8x8 Business VoIP Helps Bank Expedite Loan Processing
West Town Savings Bank considers itself a modern bank with old-fashioned values. Founded in 1922, West Town Savings was originally chartered in Illinois and provided traditional banking services. In 2009 the bank partnered with two groups of North Carolina investors to open a new residential mortgage division that has since doubled the bank’s assets. To support the new mortgage division, West Town Savings needed a new business phone system. 8x8 Virtual Office Pro provided state-of-the-art Internet phone and fax services that helped drive the division’s rapid growth.
No Missed Calls—Ever
Christopher LaCroix, vice president of Retail Mortgage Sales at West Town Savings, sums up his business phone service requirements succinctly: no missed calls.
“Ours is a fast-paced business, and we don’t want any missed calls,” he explained. “In our industry, people don’t want to leave messages and play phone tag. It’s important that we answer calls live as much as possible.”
To make sure that happens, LaCroix and his team make heavy use of 8x8’s mobile app on their iPhones, as well as the call forwarding and simultaneous ring features. By logging into 8x8 Virtual Office Online, they can easily forward calls to their cell phones when they’re out of the office—or configure their desk phones and cell phones to ring simultaneously whenever a call comes in. “Simultaneous ring is an awesome feature,” said LaCroix. “I can answer 8x8 calls on my iPhone when I’m traveling or at another location, and nobody knows I’m not at my desk.”
But when things get hectic and callers have to leave voicemail messages, 8x8 email notification ensures that recipients are alerted. They can either retrieve their messages by phone, or listen to them online by clicking an audio file attachment.
No Installation Required
West Town Savings’ 8x8 implementation has grown right along with its residential mortgage division. The bank now has 37 extensions at its corporate headquarters and about 70 more 8x8 users in 10 branch offices. According to LaCroix, the number of extensions will continue to go up.
“We’re still growing, and I have two to three new hires coming in every few months,” he said. “The best thing about 8x8 is there’s no installation required! I just contact my 8x8 account manager to order new phones. When they arrive, I can log into Virtual Office Online and configure them myself, or if I run out of time, I can have 8x8 do it for me. When the new employee shows up, all we have to do is plug their phone into the wall and they’re ready to start taking calls.”
“Our mortgage division has been extremely successful since it was launched in 2009, and we couldn’t have grown this rapidly without our 8x8 business VoIP phone system.”
Vice President of Retail Mortgage Sales at West Town Savings
Better Call Distribution with Ring Groups
“Sometimes we use a simple round-robin approach, where the first call goes to person 1, the second to person 2, and so on,” he said. “Other times we set up a dedicated ring group where calls are distributed to employees with specialized expertise to answer 800 calls. We also distribute calls based on seniority, or an individual team member’s productivity. With 8x8’s online Account Manager, I can go in and change our call handling and ring groups whenever I need to.”
Internet Fax Ensures Delivery of Critical Documents
Like many financial service organizations, West Town Savings’ mortgage division handles a huge volume of documents. Fax is the standard way of transmitting them, but LaCroix and his team found that hard copies did not always go through, or were left unattended at remote fax machines.
“We couldn’t trust the paper fax process, and it was causing problems for our business. When someone’s closing on a house, they typically have to submit forms—like Verification of Employment—at the last minute. If the form doesn’t come through, it can stop the closing. We needed a more secure way of sending and receiving mission-critical documents.”
LaCroix decided to use the Internet fax feature available in the Virtual Office Pro bundle. Hard-copy documents are scanned into PDF format, and then sent and received like email. Recipients can immediately see incoming faxes online. “Internet fax is the bomb!” said LaCroix. “Even though the faxes are PDFs, they look just like hard copies. My loan processing team can send and receive right from their desktops, so there are no more fax machine transmission errors or misplaced documents. 8x8 Internet fax has been crucial in helping us grow our business because it eliminated the problems we used to experience with paper faxes.”
Supporting a 24/7 Business Model
As the residential mortgage division continues to expand, LaCroix believes the bank is evolving toward a 24/7 business model. “Our customers need to call us and send us documentation around the clock. With 8x8, we can see who’s calling, answer whether we’re at our desks or away, and check our email, voicemail and fax messages all in one place.”
LaCroix also believes 8x8 has played a key role in enabling the bank to provide the high level of customer service residential mortgage loans require. “We need to give our customers personal attention that feels like face-to-face communications,” he explained. “8x8’s mobile app and simultaneous ring and email notification features help us deliver that kind of service. Our mortgage division has been extremely successful since it was launched in 2009, and we couldn’t have grown this rapidly without our 8x8 business VoIP phone system.”