Cultivating the Future of Agricultural Lending: Lessons from GreenStone Farm Credit Services
Farmers are facing numerous challenges, including climate change, shifting consumer preferences and economic volatility. To thrive in this complex environment, they need access to financing, which is where cooperatives like GreenStone Farm Credit Services come in.
GreenStone's goal is to be rural America's first choice for financial services. But to keep up with the demands of a rapidly changing industry, the cooperative needed to double-down on digital-first lending to make their processes more efficient.
Steve Junglas, an IT industry veteran, began his career at GreenStone in 2003. As CIO, he’s helping to transform the ag-lending experience for the next twenty years.
Read on to see how GreenStone was able to scale its operations, increase efficiency and ultimately provide better service to over 28,000 members.
Empower employees with seamless digital experiences
One of the greatest advantages of digitization for agricultural cooperatives like GreenStone is the increased scalability of their lending processes. By leveraging digital tools, they can serve more customers without having to allocate additional resources.
“We were able to grow our business without adding staff,” said Junglas. Not only did this result in significant cost savings, but it also allowed employees to focus on more complex tasks, while leaving the more straightforward tasks to automation. “And that’s the key to growing your business while getting results to your customers faster.”
Use configurable tools
One of the challenges for agricultural lenders is handling the complex logic required for different state regulations and other factors that affect loan documents.
“Where I think other farm credits struggle is they tried to buy off the shelf and then hack it up to try and get it running,” said Junglas. DocuSign CLM has the ability to take state regulations and other factors into account and automatically generate the proper legal language for the deal. By creating templates tailored to their specific needs, lenders can ensure compliance. “That’s the nice thing about CLM. It’s configurable."
Integrate for ultimate efficiency
Bridging the geographical divide between lending teams and members in rural areas. GreenStone overcame this challenge by using digital tools like DocuSign eSignature, allowing members to sign documents from anywhere, without the need for in-person visits to branches.
eSignature expedited parts of the process, but there were still major bottlenecks when it came to preparing and reviewing documents.
By digitizing the entire lending process with DocuSign CLM and nCino, GreenStone was able to automate document generation, eliminate redundant data entry and ultimately expedite funds to members.
By starting small, you can get a sense of what works and what doesn't, fine-tune your processes, and build up confidence in your integration efforts. Plus, you'll start to see the benefits of integration right away, with faster processing times, fewer errors and happier customers.
“Pick a few forms, and get them moving through the workflow,” said Junglas. “Continue building in an agile process, adding more workflows and complexity as you go.”
Take a collaborative approach to multiply your impact
The benefits of digital transformation extend far beyond GreenStone’s 35 branches. The agricultural cooperative also manages the Centric Technology Collaboration, a team of experts working together to deliver leading-edge technology like DocuSign CLM and nCino.
The group's collaborative approach ultimately helps to level the playing field for smaller farm credit associations, empowering them to better serve their local communities.
Create a long-term vision for enabling a fully digital experience
By investing in the right technology, lenders can future-proof their operations and stay ahead of the competition.
GreenStone's long-term vision is to enable a fully digital experience for all lending transactions. Using tools like DocuSign Notary, the cooperative aims to provide a fully digital experience that eliminates the need for in-person notarization. This can help to further streamline the lending process, reducing the time and resources required for loan transactions.
To learn more, read the full customer story.