The Business sCOOP – Start your business loan online
Donnie Robicheau: Hi, I’m Donnie Robicheau with The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod. Joining me today is my team member Christine Parent. And this is the Business sCOOP. Christine, a few years ago we started working on improving our small business lending process. Before that, we asked for a paper application and full documentation, even a personal financial statement. Can you tell us a little bit about how we’ve evolved and changed that process and improved that process?
Christine Parent: I sure can, Donnie. During the pandemic, we had to act quickly to be able to help our customers with the PPP loans. And after doing so, we realized that we could offer that same streamlined process with our small business products. So, now instead of using a paper application the customers can go right to our website and they can apply online at their convenience. They can come back to the application if they get busy during the day. Once they submit it, they will be assigned a small business specialist who will walk them through the way. They will also get various notifications throughout their process. This has been very successful, and we’ve been getting positive feedback. We’re very happy about it as our goal is to be the bank for small business. And this is one way that we are hoping to achieve that.
Robicheau: That’s great. Yeah, I for one have been super excited about the new process as well, and I love how we continue to improve it literally almost daily. We’re looking at it now that we have this great online portal I do have a question about those clients who still might shy away from technology. What type of options do those individuals who don’t really necessarily want to go to our portal to fill out that application have?
Parent: At this stage, well we still accept paper applications if they’re uncomfortable with the technology aspect, but we do want to ensure everyone that all of our website and document portal that they would be uploading documents to is secure.
Robicheau: An excellent point. It’s super important because of the type of information we’re collecting that we do keep it secure and I love that there’s an option for those who really just aren’t ready to jump into technology. I do know that we will take people through the process even if they’re not so comfortable if they’d like to learn.
Parent: What’s great about the software is if you’re a current customer of ours, we will automatically fill in a lot of the information. So, this makes it really easy for them and all they would have to do, at that point, is verify the information and sign the documents for submission.
Robicheau: You mentioned notifications that the client gets. How do those notifications help them through the process as well in addition to having an assigned small business specialist or relationship manager?
Parent: As soon as they sign a document or complete the application, they get an email notification as well as their small business specialists.
Robicheau: That’s great. So, I know exactly where my client is in the process, so I can actually reach out and help them if they are faced with any sort of challenges.
Robicheau: Christine, with respect to documentation, in the past we used to ask for two to three years of financials both business and personal tax returns. Can you tell me how our streamline program has changed with respect to how much documentation we ask our clients for?
Parent: So, if your application falls within the small business program, then you can upload just one year of your personal and business financial tax returns. A personal financial statement is not required, and it’s all done very easily with our secure portal.
Robicheau: That’s great. I know that’s going to make it a lot easier for a lot of my business clients. Currently we look for a client’s most current tax returns to look at a request to look at a loan request and review. Some clients I know will request an extension because they’re just not ready to file. Can you tell me a little bit about what we do?
Parent: No. 1 are we looking for the most current year of tax returns, and if they are applying for an extension what do we do in those cases if someone has filed an extension we just require a copy of that extension that has been submitted to the IRS. We then will determine our decision based on their most current tax return. In most cases, we will have made that decision on those returns and the extended returns are not required.
Robicheau: That’s great, Christine. It seems to me that if they have filed their current year or they’re on extension, we have the ability to help them and take them through the application process either way. Is that correct?
Parent: That’s correct, Donnie. We don’t want the extension to hold the process up. So, we will streamline and make it efficient for them using their most current tax returns.
Robicheau: Thank you for joining us today, Christine. And thank you for watching the Business sCOOP brought to you by The Cooperative Bank of Cape Cod.