Cornerstone Home Lending Inc. is a privately funded, full-service mortgage bank. Based in Houston, the bank’s 1,250 employees serve customers through 84 branches in 48 states. Cornerstone wrote $5 billion in funded loans in 2013 and is on pace to meet or exceed that number in 2014. In fact, it’s the 12th-largest retail “nonbank” mortgage company in the United States and the 32nd-largest retail lender overall. The company’s customer-focused loan officers, plus in-house processing, underwriting and funding, ensure that it delivers competitive financing and on-time closings. Cornerstone’s thousands of repeat customers appreciate the company’s mission “to make a positive contribution to our clients’ lives.”
Cornerstone’s business was growing fast. The company expanded its workforce by 17 percent in 2013 alone. But employees working from Cornerstone’s 84 branches grappled with severe performance problems when processing loans. Accessing the company’s centralized loan-origination software and uploading customer files was time consuming and frustrating. IT management was costly and inefficient. What’s more, the company would soon have to upgrade from Windows XP, which Microsoft was no longer supporting. Cornerstone needed a way to streamline management of remote user desktops, improve employee productivity and satisfaction, and optimize its well-regarded customer service by getting customers through the loan-approval process more quickly.
Cornerstone turned to a full complement of Citrix solutions to meet its pressing needs. Citrix NetScaler SD-WAN provides a unified platform for accelerating access to its core loan-origination software. Citrix NetScaler offers an all-in-one controller for delivering Microsoft Office applications. And Citrix XenDesktop delivers a single desktop image to all employees. “Once we laid out a vision for the next three to five years and how fast new branches need to come online, Citrix was a no-brainer for us,” says Ricky Caldwell, Cornerstone’s director of server architecture and infrastructure. “We did a proof of concept in our West Coast offices and saw an immediate performance improvement for loan origination.”
Cornerstone loan officers must access its core loan-origination software and upload large files containing loan applications and other customer information. In the past, the process took at least three hours. The Citrix solution shaves that time to less than 45 minutes. It also improves security and regulatory compliance because sensitive customer data no longer sits on employee devices. And it supports Cornerstone’s evolving “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) strategy—which means employees can use whatever device delivers the best productivity for them. “Everyone looks for ROI, but we have what we call personal ROI,” Caldwell explains. “Citrix has improved the work lives of our employees. At the same time, it has enabled them to deliver a much higher level of service to our customers.”
Cornerstone’s IT department uses Citrix XenDesktop Director to manage its environment. Before the Citrix solution, if users complained that the company’s core loan-origination software was slow, IT staff had little visibility into possible causes. Today, IT personnel quickly identify any network issues—spending less time on technology problems and more time supporting the workforce. Employees also experience fewer IT problems. Cornerstone reports that help desk tickets, which used to average 125 a day, have been reduced to a small fraction of that number.
Cornerstone needs to get branch offices up and running quickly to support its fast growth. In the past, it took three to four weeks to get laptops imaged and delivered. Now the company gets a new office operational in just a day or two. What’s more, the software enabled the lender to upgrade from Microsoft Windows XP to Windows 7. “In the lending industry, people don’t like to change their software,” Caldwell notes. “But Citrix enabled us to move to Windows 7 easily.” Not only that, but the solution supports Cornerstone’s BYOD strategy. “If a loan officer says, ‘I need this device to work in the field,’ we can support it,” Caldwell says.
Cornerstone has converted its West Coast and New Mexico branches to the Citrix solution. Next, it will move 1,250 employees at its Houston headquarters to the platform. “Word travels fast,” Caldwell says. “Our Midwest employees are asking, ‘When can we get the same performance as the West Coast?’” The company is also looking to Citrix solutions to further support its evolving strategy for mobile-device and application management, including providing mobile apps to loan officers in the field. And it expects to rely increasingly on Citrix Online solutions that include GoToMeeting for online meetings, GoToWebinar for large numbers of attendees, GoToAssist for help desk support and GoToTraining for employee education.
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