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Weathering the Storm | Rebuild and Restore

By Kevin Barth 28 Sep 2017

North America has felt the unfortunate wrath of Mother Nature over the past month, and our hearts and prayers go out to all of those impacted by the recent disasters. Beyond the devastation to personal and family lives, there will be significant economic impact felt from Main Street to Wall Street. Whether directly impacted by the recent events or not, though, many financial institutions face an impending challenge of increased loan delinquency rates. Abby Progin, Temenos' Product Evangelism Team Lead, presents a blog detailing the risks - and, more importantly, key steps financial institutions can take to prepare themselves to "weather the storm". 

Following that piece, we'll share a blog and case study from Kris Frantzen, the VP of Product Strategy and Evangelism for the Lifecycle Management Suite. Financial institutions armed with the right systems and processes can apply relatively simple solutions to recognize significant benefit - for staff efficiency and common-sense, personalized account holder relations. You'll see how one customer has put data analytics to practical, meaningful use.

Finally, we'll turn our attention to re-building and moving forward - just as so many people and business have - in the wake of the storms. Temenos is proud of the part we play in providing solutions to Credit Unions and Banks, recognizing those financial institutions play such a significant role in the development of their communities and account holder bases. Product Evangelist Kevin Barth will conclude our blog series with a focus on how financial institutions can best position themselves to provide a helping hand to individuals looking to grow or re-build.


Over the past couple of weeks, the United States and numerous Caribbean islands have been battered with hurricanes and even earthquakes. Massive destruction has taken place throughout many cities, states, and even countries. As I write this, an entire country is without power (Puerto Rico) and will remain so for days and possibly weeks to come. People are scrambling to make sense of it all and ascertain the amount of damage that has hit their house, home, and belongings.


In times like these, after the initial shock has worn off from the devastation, people begin to go into a rebuild and restore mode. Across the country you can see people truly at their best when extreme crisis hits, there is always someone to lend a helping hand or pitch in wherever is needed. It is truly one of the most remarkable traits that people living in the United States possess. Seeing the generous donations flow into the various affected areas to first responders jumping at the chance to help someone pick up the pieces; it is really a sight to behold.


Financial institutions shouldn’t be any different in this regard. Credit unions and banks need to be able to help out with loan modifications or special loan products to help their communities restore some normalcy as quickly as possible. As reported by Reuters on September 6th, the Federal Reserve along with other regulators wrote a memo stating that bankers should work constructively with borrowers in communities affected by these recent natural disasters. They went on further to say that efforts to work with borrowers in communities under stress can be consistent with safe and sound banking practices.


Fortunately, we are already seeing this in action at various financial institutions across the United States.  Bank of America’s charitable foundation not only donated millions of dollars to the various hurricane relief funds but they were proactively contacting consumers and small businesses in disaster areas who are eligible for financial assistance. Another example of this can be found from NeighborWorks Capital, a financial services company who is offering tailored and targeted loan products for those affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.  


Now there are probably countless other examples of financial institutions pitching in to help out and be there for their communities that they serve. But, a bigger questions looms… Just like people having to prepare for these natural disasters when they are approaching… Is your credit union or bank prepared to offer assistance in the form of specialty loan products? More so, does your origination technology allow you to change on the fly or add new products quickly and easily?


First and foremost, does your financial institution have the control to make those changes to ensure you have these specialty loan products available to the community you serve? If you have to rely on your technology vendor to facilitate new product development then, most likely, you will be unable to lend a helping hand when your surrounding community needs it the most. These are the times that are most important to your members and customers to be that trusted partner and facilitate assistance when they attempt to rebuild their livelihood. 


If you do have the control and ability to configure your origination software, can it be done immediately? Credit unions and banks should be ready to offer loans products (similar to NeighborWorks Capital) as soon as these disasters happen, or maybe even have them queued up and ready to go when they see these storms approaching. Hopefully the process to actually create loan products are easily handled by the business unit and reliance on an internal IT department is not necessary, since speed of product creation is of utmost importance during this time.


Finally, does your origination technology allow for automated and quick decisioning? In times of crisis, your members and customers will need access to loan proceeds as quickly as their financial institution can provide. When relying on insurance policies alone, many people are left stranded and look to their credit union or bank to be able to provide them with an immediate decision on the availability of funds needed to start the rebuild and restore process.


These have been some trying times lately… And the recent storms are making life tough for many people across various countries. There has been a lot of selfless people step up to give a hand wherever it has been needed. With being a citizen of the United States, it has been great to see how these communities have come together to help in their greatest time of need. Credit unions and banks should not be any different; it is imperative that financial institutions in those hardest hit areas provide specialty loan products that can help rebuild and restore livelihoods as quickly as possible. Be there for the community, be their trusted advisor, and be able to adjust on the fly to meet their needs. All of which can be made easier with the right technology.  So, prepare now by re-accessing your technology in order to help your community rebuild and restore if/when disaster strikes.

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