American Banker: As construction lending rebounds, tech investment follows

As construction lending starts to make a comeback, many community banks relying on lending to developers and builders are looking to use cutting-edge digital interfaces to help them attract more clients.

“It’s important for us to create convenience not only for our clients but for their clients as well [such as subcontractors] and give them quicker and more convenient access to funds,” said David Veurink, chief credit officer and head of commercial banking at Chicago-based Countryside Bank.

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By Bryan Yurcan

BankLabs Unveils +Pay to Automate Construction Payment Streams

Little Rock, Ark., Feb. 20, 2018 – BankLabs, a national provider of innovative mobile technology products for community banks, today announced the addition of +Pay to its product offerings.

+Pay integrates with Construct, the company’s construction loan automation product, to automate the payment stream between builders and sub-contractors. It speeds the payment process and eliminates the need for paper with electronic lien waivers and invoices, as well as automated 1099 tax reporting.

With new payment options including Same Day ACH, +Pay enables sub-contractors to be paid efficiently and, in turn, efficiently pay their employees. This mobile and web-based service increases transparency in the payment stream process, which greatly reduces unnecessary friction between builders and subcontractors.

“Our software for cutting checks and making payouts was outdated, and we needed a product that could interface with our core system,” said David Veurink, chief credit officer and head of commercial banking at Countryside Bank. “+Pay does just that, and the team at BankLabs has been extremely responsive and customer-oriented in their approach.”
“Countryside Bank was our first customer on +Pay last year,” said Matt Johnner, president and co-founder of BankLabs. “They have been very helpful in working out any kinks and we are thrilled that they are seeing process improvements with our technology.”

Banks can leverage +Pay to increase both fee income and attract deposits. The two initial financial institutions using +Pay have already processed more than $126 million in construction payments combined, and more banks are already under contract.  In addition to financial institutions, builders and sub-contractors can also use +Pay.

 

About BankLabs

The mission of BankLabs is to reimagine banking through community-oriented technologies that create new fee income, attract deposits, expand loan opportunities and differentiate the financial institution from competitors. BankLabs believes that community banking is a way of doing business, not a size or location. For more information, visit www.banklabs.com.

 

Media Contact

For BankLabs
Catherine Mootz, 678-781-7227
cmootz@williammills.com

Construction Executive: Automate The Entire Construction Loan Process

In today’s digital world, instant gratification is not only desired, but expected. People expect to click a button and be able to pay bills online, schedule an appointment and receive texts to refill a prescription. Our patience has declined, and with it has come a pressing need for automation in all aspects of our lives.

One sector that has been slow to catch on to the automation obsession is the construction industry, particularly construction lending. For too long, builders and contractors were using computer spreadsheets, creating draw sheets by hand and emailing confidential documents to inspectors. Needless to say, this needed to change and the industry is finally using technology that automates these processes.  

AUTOMATING CONSTRUCTION LENDING

Commercial developers, general contractors and residential home builders have started working with lenders who use innovative technology to automate the post-closing administration of construction loans. Accessible from any phone, tablet or computer, this technology eliminates the need for paper files and spreadsheets, lets the developer check on the status from any device and improves the experience for the developer, lender and borrower. People are making better business decisions enabled by real-time text messages showing draw availability and areas of risk.

The best solutions reduce loan administration time by 50 percent or more, lower inspection costs, identify and mitigate potential risks and enhance working relationships through mobile access.

This part of the construction industry has come a long way, but what about the other side of the construction loan process? While lenders and developers are being offered innovative technology to help automate their business, contractors are still working in the dark ages.

HOLISTIC AUTOMATION

For instance, builders continue to pay their subcontractors via paper checks, after collecting paper invoices and paper lien waivers. The subcontractor must then drive to pick up the check, deposit it and wait days for funds availability. In addition, builders are completing 1099 tax forms and other reporting material by hand, which can be difficult and time-consuming.

For these reasons, construction developers, builders and contractors must partner with lenders who are not only using technology to automate the post-close administration of loans, but those who understand that the entire payment process must be automated to be most effective. 

Desirable lenders are typically community banks that have implemented new technology to complement the automation tools they are currently using. The new solution is ideally a mobile and web-based service that automates the construction payment stream with electronic submittal of lien waivers and invoices from subcontractors to the builder. This is coupled with electronic payments using same-day ACH that replace checks, much like online bill pay that has made our personal lives easier. 

In short, payments are made faster and more reliably. Builders are able to pay their subcontractors instantly, enabling them to focus on building and saving the subcontractors significant amounts of time and frustration. With a more efficient payment process, everyone can concentrate on what they have been hired to do. 

Implementing this technology also increases transparency in the payment stream process and reduces unnecessary friction between builders and subcontractors. With mobile access, it is easy to log into the system while on the construction site to check for any errors and assess the status of projects. Subcontractors have all of their payment questions answered by checking their phone, which eases the burden of manual interactions with the builder. 

Also, it is safe to say that the best contractors look to work with the best developers, and the best developers try to seek out the best lenders. 

Using technology to automate the post-close administration of construction loans is important, but now is the time to take automation a step further. By working with lenders who are also using an automated payment stream tool, construction professionals can speed cycle times and payments, improve communication and focus on their important work at hand.

Written by Matt Johnner - President and Co-founder, BankLabs

BankLabs is a national provider of innovative mobile technology products that help community banks improve efficiency, differentiate with customers, create new fee income, increase deposits and create marketplace options that expand business opportunities. BankLabs believes that community banking is a way of doing business, not a size.

BankLabs Signs 50th Bank to Utilize Construct

 

LITTLE ROCK, Ark.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--BankLabs, a national provider of innovative mobile technology products for community banks, today announced the 50th bank to go-live with Construct, the cloud-based construction loan management product for lenders and their borrowers, builders and inspectors.

“In today’s technology-driven world, we wanted to provide an easy-to-use, web-based service to take the place of cumbersome spreadsheets and paper files. The importance of mobility continues to grow to differentiate the financial institution.”

Construct is a banker-centric, web-based service that automates the post-close administration of construction loans for lenders. Accessible from any phone, tablet or computer, it eliminates the need for paper files and spreadsheets, increases bank productivity, mitigates the risk of overfunding projects and improves the experience for both the builder and borrower.

Using Construct, a builder is able to view available funds via computer or mobile device and submit a draw request. Notifications are then sent via text or email to the inspector, borrower and bank personnel. The inspector takes pictures, enters notes and updates the percent complete via phone or tablet. Without the need for spreadsheets, the correct draw amount is automatically calculated and can be instantly viewed by the banker, borrower and builder along with inspection details, documents and photos. Reports are then automatically generated based on real-time data.

Construct has proven to reduce loan administration time by 50 percent, lower inspection costs, identify and mitigate potential risks and enhance the borrower/builder relationship through mobile access. Financial institutions using Construct have already seen an eight to 12 percent draw interest improvement, as well as a decrease in cycle time from days or weeks to minutes.

“Construct completely automates the traditionally manual loan administration, inspection and draw process, making life easier for the bank, builder and borrower using real-time workflow and proactive next step tracking,” said Matt Johnner, president and co-founder of BankLabs. “In today’s technology-driven world, we wanted to provide an easy-to-use, web-based service to take the place of cumbersome spreadsheets and paper files. The importance of mobility continues to grow to differentiate the financial institution.”

About BankLabs

BankLabs is a national provider of innovative mobile technology products that help community banks improve efficiency, increase time for relationships with customers and create marketplace options that expand business opportunities. BankLabs believes that community banking is a way of doing business, not a size. For more information, visit www.banklabs.com.

 

Media Contact

For BankLabs
Catherine Mootz, 678-781-7227
cmootz@williammills.com