Michigan Saves has created a robust, statewide residential financing program that enables homeowners to finance the energy-efficiency and renewable energy improvements they want and need. To make this financing attractive and accessible to homeowners across the state, Michigan Saves provides a credit enhancement in the form of a loan loss reserve to private lenders. This credit enhancement helps offset potential defaults, allowing lenders to mitigate risk and offer attractive rates and terms that match the needs of the energy-efficiency and renewable energy market.

After nearly a decade of successfully leveraging private dollars to build our residential program, we have continued to add features and grow our contractor base so that even more Michigan families can benefit from safer, more comfortable spaces and smaller utility bills. As a result, Michigan Saves and our lending partners are experiencing accelerated growth. In order to meet this growing demand for energy improvements, we are conducting comprehensive updates to our platform technologies and inviting interested parties to provide lending support services for Michigan Saves and its participating lenders. Support services include accepting loan applications through a toll-free phone number and website, making loan decisions, and electronically transmitting application information to participating financing institutions for processing. Respondents may include organizations that provide:

  • Loan origination software solutions (for accepting applications on behalf of lenders)
  • Loan origination and call center support (either as one organization or two entities jointly bidding)
  • Call center services that use the selected loan origination software

Background


Overview of Michigan Saves

Michigan Saves is a nonprofit organization dedicated to making energy improvements easy and affordable for all Michigan energy consumers. To accomplish this, Michigan Saves leverages third-party capital with innovative credit enhancement mechanisms, authorizes a network of energy-efficiency and renewable energy system contractors, and monitors the program to track results and ensure continued success. Our current portfolio includes programs for residential, commercial, and municipal customers.

Michigan Saves manages a loan loss reserve fund that lenders and other financial entities can access in order to provide financing at more affordable rates and terms. Participating lenders currently include FreeStar Financial Credit Union, Genisys Credit Union, LAFCU, Lake Michigan Credit Union, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union, and Washtenaw Federal Credit Union. Financing is offered for energy-saving and renewable energy measures or improvements that address health and safety issues. Contractors authorized under the program are trained in financing options and requirements and promote the financing to their customers.

Michigan Saves manages the overall program and support functions, such as lender and contractor recruitment and enrollment, program development and design, branding/marketing, quality assurance, impact monitoring, and financial management of the loss reserve. Michigan Saves has grant funding from the Michigan Public Service Commission and the U.S. Department of Energy, as well as a small amount of program revenue (e.g., contractor fees), which is used to fund these activities, including the credit enhancements.

Goals

Michigan Saves has deployed more than $183 million in capital to support energy improvement projects to Michigan families, business owners, houses of worship, and municipal customers. By 2023, we expect to grow our total financing portfolio to $1 billion.

Michigan Saves launched its statewide residential program, the Home Energy Loan Program, in 2010. Since then, the program has flourished. From 2017 to 2018, we exceeded 60 percent year-over-year growth, and—by the end of February 2019—we financed more than 13,000 residential projects, valued at more than $130 million. We expect our monthly residential loan value to reach $5 million per month in 2019 and expect it to continue growing substantially over the next several years.

Scope of Work


A simple and fast loan application and decision process is key to the success of the program. To achieve this, we are seeking an entity, or entities, through this request for proposals (RFP) that can provide centralized lending support services for Michigan Saves and its network of lenders through a loan origination system and call center.

For loan origination providers:

  • Develop a Michigan Saves loan application that reflects the attached minimum program requirements and any other more stringent requirements set by participating lenders (which may vary from lender to lender). The application should be configurable in such a way that allows easy adaptation for new programs and/or lenders that may have different sets of underwriting or qualification criteria.
  • Accept loan applications on behalf of Michigan Saves and participating lenders via device-responsive Web applications
  • Preferably collect other documentation required by lenders (e.g., state-issued identification, proof of income, membership application)
  • Communicate loan decisions immediately (within minutes or even seconds) upon receiving the loan application submission via Web or phone
  • Transmit loan applications securely to appropriate financial institutions for processing via Application Programming Interface (API)
  • Transmit loan application data securely to the Michigan Saves online platform for program evaluation via HTTPS API, as close to real time as possible

For loan application call centers:

  • Use the selected loan origination software to accept loan applications on behalf of Michigan Saves and participating lenders via phone application, with preference for availability 24 hours a day, seven days a week

Selection Criteria


Michigan Saves expects to award the lending support services contract to an entity or entities that:

  1. Propose the best approach to the work, which will be evaluated by demonstrated ability and past experience in providing the required services, including:
    • Working effectively with and providing high-quality support services to multiple lending institutions
    • Developing a secure lending support system that protects data and prevents fraud
    • Providing high-quality customer service (e.g., timely phone answering, low call abandonment rates, friendly and knowledgeable customer service representatives, customizable scripts and customer interfaces)
    • Managing, ensuring security of, and allowing easy access for lenders and Michigan Saves to loan application and decision data
    • Creating a lending support system that is easy for contractors and customers to use, including live customer support to assist with Web applications, quick loan decisions, and a user-friendly loan application
    • Creating a lending support system that is easy for lenders and Michigan Saves to use, including creating and running customizable real-time reports, being able to modify the application and loan requirements, and seamlessly transferring loan application information to lenders
  1. Have the staff/resource capacity to conduct the proposed activities
  2. Are free from conflicts of interest
  3. Comply with all state and federal regulations

Submission Requirements


To respond to this RFP, please submit a narrative that:

  • Provides background on your company or companies, including length of time in business, financial performance, core competencies, and relevant policies/procedures (e.g., written information security plan, business continuity plan, disaster recovery plan, training policies, identity theft detection and prevention policies/procedures, and other security-related policies/procedures/plans)
  • Demonstrates understanding of the services sought in this RFP and articulates a proposed approach to the work (criterion one above)
  • Identifies your organization’s relevant past work, capacity, and expertise of proposed staff in a manner responsive to the scope of work
  • Includes a timeline and budget for the scope of work proposed and indicates whether fees are one time or recurring

You may include any other information that you believe Michigan Saves should consider. All responses will be treated as confidential. Michigan Saves is not liable for any costs incurred by applicants in responding to this RFP.

Please submit responses via email to Kait Wyckoff at kwyckoff@michigansaves.org.

Hard-copy responses may be sent to:

Kait Wyckoff
Michigan Saves
230 N. Washington Square, Ste. 300
Lansing, MI 48933

Electronic submission is preferred.

The deadline for response is 5:00 PM EST on Friday, July 12, 2019.

Timeline


After reviewing the responses, Michigan Saves may contact one or more respondents to initiate discussions and engage in negotiations regarding the scope of work, roles, and other details.

Attachment 1: Residential Requirements for Lenders