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How to bridge the digital connectivity gap in lending

27 Jul 2023
featured image how to bridge the digital connectivity gap in lending

The lending world has undergone a profound digital transformation in a market – and era – defined by rapid technological advancement. Digital connectivity is redefining the dynamics between borrowers and lenders, changing borrowers’ expectations and challenging financial institutions to redefine their approach. 

In a 2023 executive survey of the banking and lending sector, approximately 90% of respondents said they believe the ability to rapidly scale automated processes when customer inquiries rise – without increasing fixed costs – will be critical to their success over the next three years.

However, 81% of surveyed banks and lenders say there is an investment gap in developing their ability to deploy new automation as customer and business needs change.

By combining AI and advanced analytics with human expertise, financial institutions can bridge the digital connectivity gap in lending and transform how they assess creditworthiness, streamline loan origination processes and provide personalized financial solutions to borrowers.

Understanding the digital connectivity gap in lending

As the world steadily embraces digital transformation, the digital connectivity gap in lending has become a challenge for lenders.  

Referring to the disparity between the technological capabilities offered by lenders and borrowers’ expectations regarding digital services, capabilities, technologies and overall connectivity, this gap poses issues for lenders and borrowers alike. 

Without the convenience of online applications and digital documentation, the loan application process becomes challenging and time-consuming, disproportionately affecting individuals with limited access to physical branches or those residing in remote areas. This could restrict borrowers’ access to convenient and efficient lending solutions like online loan applications, digital document submission and real-time updates on their loan status. 

At the same time, lenders need help expanding their customer base and reducing costs without embracing digital solutions. Ultimately, failing to adapt to the digital lending landscape weakens a lender’s competitive edge and hinders their ability to cater to diverse customer segments effectively.

Identifying the challenges

The digital connectivity gap in lending is a growing challenge for financial institutions as they strive to meet the evolving expectations of borrowers in an increasingly digital world. This gap can be attributed to several key factors, including:

  • Incomplete digital transformation: Many financial institutions may have embarked on their digital transformation journey but have yet to embrace the necessary technological advancements fully. This incomplete transformation can result in disjointed digital services and a need for integrated platforms for end-to-end lending processes.
  • Siloed processes: Integrating various digital technologies and platforms can be complex, especially when connecting different systems, databases and third-party services. Inconsistent data formats, interoperability issues and compatibility challenges can hinder the seamless flow of information across the lending ecosystem.
  • Outdated technology stack: Some financial institutions still rely on outdated technology infrastructure that hampers their ability to provide seamless digital services. Legacy systems and infrastructure may not support modern connectivity requirements, making it challenging to deliver the speed, convenience and accessibility that borrowers expect.

Addressing these challenges and bridging the digital connectivity gap in lending is crucial for financial institutions to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of borrowers. By overcoming these obstacles, financial institutions can pave the way for a more connected, streamlined, customer-centric lending experience.

Strategies to bridge the digital connectivity gap

Lenders and financial institutions have numerous front-end and back-end opportunities to bridge the digital connectivity gap by enhancing the borrower experience, providing seamless digital services, integrating technologies and optimizing internal processes.

For example, by developing mobile-first lending solutions, lenders can utilize the widespread penetration of mobile technology to reach borrowers who primarily access the internet through their smartphones. 

Digital document submission and verification can simplify the document collection process for borrowers and lenders alike, leveraging advanced technologies like optical character recognition (OCR) and human-in-the-loop (HiTL) AI-driven solutions to automate document verification and analysis and reduce manual efforts.

Of course, ensuring data privacy and security is paramount in digital lending at every touchpoint. Financial institutions must implement robust cybersecurity measures and data protection protocols to safeguard borrowers’ sensitive information and ensure there are no gaps in their current process.

Overcoming implementation challenges

Addressing budgetary constraints and smart resource allocation is essential for financial institutions looking to bridge the digital connectivity gap in lending. Allocating funds strategically toward digital infrastructure upgrades and investing in technology can yield long-term benefits.

Financial institutions should forge partnerships with technology providers to speed up the digital transformation in lending. Working with fintech companies offers access to innovative lending platforms, advanced data analytics and AI-powered solutions. These partnerships enable financial institutions to tap into cutting-edge technologies without incurring large development costs.

Finally, empowered employees play a pivotal role in maximizing the benefits of digital connectivity in lending and delivering exceptional customer experiences. Investing in the training and upskilling of employees is a crucial step for successful digital integration. Offering continuous training programs, workshops and certifications ensures employees are confident in using technology, mitigating resistance to change and fostering a culture of digital innovation within the organization.

Case study: collaborating to bridge the gap in data collection

Founded to revolutionize data sharing and improve financial service experiences, Flinks is a prime example of how businesses can bridge the gaps in data collection by utilizing AI-powered document automation.

Flinks revolutionizes data collection by capturing and normalizing customers’ financial data through various channels, including PDF bank statements, APIs and both user- and broker-supplied sources. This comprehensive approach provides businesses with a streamlined and enriched view of banking information.

By partnering with Ocrolus, Flinks developed Upload, a comprehensive solution that allows financial service providers to capture nearly all banking data from customers, irrespective of the bank, data source or document format. This feature eliminates the need for customers to share their bank account credentials, reducing end-user drop-offs and boosting conversion rates.

With Upload, financial service providers can significantly enhance customer service and expedite access to desired financial services. By eliminating the discomfort of bank account linking, users can effortlessly upload bank statements, ensuring a frictionless experience that empowers customers and fosters stronger relationships with financial services providers.

The digital connectivity gap in lending presents both challenges and opportunities for financial institutions. But by recognizing and addressing the factors contributing to this gap, such as incomplete digital transformation, siloed processes and outdated technology stacks, lenders can bridge the divide and transform their lending operations.

By embracing digital transformation, integrating technologies and optimizing processes, lenders can create a more connected, streamlined and customer-centric lending experience that empowers borrowers and drives growth in the digital age.

Book a demo to learn how Ocrolus can help you bridge the digital connectivity gap.

Key takeaways
  • Financial institutions face a digital connectivity gap in lending, with challenges arising from incomplete digital transformation, siloed processes and outdated technology stacks.
  • To bridge this gap, lenders can enhance the borrower experience through mobile-first lending solutions, leverage advanced technologies like AI-driven document automation and analytics and prioritize data privacy and security.
  • Successful implementation of digital solutions requires financial institutions to focus on smart resource allocation, invest in forming strategic partnerships with fintech providers and empower their employees through training and upskilling to cultivate a culture of digital innovation.