles and responsibilities across the organization, and designing the optimal organizational structure.
Our multidisciplinary approach enabled us to look at the problem from various angles. We paired our unique transformation experience in the agricultural lending and farm credit sector with human capital and organizational change management expertise—including direct experience designing and implementing role and responsibility changes for other lending organizations.
We didn’t just give best practices. We used data and analytics to provide fact-based recommendations—balancing quantitative and qualitative analyses to tailor the solution to the association’s operations. The quantitative analysis focused on operational efficiency. Qualitative analysis helped us balance responsibilities and workload by role to influence both employee experience (e.g., career path progress, timely and positive activity completion rates) and customer experience (e.g., consistent response times).
We collaborated with senior leaders throughout the project to make sure the association had consensus and consistent understanding around process and role changes.
Our work has greatly improved member experience. Reorganizing activities eliminated handoffs that previously caused bottlenecks—reducing queues and improving loan processing speed. It has also increased capacity. Shifting credit and servicing tasks to the central loan operations team allows business development personnel to focus on what they do best: build and expand relationships.
Clarifying responsibilities and simplifying processes has also improved employee experience. Team members can complete tasks faster, making them more successful in their daily roles.
This exercise also equipped Farm Credit Illinois with useful experience and tools such as the RACI matrix that it can use to redefine and realign other groups across its organization.