Dean Snyder, Executive Vice President, Head of Business Solutions of Product Management and Melissa Hofer, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer
Over the last decade, the financial sector has been striving to achieve complete digital transformation to boost its operational efficiencies and offer products and services that align with the digital-first demands of modern-day customers. In light of this transition, a majority of banks today are in the act of digitizing their commercial lending processes to keep pace with the competition. However, the increasing number of technological deployments is hindering most banks from gaining the complete benefits of their implementations as they have to spend a significant amount of time handling dissimilar products across the overall lending process. Additionally, banks also face difficulty offering loans to large corporations and small independent businesses, owing to their existing conventional lending systems’ limited feature set. Helping banks change the status-quo with its revolutionary, state-of-the-art AFSVision® lending platform is Pennsylvania-based Automated Financial Systems, Inc. (AFS®). “AFSVision enables our clients to consolidate their systems under a single pane of glass and facilitate the seamless handling of all commercial lending scenarios, from complex capital market offerings to simpler loans,” says Melissa Hofer, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer at AFS.
Founded in 1970, AFS is the brainchild of visionary entrepreneur Jim Greenwood who started the company after recognizing the opportunity to bring automation in the commercial lending arena. Initially, AFS offered a loan servicing solution that, with time, grew to add more features for accounting workflows and straight-through processes, among others. “As the industry has evolved to incorporate more tech-driven solutions, we have pivoted our business and leveraged our extensive knowledge of technology and the financial services space to deliver success,” adds Dean Snyder, Executive Vice President, Head of Business Solutions at AFS. AFS takes pride in its many long-standing client relationships because of the ability to combine the competencies of its evolving solutions with a highly passionate and trained team.
Currently, AFS is offering the fourth-generation commercial lending platform, AFSVision, which is a real-time, multiline of business, multibank, multilingual, multicurrency system designed to drive clarity and control with its real-time functionality and enterprise-wide digital process management. To help its existing clients and newer customers deploy AFSVision, the company adopts an approach to perform a needs assessment.
AFSVision enables our clients to consolidate their systems under a single pane of glass and facilitates the seamless handling of all commercial lending scenarios
With this assessment in place, AFS helps its clients understand the direct and indirect value additions of deploying AFSVision and defines the implementation strategy based on the customer’s risk tolerance and operational objectives. “Our needs assessment helps us target the opportunities for cost reduction via automation, detection of newer revenue streams, and maintain compliance with regulatory mandates,” states Dean.
By being an open architecture platform, AFSVision gathers extensive data to enable customers and lenders to monitor the status of their loan requests, the performance of their lending portfolio, and other critical attributes. “Our business intelligence group allows our clients to compare their loan pricing and efficacy, as well as potential lending risks with peer banks by offering a data-driven benchmarking feature,” mentions Melissa. Unlike its contemporaries that offer tech-driven toolkits that require time and resources to customize and deploy, AFS offers AFSVision as a standard product that only requires minimal configurations before use. Above all, the company continually rolls out newer capabilities for AFSVision to help its clients address newer challenges. Owing to its comprehensive capabilities, AFSVision is playing a vital role in helping banks ensure a smooth transition from London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) to the emerging secured overnight financing rate (SOFR). The platform is also aiding financial institutions across the U.S. to simplify the delivery of support initiatives such as the Cares Act and the Payroll Protection Program to their customers in the wake of COVID-19.
As an organization, AFS has always evolved in tandem with the shifts in the overall financial arena. In fact, even after spending three decades with the company, both Melissa and Dean mention how AFS has continued to evolve, making smart investments to build solutions that bridge the most prevalent gaps in the commercial lending space. “We have a unique culture that drives individual growth for professionals that embrace the AFS core mission of innovating to improve customer experiences in commercial lending,” extols Dean.
Moving forward, AFS plans to provide additional features designed to simplify lending processes while complying with new accounting standards. Concurrently, the company is helping its existing clients in transitioning their operations from the AFS third-generation product to AFSVision. AFS has recently released a significant new capability, which is a loan sale and trading support offering, named Trader Workstation. Additionally, the company successfully re-platformed its mainframe-based solution to a fully distributed model and now is working to finalize a cloud native deployment and continue to expand AFSVision’s open architecture, thereby enhancing its ability to integrate with complementary financial systems. AFS aims to expand its focus on next-tier banks emerging as prominent players in commercial lending and expanding operations across the Atlantic into the European market.