By Maria Patterson
Real Partnership, Real Value
Above all, the intent of Premier Lending Desk is to provide real, tangible collaboration for Citibank’s real estate partners.
“This is one of our single biggest value propositions to a potential partner,” says Al Miller, senior vice president of the Citibank Partnership Channel. “When you look at the biggest challenges that face real estate firms today, among them is the cost of lead acquisition and conversion. The average professional does not have a good long-term incubation system. As leads come into the real estate office and are disseminated out to agents, if for some reason the consumer is not ready to transact, it’s probably fairly common for those leads to get put on the back burner by both the agent and loan officer. Premier Lending Desk streamlines the incubation process for the agent. Perhaps a person can’t get pre-approved or maybe they have issues around credit—we will work with them to help them address the issue. It might take three, six, nine or 18 months—but when the customer is ready to move forward, we connect them back to that same agent and loan officer.”
Citibank believes its unique approach to its retail partnerships helps to redefine the traditional boundaries of the home financing process by coherently addressing all the relevant steps¬—from the point of early online shopping to the loan closing. What’s more, from start to finish, the Premier Lending Desk strategy ensures that the real estate firm’s branding is present throughout the lead management process. This makes for a natural hand-off back to the real estate firm the consumer initially contacted for information.
“All the activity remains within the partnership,” explains Ellinthorpe. “When a consumer clicks or calls, both are coded specifically to said real estate firm. From the coding, our team knows exactly where the consumer came from and is then able to personalize the communication with the prospect to that real estate firm. So once you’re in our database, you’re coded as having come from real estate firm ABC, and when you’re ready to transact, we put you back in touch with real estate firm ABC.”
In addition to branding, agents also benefit from ongoing metrics and feedback built into the Premier Lending Desk system, as well as best practices culled from Citibank’s real estate partnership channel.