PHOENIX -- A new entry into the credit union loan-origination system space plans to make its mark with a message of going green and getting social.
Software provider eDominate is now offering a solution it calls LOS Green that combines e-commerce and cross-selling management, automated LOS tools and a communications portal, along with shopping and reporting tools, in a lively mix it hopes will help it break into a crowded marketplace.
"Loan origination systems are a dime a dozen, but I think we've got the vision to expand that buying cycle, to really give credit unions the ability to do targeted advertising within that e-commerce platform and spare more than a few trees in the process," said Mike Einsel, eDominate's vice president of global channel development.
The LOS Green system includes commercial, consumer, indirect, mortgage and international modules.
Einsel said the Arizona company (www.edominate.com) currently has a couple dozen far-flung clients--including those in the Caribbean and on the East Coast --using its solutions, and now is ready to make its move into credit union land. No CUs have been signed, Einsel said, but conversations are under way.
"We're a relatively new company and the past couple years have been spent in development," he said. "We think 2008 is really the time for us to break out. We've grown our sales organization, gotten the infrastructure in place, and really are focused on pushing into the credit union marketplace."
The company said it would try to make its way into the crowded field by differentiating its approach from simple functionality to, as one company manager said, "a marketing-centric view."
That approach began with the name itself. One of the core strengths of an LOS system, besides the efficiencies inherent to automation, is the paper it doesn't use.
eDominate managers said they know that going paperless is a major push for all mortgage and consumer loan systems, and that socially responsible behavior is a major strategic initiative for more and more organizations, and an increasing concern for consumers.
LOS Green aims to use PDF documents and digital storage as much as possible, with an eye toward eliminating even the bundles of documents that still typically end up on a loan officer's desk at a branch sometime in the process, the company said.
Mari Skalbeck, senior product manager at eDominate, said another of the major focuses of the LOS Green product is to prevent "that loss of touchpoints that occurs when the members move online."
She said "we know credit unions are struggling with that and we understood very rapidly what had to happen, that credit unions would need the ability to effectively cross-sell to that member while they're going through that process."
As a result, the company developed what Skalbeck called an intuitive cross-sell approach, "a very powerful way of analyzing information in the background while the member is going through the application process and then identifying and presenting other products in a very attractive and beneficial way for the member."
She described the combination this way: "Basically the eCommerce Manager piece is our front-end project, the LOS is our traditional meat-and-potatoes, and they're rounded out by a management reporting tool we call our eManagement Center."
Meanwhile, the social networking piece is something which often comes up in conversation with prospective customers, and it's a piece eDominate says it will continue to develop.
Right now, that takes the form of e-mail with loan officers built into the platform, along with areas on the Web site that can be linked to local car dealers and real estate agents the CU works closely with, as well as automotive and neighborhood research tools.
"We realize the younger generation likes to be linked with people in an automated fashion, and our product gives them the ability to do that, to really get engaged online," Skalbeck said. "That's the direction we're going to continue trying to work toward."
It's that engagement piece that particularly caught the eye of one former longtime CU lending manager.
"What I like especially is the separate area in this that brings members back to the Web site to exchange e-mail with loan officers and talk about the deal," said Steve O'Mara. O'Mara is a former marketing vice president at $61 million U.S. Employees CU in Chicago and former lending and marketing executive at $539 million Corporate America Family CU in Elgin, Ill. He said he is not working with eDominate but would look at the system as a favor to Einsel, who is an old friend.
"I made a career out of building sales cultures," said O'Mara, a 26-year credit union veteran. "And what I also like about this system is how it makes the same services available to live staff as it does while it's cross selling to members online.
"It just seems to have a lot of good stuff, to use a technical term."