Walker & Dunlop streamlines and secures loans
Improving collaboration across the entire lending and sales lifecycle
KEY USE CASES
Asset creation and distribution
Digital client exchange
PRODUCTS & INTEGRATIONS
Employees collaborate with Box
Key app integrations, including Salesforce
The company needed a single, secure content management system to streamline access and collaboration for hundreds of billions of dollars of CRE financing and servicing transactions
With much of the lending and property sales happening in Salesforce, teams required a platform that seamlessly integrated with the CRM tool
Walker & Dunlop sought a long-term investment in a cloud-based platform to store millions of business-critical documents
The Content Cloud simplifies work for Walker & Dunlop with a single source of truth for critical content
One secure platform enhances productivity by enabling borrowers and internal staff to collaborate during the loan process
A uniform structure across files and folders in Salesforce helps teams speed up the loan lifecycle
Creating order from decades of complexity
Walker & Dunlop is in the business of financing communities — where people live, work, shop, and play. In 2021, the company successfully transacted on $68B worth of apartment, office, retail, industrial, and hotel properties, placing it in the top three of all commercial real estate finance and sales companies.
Furthermore, the company has grown rapidly — more than doubling in size during the last five years — to exceed $1B in revenue in 2021. With year-over-year double-digit percentage growth came growing pains for the technology, sales, and servicing teams. The sheer volume of financing and the complexity of every transaction created an exponential increase in files, documents, and other digital media. The company struggled to find a solution to keep up with the digital paper chase and make internal and external collaboration secure, simple, and easy.
It became apparent that the company needed a smarter content management system to match its transformative approach to business. Among key requirements, the platform had to support virtual collaboration across 1,200+ U.S. employees working in 40 locations across the country, while integrating securely with tools like Salesforce. Following an extensive search, Walker & Dunlop selected Box.
One secure platform for an abundance of content
Walker & Dunlop’s transaction volume was over $68B in loans and property sales in 2021. Additionally, W&D has one of the largest servicing portfolios in the USA with over $115B of loans. Over the years, the company has accumulated millions of documents totalling more than 53.4TB of content, now stored in Box
“There's a huge amount of documentation that’s required to process a commercial real estate finance transaction,” says Michael Glick, Senior Vice President, Engineering, WDTech, Walker & Dunlop. “Throughout the years, we’ve made some attempts to organize it all into one platform, but nothing really worked. It wasn't consistent. It’s similar to when you've lived in your house for many decades and you try to figure out where you put something away a while back. It could be in the attic, or in a box in the basement, or in the garage.”
Walker & Dunlop needed a system to simply and securely remedy this issue, and the Content Cloud delivered.
Leveraging the power of the Box and Salesforce integration
Salesforce is Walker & Dunlop’s customer relationship management system and key pipeline application for managing the life of every loan, from origination to closing and servicing, as well as investment sales listings. The majority of employees at the company use Salesforce daily, working on loan and listing transactions. This requires a complex folder and permissions configuration, managed dynamically and driven by Salesforce data and actions. All of the content related to those categories needs to be saved in corresponding folders.
“We really didn't have a good system for organizing transactional documents,” Glick says, describing the challenge. “The documents were all over the place. We needed to initiate some sort of process so that everything was in one place and people could readily put their hands on what they needed to access — without having to spend time and energy hunting for it. So when we were looking for a content management platform, one of our top priorities was that it integrated seamlessly with Salesforce. We didn’t want to have to use a whole bunch of duct tape and bubble gum to glue the system together. Now, with Box, we can get to the documents we need directly from Salesforce.”
Checking off all the benefits for Walker & Dunlop
Bailey Russell is currently a product owner at Walker & Dunlop who has worked at the company for five years. She says it’s much easier to access content now that the company uses Box.
“Prior to Box, we didn’t have a mobile app, so it was very challenging to access content on the go,” says Russell. “I remember emailing myself copies of documents that I needed to access after hours because that was the only way I could get them on my mobile device. Once we started working remotely, Box was a game changer. It’s so much easier for our users to access documents on their phones or other personal devices instead of being on the Walker & Dunlop network, especially in a flexible work environment.”
Since a key aspect of the Walker & Dunlop transaction process involves heavy collaboration with clients and internal staff across different kinds of documents, a cloud-based platform was the best choice to meet workplace needs.
“It had to be robust in the sense that it needed to provide good uptime, excellent scalability, and also solid security,” says Glick. “Those were our main checkmarks. And we looked for a company that we felt was going to be around for a long time to come.”
We were going to make a major investment and we needed to have a high level of confidence in the solution. Box was the one choice that checked all of the things on our list.
Box in action with Salesforce
Walker & Dunlop integrates Box into its Salesforce workflow to drive a programmatic lifecycle, given that most organizations just use Salesforce as a trigger for creating folders for account-related content. By truly governing the overall lifecycle of an opportunity, the firm provides loan processing users with a one-stop-shop for desired controls.
Glick sees the way that Box now fits into the lifespan of a Walker & Dunlop opportunity as simple and frictionless.
As soon as an opportunity gets created, Box automatically produces a predefined folder structure based on rules established by the firm. The end result is a defined structure that's tailored to the life of the loan opportunity.
“Once a user clicks on the opportunity’s Box tab, the user is directed in that opportunity’s folder structure and can start working right away. This has been a huge boost to our productivity at Walker & Dunlop.”
Creating a transformative approach to business with Box Consulting
Once Walker & Dunlop decided to deploy Box to all of its employees, management realized the potential complexities of migrating all their content from so many different teams. Each team had been using very different folder structures and had different roles.
“There was content all over the place, so it took a lot of planning and change management to migrate to Box,” says Russell. “Box Consulting encouraged us to identify content leads in each team at W&D and develop future-state folder structures. We met with the content leads to figure out where their team stored content, what permissions were required, and what they needed moving forward. The Box migration was also a great opportunity to clean up historical content. Collaborating with Box Consulting along the way helped us tremendously with change management and in the technical pieces of each migration.”
Russell was very appreciative of the Box Consulting team.
“Box Consulting was very responsive, answered all of our questions, and we had open lines of communication with them, even on the weekends. They were awesome; I loved working with them.”
Now that the company has successfully migrated to Box, Glick and Russell say they are well positioned to hit the next set of ambitious growth goals outlined by the CEO Willy Walker. Walker's stated target is to double to company size again by 2025, and Box will be an essential solution and business partner in that journey.