Twain Financial Partners is a full-service specialty finance firm with $4 billion in assets under management. Twain addresses a range of capital needs to support real estate and renewable energy developments throughout the United States. The company specializes in tax credit, structured debt, and real estate transactions. One of its larger clients is U.S. Bancorp Impact Finance, the community investment and tax credit division of U.S. Bank.
Twain works closely with clients to structure and manage investments that offer both attractive economic return and social benefits. For instance, Twain manages funds and compliance related to the projects Impact Finance invests in as part of the federal New Markets Tax Credit program, which encourages financial investment and economic development in lower-income communities.
Support from Twain’s financial services onboarding team is critical to ensuring transactions related to these investments are completed in a timely fashion. Each new deal requires Twain to manage the opening of a bank account under tight deadlines to ensure parties involved in the transaction have wire transfer capability in place when the deal is ready to close.
“We close a lot of deals,” explains Kris Roberts, a Twain onboarding specialist. “Our main goal is to ensure those closings run smoothly.”
The challenges faced by the onboarding team are exacerbated by both the time-sensitive nature of deal closings and the many accounts that must be opened, on average about 10 or 11 a month.
Account openings require the client onboarding specialists at Twain to exchange documentation with U.S. Bank and regularly communicate with the bank to ensure accounts are operational in time to meet deadlines.
Because it is a high-volume user of bank accounts that must be opened quickly, in 2020 the firm decided to partner with U.S. Bank on developing the Onboarding Tracker — a key component of the bank’s award-winning Digital Onboarding solution — as one of the early pilot clients. With the pandemic producing the need for staff to work remotely, and the desire to reduce paper in operations, Twain was attracted to the bank’s new digital solution to tracking account implementations.
A first-of-its-kind tool in commercial banking, Onboarding Tracker gives users the ability to track product implementations within the U.S. Bank SinglePoint® online cash management channel. The landing page displays all the information about an organization’s account openings..
The digital on boarding system also offers a collaborative messaging capability. Both clients and bank users can quickly communicate onboarding inquiries, issues, and roadblocks through a highly secure message board, instead of relying on emails. The tool provides a dashboard view of which party is responsible for the next pending action, such as a document requiring a signature. It also offers document upload and download capability.
All documents exchanged via the message board within the tracker are stored in a central repository for easy access and future re-use as needed.
Twain project managers email the onboarding team when new bank accounts are needed. Team members email formation documents to U.S. Bank reporting the legal name, tax ID and authorized signers for each account. At that point, the bank creates a tracker. Using Digital Onboarding, the bank sends the required documentation to Twain and Twain returns the completed documents. From there, KYC review takes place, followed by account setup at the bank, including establishing entitlements in SinglePoint. “The only part Digital Onboarding doesn’t touch is our initial email request,” Roberts says.
Digital Onboarding’s digital document and information exchange reduces the time needed to open a bank account from 15 days to 10, Roberts says. Five days faster can be critical when you are trying to meet a deadline, he notes.
- Kris Roberts, onboarding specialist, Twain Financial Partners
Roberts says Digital Onboarding reduces the team’s reliance on emails to exchange information with the bank and inquire about the progress of account openings. He also appreciates the centralized access it provides to the many documents related to each opening. “If we need a document for our audit, I know exactly where to find it,” he says. “It definitely makes us more efficient.”
Digital Onboarding also adds transparency to the account opening process. “Let’s say I go on vacation or am out sick,” Roberts says. “Someone else on the team can be added as a participant and, instead of going through a lot of emails, they can immediately see where I left off, allowing the process to keep flowing.”
Through the pilot experience, Twain has suggested enhancements to Digital Onboarding. For instance, initially users could only upload one or two documents at a time. Soon after Roberts advised U.S. Bank how helpful it would be if he could upload 7 or 8 at a time, the bank added that capability.
“We value the partnership we have with U.S. Bank,” Roberts says. “There’s always an open line of communication. If something’s not working, we jump on a call and figure it out. The bank has always been really responsive.”
Twain is known for its responsiveness and ability to deliver on its commitments. Digital Onboarding allows Twain to live up to those standards by improving communication with the bank, increasing the efficiency of the account opening process, and helping the company close deals in a timely manner. In turn, that helps Twain fulfill its broader mission.
“In our business, more deals closing means more jobs being created, more businesses being started, and more homes being built,” Roberts says. “If we can be more efficient, the bottom line is we help more people.”
If you’re ready to explore possibilities for improving your onboarding, reach out to the team at U.S. Bank to learn more about the benefits of our Digital Onboarding solution.