While designing a new lending system, John Listak, head of lending solutions for $11.8 billion in assets Alliant Credit Union in Chicago, knows how to keep in mind the experience of the members. Listak was named Rising Star at the CUNA Lending Council Conference.

Congratulations on your Rising Star Award. What is your background and how did you get to where you are today?

John Listak: I started at Alliant in May 2014 when I was hired as a consumer loan origination system specialist. Alliant made the decision to create their own Lending System (LOS) and they brought me on the project team.

It was a three-year process, and we launched in the first quarter of 2017 our automotive and Visa products, our real estate capital later in 2017, and our recreational vehicles in early 2018.

We had up to 55 people on our team with our onshore and offshore development and testing team. I worked closely with each of them to collect requirements, work with end users on training, and finally, launch. Now that it’s live, I’ve been working with end users to make improvements, fixes, and other ready initiatives.

What have been the results so far?

Listing : They were very positive. We use the Net Promoter Score (NPS) to track our member satisfaction and after the launch of LOS we saw strong increases in NPS from members seeking loans.

We also received excellent feedback from our internal staff. They gave us positive feedback on how it is an inclusive system where previously they had to use three or four different systems to log in, check different FIS checks or get ratings on automobiles. Now we’ve integrated that into one system, so it’s much more efficient.

What inspired you to lend and what are you most passionate about now?

Listing : What really attracted me to loans was this role of building our own LOS. This is something few other credit unions, or even banks, do. Alliant was very avant-garde. We want to control the entire member experience, and we looked at a few vendors and couldn’t find anyone we really liked. We thought, ‘let’s do it ourselves and see what we can do.’

Tell us about your documentation automation process.

Listing : We have worked closely with DocuSign to try to provide a better member experience. We’ve looked at some of the processes we have that a member can call for, for example, a personal ID change form or an e-transfer form, and seen the time it takes to send the form to the member , then for them, sign it and send it back to us by fax. We started looking at what DocuSign could do with their Power Forms package and realized it was something we could have the member complete online and create a workflow that integrates with our back- office. The member could complete it much faster and have a better member experience. .

What’s the next big thing for Alliant’s loan area?

Listing : The most important thing we are focusing on now is what we call our human-centered design and how to improve the member experience. Things like improving our credit limit increase application to just ask the member what their monthly income and expenses are instead of having them fill out the whole application again. Let’s make things as simple as possible for the member.

What advice do you have for your lending peers?

Listing : Don’t be afraid to fail. We tried a few things with LOS that didn’t work too well, but we learned from them. This is the most important thing. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t be afraid to try your luck, but if you fail, be sure to learn from it.

Lilyand more conference coverage and listen to a CUNA News podcast with Bill Vogeney, John Listak and others. Learn more about the CUNA Lending Council, a member-driven professional society for credit union leaders, at cunacouncils.org.