Fulton Bank Slashes Manual Consumer Lending Review Times by 75% Using ACES Quality Management & Control Software™

COMPANY

Founded in 1882, Fulton Bank strives to deliver the best banking experience for its customers. Today, as part of Fulton Financial Corporation, a $26 billion financial services holding company, Fulton Bank offers a broad array of financial products and services in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware, and Virginia.

CHALLENGE

Although Fulton Bank had grown far beyond the $10 billion asset limit that traditionally defines community banks, it had not lost its homegrown roots, an attitude that carried over into the development of its internal audit platform and process.

“Given that we had been doing it awhile and knew what we needed to look for and how the documents and data should look, our old audit process was solid,” said Renee Cordrey, consumer lending oversight manager at Fulton Bank. “However, it was still very labor-intensive, as we frequently had to manually add in data points that did not come over in the data transfer from our lending system into our reporting mechanism.”

Furthermore, there were inefficiencies created by its proprietary system and its reliance on IT to make system changes.

“Compliance is always changing and growing more complex, and we realized that as a company -- at least from our monitoring standpoint -- that we needed to execute our audit process faster and be more efficient,” Cordrey added. “Plus, we wanted to have more flexibility in what we could capture as far as data and the ability to quickly and easily put that data into a format that was usable by the recipient.”

Thus, Fulton Bank sought to replace its internal system with a third-party audit platform that could:

  • Ensure accurate and complete data pulls from its lending system;
  • Eliminate manual “stare and compare” data reviews;
  • Improve efficiency in recognizing regulatory and compliance related trends;
  • Enable the bank to increase review volumes, if required, without additional FTE needs;
  • Meet enhanced audit monitoring, results and reporting expectations from the bank’s Consumer Credit Management team; and
  • Be deployed across the entire organization to help the bank’s lending risk management and quality control teams work smarter, not harder.

SOLUTION

For Cordrey, the decision to choose ACES Quality Management & Control Software™ was an easy one, as “ACES checked a lot of our boxes plus some.”

One of those extra boxes was ACES Flexible Audit Technology™, which enabled Cordrey’s team to easily manage and update ACES as compliance and regulatory requirements change without having to rely on its internal IT department.

“With ACES, once we get our data uploaded into the system, we have everything we need.” Cordrey explained. “In addition, having full control of our own testing environment was a huge plus. When we have regulation changes or compliance tweaks that need to be made, we're able to do it so much faster than we did it before."

In addition, ACES’ robust reporting and Customer-Centric approach stood out as added benefits to the system when compared to some of the other vendors Fulton Bank evaluated.

“We researched a few other vendors, and while they both came close to meeting our needs, each one fell short in some way,” Cordrey noted. “With one vendor, their reporting wasn't as robust as ACES’ was, and with the other, it came down to the support level they provided after the rollout. ACES’ post-implementation support is awesome. I can reach out to anyone at ACES and get immediate responses and assistance.”

RESULTS

After selecting ACES, Fulton Bank immediately began the implementation process, working with their IT team and ACES professional services team to transfer loan data into ACES, configure the system to Fulton’s exact needs and conduct thorough testing to ensure the data was being transmitted accurately and seamlessly. By investing the time up-front to fully implement and test the system, Fulton has been able to reap the benefits of automation like never before.

With ACES, Fulton Bank has:

  • Cut manual review times for complex loan decisions by 50%;
  • Improved manual review time efficiency for less complex loan decisions by 75%; and
  • Decreased its reporting turn times by 50%, with additional efficiency gains expected as its team becomes more familiar with Business Objects.

REPORTING

QC reporting was previously a labor-intensive task for Fulton Bank, as the bank had to manually export its QC review findings from a spreadsheet into a separate format. With the automated reporting tools from ACES, Fulton Bank can easily transform its QC findings into a dynamic report built especially for its executive team.

“The automation behind the Business Objects tool in ACES where those findings and observations can basically auto-populate to our template report again, has been a huge time saver for us,” Cordrey explained. “We have shared those reports with management and our compliance partners and they're simply overjoyed with the results and the fact that we can go in and tweak it fairly easily.”

Fulton also enjoys the functionality of the reporting feature. It can easily grab specific information using Business Objects in ACES and incorporate it into the existing report rather than rebuilding a report from scratch. With ACES, Fulton Bank meets their reporting deadlines up to two weeks ahead of schedule.



SAMPLE QUESTIONNAIRES

Given the full scope of Fulton Bank’s consumer lending operations, compliance is paramount to ensuring success, especially in regards to spotting regulatory- and compliance-related trends. Using the customizable question sets in ACES, Fulton Bank has streamlined its compliance review process by eschewing the manual checklists it previously used in favor of intelligent automation for both its funded and non-funded loan reviews.

“What I like about ACES is that not only does it give you what they have available, but you also have the freedom to basically set up your own questions,” Cordrey said.

"The copy and recurring audit features in ACES have also been very beneficial,” Cordrey added. “With just a few changes to the criteria, we’re able to create a consistent review process for all of our loan audits month over month while still ensuring each of those reviews is tailored to the requisite regulation or requirement.”

AUTO RESPONSE

Another time-saving feature for Fulton Bank is the auto-response functionality within ACES. Rather than have its auditors manually answer each and every question in a given question set, Fulton Bank is able to leverage the data it pulls directly into ACES to automatically answer as many of these questions as possible, thus increasing the efficiency of its audit teams.

“A lot of our time-saving information and excitement around the system comes from the auto responses in ACES,” Cordrey explained. “We took some time to build a lot of good auto answers in the system based on the data that we were able to pull in, and that has been an enormous time saver for us because we didn't have to rely on those manual calculations anymore to handle a lot of the regulatory requirements that we have.”

“ACES is like an open book, everything you need is laid out right in front of you. There’s a ton of resources at your fingertips and ACES team is always happy to help with any confusion we run into. I’ve gotten nothing but positive feedback about ACES from staff members. With our old process, staff felt they needed to constantly double check the information they had, but with ACES, they can confidently make loan decisions because all the information is right there,” Renee Cordrey, Consumer Lending Oversight Manager at Fulton Bank

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