Principal created the Correspondent Lending Center, a Web site that connects to Principal's back-end systems and lets lenders upload loan-origination documents, generate reports, access mortgage rates, and manage sales pipelines. The site speeds up the generation of loans by removing much of the paperwork involved. More important, it helps lenders understand their customers and prospects better. Six out of 10 lenders who work with Principal have begun using the Web site since it was launched two months ago.
Principal works to give its customers what they want, CIO Williams says.
Principal also communicates with customers directly using polling tools on its Web site, with the results funneled back to the individual groups that can do something about them. That's led it to create new products, such as a retirement savings plan affiliated with QuickBooks, because many of its customers use the software for financial planning. Says Principal CIO Carl Williams, "We want to make sure that we're giving people what they really value as opposed to what we think they want."