Expanding credit access to more Floridians for personal and auto refinance loans
How Drummond acquired 3600 new
customers and expanded into new products.
As a traditional community bank in the North Florida area, Drummond Community Bank did not think that fintech partnerships would be in the cards. Then, the pandemic struck.
Though Drummond had strong real estate and commercial portfolios, these long-term, fixed rate assets became more and more difficult to retain during the pandemic’s low interest rate environment. Like many other institutions, Drummond was also flush with cash.
Executives at Drummond knew they needed to diversify their portfolio into a more consumer-centric channel to grow and meet earnings, while better serving the needs of their various communities. However, as a bank approaching $1 billion in total assets without a lot of resources to build out a digital experience, Drummond was challenged to deliver consumer loans at scale.
They knew it was time to find the right fintech partner, and it soon became clear Upstart was the right choice.
Tapping into fintech resources
For community banks, one of the biggest hurdles in launching a consumer lending program is having enough resources. Upstart presented the opportunity for Drummond to offer consumer loans and acquire new customers through the Upstart Referral Network without having to bolster their staff.
An additional aspect that drew Drummond to Upstart was the servicing component of the relationship. Since Upstart manages all servicing on behalf of Drummond, they knew this would be an advantage that allowed them to effectively serve their customers through a best-in-class servicing and collections model, while leveraging the Drummond brand across phone, email and an intuitive, user-friendly dashboard that empowers borrowers to manage their loans with ease. With Upstart servicing the loans on the bank’s behalf, Drummond could maintain a large consumer loan portfolio without needing to train, deploy and manage additional resources to handle the new volume.
Above all, Drummond saw value in the nexus of why Upstart was formed – to expand access to affordable credit and lend more inclusively in North Florida using AI-powered underwriting. Unlike other programs, Drummond liked that they would have full control over configuring their credit box according to their own risk appetite, allowing them to expand access to credit in a safe manner. This instilled confidence that Upstart’s model would price their borrowers appropriately while lending more inclusively.
Once Drummond decided to move forward with both the Upstart Referral Network and the white label solution on its own bank website for both personal and auto loans, they were able to go-live on the Referral Network for personal loans in under three months.
An incremental approach towards a more inclusive lending program
Once partnered with Upstart, Drummond was impressed with the collaborative and open nature of Upstart’s team. They received full insight into Upstart’s model governance and monthly testing approach to ensure loan performance over time, as the model continues to improve.
In order to get comfortable with Upstart’s model, Drummond took an incremental approach. Drummond began by originating $1 million of personal loans per month before doubling and then tripling that volume to $3 million per month. Matt Gallman, VP Strategic Innovation Officer, describes that beginning with the Upstart Referral Network for personal loans was a “great way to understand how the program and pipes were working” before going live on the white label solution for personal loans in September 2021 and auto refinance in mid-November 2021 on its own bank website.
Additionally, prior to partnering with Upstart, a minimum FICO score was a hard disqualifier for the bank. As Drummond worked closely with Upstart to gradually lower their minimum FICO, they realized they saw more approvals while limiting losses. “Upstart can provide less risky loans while staying within our own risk parameters,” Gallman said. To date, Drummond’s portfolio is performing 40 percent better than expected losses.
Drummond’s portfolio is performing 40% better than expected losses.
Since Upstart helped the bank navigate lower risk tiers, Drummond was able to lend more inclusively with the protection of the model, which priced the true risk of the applicant. “Upstart taught us that risk management isn’t about avoiding risk – it’s about managing and capitalizing on opportunities and adding certainty to areas of uncertainty,” Gallman explained
Upstart taught us that risk management isn’t about avoiding risk – it’s about managing and capitalizing on opportunities and adding certainty to areas of uncertainty.
VP, Strategic Innovation Officer
Scaling an auto refinance portfolio
After observing the success of the personal loan program for both the Upstart Referral Network and the white label solution powered by Upstart on its own website, Drummond implemented Upstart’s automotive refinance solution for both channels.
Prior to the partnership with Upstart, auto loans were only a small percentage of Drummond’s existing portfolio due to the complexity of the process and the difficulty in balancing competitive prices with profitability.
Drummond was able to grow their auto loan portfolio by 6x and help customers save money immediately once they implemented Upstart’s Auto Refinance program.
To understand how the partnership would work and scale appropriately, Drummond began originating around $500,000 of auto loans per month before 6x-ing to $3 million per month after seeing months of success. Drummond was able to scale their auto program quickly when they saw how much demand there was in the market. They were also happy with how Upstart’s auto loans were able to diversify their portfolio with a secured asset that would balance out the growth they were seeing in unsecured personal loans.
Gallman explained that auto refinance presented an opportunity for its customers to save money on a monthly basis as well as improve their quality of life, by being able to better afford an auto loan and to access their desired vehicle. Additionally, with this solution, Drummond did not need to go out and develop relationships with auto dealerships; they could build a portfolio of secured loans without those indirect dealer relationships. Thus, this was an excellent opportunity to enter the market and better serve its customers and community.
Meeting customers at their point of need for acquisition and expansion opportunities
Ultimately, Upstart enabled Drummond to meet customers at their point of need – while they were researching loan products – creating a seamless borrower experience. Allowing potential borrowers to check their rate through a soft credit pull without impacting their credit, along with a mobile-centric application, potential borrowers were able to easily find loans through Drummond with as little friction as possible. Working with Upstart, Drummond also learned there were more ways from a marketing standpoint to deliver value to their local communities in Florida, Alabama and Georgia.
“I am extremely pleased and thankful for such a quick and amazing process that I’ve experienced with Drummond Bank! Exceptional.”
-Drummond Community Bank Trustpilot Review
Rather than pushing products, Drummond looked at the top use cases for personal loans and curated website pages that were outcome-oriented, describing how personal loans enabled consumers to consolidate debt. Similarly, Drummond’s auto refinance site focused on the opportunity for consumers to save money on their auto loans.
The reception from Drummond’s customers has been profound. One customer wrote, “Applied for a loan within minutes and got approved. No nonsense, just took 20 minutes.” Another said, “I am extremely pleased and thankful for such a quick and amazing process that I’ve experienced with Drummond Bank! Exceptional.”
Drummond has acquired over 3,600 new customers to deepen relationships with these new clients.
The Upstart Referral Network and white label solutions allowed Drummond to improve their ability to meet more needs of their existing clients both in-branch and online as well as acquire net new customers. Since partnering with Upstart, Drummond has acquired 2,775 new customers with personal loans and 848 new customers with auto loans and seized the opportunity to deepen relationships with these new clients.
Drummond has trained its branch staff to shift from a transactional to a more consultative, value-adding role, enabling them to meet the needs of their customers with relevant and innovative additional loan products in-branch and online.
Looking towards the future
As lenders approach economic headwinds such as rising rates, inflation and an end to stimulus, Drummond feels confident that Upstart’s model will help the bank continue to meet its loan volume and loss targets as it adjusts according to macroeconomic conditions leveraging data like unemployment data. “As we enter this period of macroeconomic stress and inflation, there’s going to be risk involved whether AI is used or not. The difference is Upstart performs stress testing using historical data, so even if we experience high unemployment, our numbers will be okay,” Gallman explained.
“Using technologies like AI and machine learning can help us better anticipate whether a customer can weather turbulence in their life,” Gallman explained. “Instead of looking at a static, historical point in time, we can now look towards the future since the model is always updating and adjusting in real-time.”