A conversation with MAF’s Product and Research Manager, Jeremy Jacob, offers a behind the scenes look at Dreamforce 2014
MAF has had a very long and successful history with Salesforce, both as a community and financial partner, so we were excited to participate in several presentations at this year’s Dreamforce conference. One of our sessions was incredibly special, because we gave a first ever public look at our new Salesforce-based Social Loan Platform.
Without Salesforce, we would not have been able to create the Social Loan Platform that creates easy access for Lending Circle clients, and streamlined Lending Circle management for our partners. Salesforce is an integral part of MAF’s network approach to scale.
We wanted to take some time after our busy schedule at Dreamforce to talk to one of the people behind this amazing, unique platform to learn a little more about how this magnificent piece of technology was forged.
After the Dreamforce dust settled we took a moment to sit down with Jeremy Jacob, our Product and Research Manager, to pick his brains about the new Social Loan Platform and how we turned an idea into reality.
How did we first get started with Salesforce?
Back in 2007, MAF was granted 10 free licenses to what, at the time, was a rapidly growing CRM company. The grant was part of this company’s 1:1:1 philanthropy plan of donating 1% of its product, 1% of its equity, and 1% of its time. Early on we saw the potential of this system as not only an internal tool, but rather as an entire platform for our programs. Little did we know at the time that the decision to start using Salesforce on day one would lead us down the path that we’re on today.
While we had been building out our original system, MAF 1.0, Salesforce had also been building out their product. What had started out as a customer management tool had rapidly begun much more than that. It had become a platform that easily allow any organization or business to create customized products and systems with an incredible degree of flexibility and efficacy. So when we started to think abou the next step for MAF, we knew exactly where to look first.
Why did we choose Salesforce as the core of MAF 2.0?
We had several requirements for the next version of MAF’s loan servicing platform. #1 was that it had to be much more than just a loan servicing platform! We needed to build a system that would allow us to efficiently bring Lending Circles to communities across the country. One that would enable us to serve clients from the moment they hear about Lending Circles until the last day of their loan. And one that would be so intuitive that any staff at our partner providers could organize a Lending Circle.
The increadile flexiblity of the Force.com platform allowed us to build a product that was intuitive and effortless for all users, from our clients, to our partner providers, to our own internal staff. By building off of the platform, we were able to use a combination of out-of-the box solutions and components, including Conga, Docusign and Cloud Lending’s NEON product, to build a system that would allow us to easily service hundreds of highly customizable social loans a month.
What does the new system allow us to do?
As I said earlier, we needed this system to do more than just service social loans, we had already developed one of those. We wanted a build a system that encompassed all facets of the loan process.
Our new hub for all things Lending Circles, LendingCircles.org, allows prospective Lending Circle clients to locate a Lending Circle provider in their area on their PC, mobile phone, or tablet and then submit an application. By utilizing Docusign, Clicktools, Conga Composer and Everfi, we’re able to offer online financial education along with a paper-free enrollment process.
Once an applicant applies, the Community Cloud allowed us to easily set up a one stop shop where our partner providers can manage applicants and form Lending Circles. By utilizing VisualForce pages we’re able to create an intuitive and accessible way for any partner providers to easily form Lending Circles and manage their loan portfolios.
Using Salesforce also allows us to streamline our other business processes, from marketing to financial accounting, enabling our internal teams to work more efficiently. This will allow us to bring Lending Circles to more and more clients and partners across the country at the lowest cost possible.
By choosing to build our social loan platform with Salesforce, we were able to build a system that brings Lending Circles to to communities across the country, in turn helping to create a fair financial marketplace for all hardworking families.