Mascoma Bank, a Salesforce customer, wrote this article.
Small businesses are the lifeblood of our communities. They enrich the places we live and work and provide jobs for our neighbors. We depend on small businesses for a lot — and they depend on help from financial institutions to navigate times of change.
As a certified B Corporation®, Mascoma Bank believes in business as a force for good. We always put our customers, our communities, our employees, and our environment first — and we know that together, we can make a difference.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affect small businesses, the U.S. government created the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), for eligible small businesses to access funding to keep their workforces employed at this time.
To help our small business customers get aid when they needed it most, our team at Mascoma Bank stepped up to the plate and transformed the way we do business. We used a three-pronged approach to enable Mascoma Bank to process over one thousand loans — one year’s worth of work — in just 13 days, supporting over 12,500 jobs in the community during the first round of government funding.
In today’s digital-first world, financial services institutions have the tools to engage customers beyond physical branch locations. These digital tools become more important than ever as we all work from home.
But that doesn’t mean it’s time for technology and automation to take over. During moments of change, customers still desire real human interaction, especially when faced with new financial programs such as applying for PPP funds for their businesses. We wanted to use technology to empower our frontline employees.
As we began to receive small businesses’ PPP applications, we realized that they had many questions about the loan application process. We didn’t just direct them to an FAQ or provide generic copy-and-paste answers. Even though personalized in-branch interactions came to a halt, we ensured our virtual customer interactions were as human as the in-branch experience — the familiar faces of your local branch provide a sense of comfort and reassurance. They know your business and your needs, and they’re ready to help.
We’re able to provide this same sense of comfort by empowering our team with connected customer data. This means that every agent can access any customer’s entire profile all on one platform. They have all the information they need to know to help any customer effectively. By making our customer data easily accessible, every customer becomes a familiar face in a matter of seconds — even in a virtual environment.
When a small business is awaiting financial help, every minute counts. That’s why efficiency is incredibly important when it comes to serving your small business customers. In times where your institution receives a higher volume of loan applications, automating and streamlining processes help your team focus on connecting with small businesses and quickly get funds into their hands, instead of getting tangled up in red tape.
By automating manual processes such as application form submission, status updates, and document requests, we were able to process a higher volume of applications faster, to help as many small businesses as possible.
The key to this success was integrating our systems. It doesn’t sound glamorous, but it made a world of difference for our team and our customers. We didn’t have time to create a solution from scratch, so we used several Salesforce tools to help us get there.
We started with Community Cloud and Salesforce partner nCino to create an intake application process that small businesses could digitally access. By automating parts of the customer intake process, we brought average onboarding time down from 30 minutes to just seven minutes. Once small businesses submit the required application information through the portal, our team can access, manage, and process applications in real time with Financial Services Cloud. We were able to tie it all together by integrating the platform to our core banking system with Mulesoft and creating a custom integration to the SBA’s electronic loan processing system. With all of our tools working together, we created a seamless connected process for our team and small businesses in need.
The best part? We created, tested, and launched our small business loan request and processing experience in just 10 days. That means that as soon as the PPP launched, we were ready.
It’s hard to predict what the future will look like for small businesses — but we know future changes will require flexibility from financial services providers. That’s why it’s important to have a resilient and agile platform, to continue to be there for the small businesses that need us — no matter what the future holds.
While building out a technology stack, think beyond current issues to prepare for the long term. What changes might your business face in the future? How will your customers’ needs continue to evolve? What does it take to make your work even faster? Dial-in your technology with the capability to accommodate future updates and changes.
As Mascoma Bank prepares for the future needs of our small businesses, we’re ready to further refine our application process, provide personalized service and education, and align forgiveness programs depending on what the next weeks, months, and years may bring. With the Salesforce platform, we can build out custom automated workflows and integrations with steps, requirements, and journeys that can be adjusted at any time.
Throughout this process, we’ve emerged as an unlikely digital powerhouse, accomplishing more than we ever thought possible. We’re small but mighty, motivated by our passion for supporting and giving back to our community, our neighbors. By leveraging and integrating the best technology, we’re able to help our community’s small businesses stay afloat, even in the most challenging of times.
For more information on the Mascoma Story and how we can help streamline the SBA PPP process, watch this helpful video series, “How To Streamline SBA Paycheck Protection Program Loan Applications.”