Case Study

First Federal Bank

Draws Processed 80% Faster

First Federal Bank | Land Gorilla

Utilizing Land Gorilla’s Construction Loan Manager has proven to cut the time of the full draw process.

More Loan Visibility 24/7 Access

Land Gorilla Confident Construction Finance

We were looking for a company that would allow us to give our customers, borrower and builder alike, the white-glove service

Karen Stone, Assistant Vice President, Residential Lending Construction
Manager at First Federal Bank

Product Offering:

  • 500+ Construction-to-Permanent Loans:
    Conventional, FHA and VA

Goals:

  • Exceptional customer experience
  • Replace manual processes with a digital solution
  • Disperse draws faster

Solution:

  • Land Gorilla’s Construction Loan Manager™ software

Results:

  • Draws processed 80% faster
  • More loan visibility for borrowers and builders with 24/7 access
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About

First Federal opened the doors in 1962 as a savings and loan in North Florida, and has been equally committed to exceptional service and value ever since.

Today, First Federal is a community-based mutual bank that serves over 70,000 customers from banking branches to mortgage lending offices. Being owned by their customers and not stockholders provides exceptional attentiveness to their customer’s needs.

Ten years ago, First Federal Bank was administering less than 80 loans with just two construction specialists. Now, a decade later, the team services 500+ construction loans administered by 11 construction specialists and two administrative assistants.
Visit First Federal Bank at ffbf.com

500+

Construction Loans

+70,000

Customers

58

Years In Business

The Challenge

Prior to Land Gorilla, managing construction loans was a very manual process. A construction specialist would be able to service 40 – 45 loans and all draw documents were maintained in a physical construction draw file folder.

At closing, loans were manually boarded to the servicing platform. Inspections were ordered by the builder by phone or email. The construction specialist would in turn email the inspector. The appraisal, draw schedule, contract, plans, and specs, along with directions on how to contact the builder to gain access to the property, would be emailed to the inspector for an initial inspection.

Then, the construction specialist prepared an email to the builder listing all documents required for the draw.

When the completed inspection and supporting photos were emailed to the specialist, they reviewed the draw request for accuracy by comparing the photos, then calculated the percentage completed for that inspection. Both borrower and builder lien affidavits were prepared and emailed to the respective parties. Upon receipt of the executed affidavits, the wire or check was processed and disbursed to the builder. The specialist then processed the transaction financially in the servicing system. Draws were disbursed once all documents were received. This manual process typically took 5 days.

The Solution

We wanted to eliminate our manual process and move to a system-based process to alleviate the potential for keying and calculation errors

said Karen Stone, Assistant Vice President, Construction Manager at First Federal Bank. “We were also looking for a way to minimize emails and faxing of documents between all parties involved that would cut the process down to a minimum. Instead of inspections being turned to draw in 4 – 5 days we were looking for 2 days.”

In order to thoroughly evaluate all options, a team was formed to gather information via conferences/demonstrations. The team met with representatives of at least five vendors. The process in total spanned for almost a year.

First Federal is customer-centric and is known for the outstanding service they provide. Being able to maintain this level of customer service was a very important consideration when selecting a solution.

“Our corporate culture is taken very seriously,” said Stone. “Everyone at First Federal lives the corporate culture. No joke. We were looking for a company that would allow us to give our customers, borrower and builder alike, the white-glove service they have come to expect.”

After this extensive search was complete, First Federal Bank selected Land Gorilla.

Five vendors were evaluated over the span of a year before selecting Land Gorilla

Utilizing Land Gorilla’s Construction Loan Manager has proven to cut the time of the full draw process.

“Although we have not availed ourselves of the full range of what Land Gorilla provides, we have already increased our responsiveness in turn times for inspections,” said Stone. “Having all necessary documents housed in a central location allows another specialist to pick up a file if need be and complete the draw. All borrower and builder affidavits are there and we do not have to go into a Word document to complete.”

Borrowers and loan originators have access to information with a simple login 24 hours a day instead of having to call or email during the 8-hour workday.

“Our builders have access to the online portal to order inspections without email or calling,” says Stone. “Borrowers will also have access which allows all parties to see the inspections, and quickly execute draw affidavits via DocuSign allowing for 24-hour service.”

The Results

Utilizing Land Gorilla’s Construction Loan Manager has proven to cut the time of the full draw process.

“Although we have not availed ourselves of the full range of what Land Gorilla provides, we have already increased our responsiveness in turn times for inspections,” said Stone. “Having all necessary documents housed in a central location allows another specialist to pick up a file if need be and complete the draw. All borrower and builder affidavits are there and we do not have to go into a Word document to complete.”

Borrowers and loan originators have access to information with a simple login 24 hours a day instead of having to call or email during the 8-hour workday.
“Our builders have access to the online portal to order inspections without email or calling,” says Stone. “Borrowers will also have access which allows all parties to see the inspections, and quickly execute draw affidavits via DocuSign allowing for 24-hour service.”

Going from a totally manual procedure wherein the draw process could take upwards to 5 days, First Federal is now able to get draw funds out to the builder within 24 to 48 hours. Now with an efficient solution in place, First Federal is able to extend its construction lending footprint without having to extend more resources.

First Federal Bank found a partner in Land Gorilla to drive the success of their programs.

“When we first began the process with Land Gorilla, I think we must have spoken once or twice a day!” said Stone. “The Land Gorilla team provides great customer service, is attentive and very receptive to requests and suggestions of how the system could be enhanced to fit our specific needs. Our questions are answered timely and professionally.”

The Land Gorilla team provides great customer service, is attentive and very receptive.

Going from a totally manual procedure wherein the draw process could take upwards to 5 days, First Federal is now able to get draw funds out to the builder within 24 to 48 hours. Now with an efficient solution in place, First Federal is able to extend its construction lending footprint without having to extend more resources.

First Federal found a partner in Land Gorilla to drive the success of their programs.

“When we first began the process with Land Gorilla, I think we must have spoken once or twice a day!” said Stone. “The Land Gorilla team provides great customer service, is attentive and very receptive to requests and suggestions of how the system could be enhanced to fit our specific needs. Our questions are answered timely and professionally.”

  • Access to information 24/7
  • All documents in one place
  • Controlled document sharing
  • Execute draw affidavits via DocuSign
  • Draw funds to builder: 24-48 hours

The Future

First Federal Bank | Land Gorilla

The Land Gorilla team provides great customer service, is attentive and very receptive to requests and suggestions of how the system could be enhanced to fit our specific needs.

Karen Stone, Assistant Vice President, Construction Manager at First Federal Bank

First Federal anticipates increasing the number of construction-to-permanent loans within the first quarter of 2020.

In terms of future plans, First Federal will fully integrate Mortgage Director LOS by Fiserv with Land Gorilla to have information and documentation flow seamlessly from one system to another. In addition to software solutions, First Federal can take advantage of additional Land Gorilla services of builder review, project review, and the availability of helping to administer overflow files during peak times.

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