On September 30, 2020, Michael Hammond, founder of NexLevel Advisors, welcomed Williston Financial Group’s Dan Bailey to his Fintech Hunting podcast. He began by asking the SVP of WFG Lender Services and WFG Enterprise Solutions how his two WFG divisions were faring during this year of COVID.
Bailey explained that after the initial adjustments to working remotely, WFG and its employees quickly entered a period of record monthly order volume. He acknowledged that the transition to working from home had been eased by WFG’s pandemic continuity response plan, which was developed during the company’s first year and tested regularly over the last decade.
“We joked that our plans were ready for a zombie apocalypse,” Bailey said. “That made shifting to work-from-home less of a challenge.”
His teams had to make other adjustments, primarily in the areas of sales and marketing, industry relations, and prospecting; all areas that are typically dependent on in-person meetings. In response, he has insisted on more strategic use of social media.
“To come up with new ways to discover and interact with prospects,” Bailey says, “we’re making sure our team members are using social media, not just to post promotional materials, but to build the kind of profiles that let people know who they are and invite building a working relationship.”
The biggest aspect of the pandemic year, however, has been sales activity, Bailey said.
“The biggest things we’re seeing revolve around capacity,” he said. “The refinance market has exploded, rates are at all-time lows, and 19 million people can qualify for beneficial refinance transactions. As a result, our opportunity pipelines and new customer acquisition have grown tremendously.”
To meet the surge in demand at WFG, the company is introducing a new tool this fall.
“We took a customer survey earlier this year, and one of the most common concerns was just getting the information needed,” Bailey explained. “And so this year we’ve been working on tools that enhance collaboration and make it easier for borrowers and lenders to assemble all the information needed to start a transaction.
“The MyHome Engage enables borrowers, at a time they choose, to provide us with all the information — on their mobile device or computer — that the lender will need to move their transaction along and eliminate all the emails and phone calls that plague the process and delay it by days or even weeks.
“It starts with communication and collaboration,” he concluded. “We’ve been working hard over the past three years to help lenders and their borrowers have the ability to know what’s happening every single day. That’s what the MyHome portal will be able to provide.