Real estate lender improves customer experience with eBill service
Case study: Scalable U.S. Bank eBill Service makes lender more efficient while borrowers benefit from a simple, secure electronic payments process.
Tailor Ridge Capital Management stands out as an asset-based real estate lender because its principals understand the needs of their clients: small to mid-sized businesses that acquire and rehabilitate distressed properties for resale or use as rental properties.
“Two of my partners spent most of their careers on the other side of the table,” explains Chris Johnson, one of the new business’s co-founders. “They actually built several real estate firms using this type of capital.”
Beyond access to capital that the traditional financial system doesn’t offer, what Tailor Ridge understands its customers want is “a fast, secure, no-hassle experience,” Johnson says. Partnering with U.S. Bank and leveraging the U.S. Bank eBill Service, an electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution, has allowed the specialty lender to provide that experience each month as customers make their loan payments.
An efficient, scalable EBPP solution
Johnson and his partners realized immediately that collecting paper checks in the mail from borrowers and then depositing them was an inefficient way to handle accounts receivable.
With team members working virtually during the pandemic, they had to commute periodically to their offices in New Jersey and Rhode Island to see if any customer checks had arrived. They then had to forward them to the company’s fund administrator/ fiduciary in Chicago, which was required to deposit them due to the rules for managing third-party capital.
They recognized the need for a more efficient electronic payment solution. “We’d rather spend our energy serving the needs of our customers,” Johnson says. In addition, any solution had to be scalable to accommodate Tailor Ridge’s growth ambitions without burdening staff.
eBill Service: Simple and secure
Tailor Ridge went to U.S. Bank, its treasury management services provider, looking for a simple, secure solution. It found it in the U.S. Bank eBill Service, an electronic bill presentment and payment (EBPP) solution that would allow Tailor Ridge to provide a quick, seamless experience each month as customers make their loan payments.
In early 2021, U.S. Bank helped the company implement the service in what Johnson describes as an extremely smooth and straightforward process. Today, all its borrowers pay using eBill.
Instead of driving to the office to see if any checks from borrowers have arrived in the mail, now Johnson and his colleagues have borrowers initiate low-cost electronic payments online at their convenience.
eBill Service benefits borrower and lender
Knowing immediately that a borrower has paid helps with reconciliation and monitoring customer payment performance. “When you send a bill and 20 minutes later it’s paid, that tells you a lot about a new borrower,” Johnson says.
Tailor Ridge is using the standard eBill Service offerings. However, in the future, Johnson says the company may look at taking advantage of a feature that supports text alerts to customers when payments are due. “We’re dealing with a lot of small business owners who get very busy.
Text alerts could help them.”
The right payment fit
When Tailor Ridge opened for business, its fund administrator suggested several banks it could use for treasury management services. Johnson describes the partners’ decision-making process: “U.S. Bank is one of the largest banks in the United States. It has top technology infrastructure and name brand recognition. It was an easy choice.”
The same rationale explains why Johnson and his partners were so comfortable adopting the eBill Service.
“We’re in the money business,” Johnson says. “We like working with a blue-chip institution like U.S. Bank that ensures all IT security is buttoned up, because we can’t afford to have an issue with our customer payments."
"From our perspective, having everything hyper professional and secure is extremely important,” Johnson says. “Working with a major financial institution like U.S. Bank is the right fit for us.”
Having been real estate investors in the same space themselves, the principals at Tailor Ridge believe the decision to partner with U.S. Bank on the eBill Service is one their customers appreciate.