How Legacy Funeral Group and LendingUSA partner to provide unparalleled service to local families.
How does one of the largest groups in the death care industry help their funeral homes grow? How do they continue to improve the outstanding service provided by their funeral homes?
In 2016, the leadership team at Legacy Funeral Group found a way to achieve both growth and service goals by partnering with leading at-need financing provider, LendingUSA.
Legacy Funeral Group understands that a family’s satisfaction is shaped by compassion and the ease of service. They also realize that many factors go into how a family chooses to pay for funeral arrangements.
Although many elements are beyond a family’s control, such as timing and amount of death benefit payout, other factors may be more about preference or financial circumstances.
It became clear that a low monthly payment option for funeral arrangements should be more readily available, just as they are for nearly every other major purchase.
In addition to exceeding service expectations, sustainable business growth is also top-of-mind for Legacy Funeral Group. At-need financing helps families choose exactly the kind of funeral they want to honor their loved one, while ensuring the funeral home is paid quickly and upfront for services rendered.
Great Partnerships, Great Relationships
LendingUSA’s Senior Relationship Manager, Elaine Valdez, recently spoke with Bill Vallie, West Texas Regional Manager for Legacy Funeral Group, about the companies’ partnership. Bill’s extensive experience in the industry makes his perspective particularly valuable to funeral directors who may be considering whether to offer at-need financing.
In this excerpt from Elaine and Bill’s conversation, find out what led to Bill’s initial decision to offer financing, why he chose LendingUSA, and how Legacy’s funeral homes have benefited:
Q: Why did you decide it was time for Legacy Funeral Group’s funeral homes to offer at-need financing?
A: Our clients today are either financially set or not. It has come to a point that an alternative source for payment is needed for many of our families
Q: How have general consumer expectations and payment trends influenced the funeral industry?
A: As is the case in the medical community, payment at time of service is now expected. Many of our families need to split the amount due between siblings and LendingUSA makes this a great way for them to take care of the charges.
Q: So, you’re saying that families need flexibility with how they pay?
A: Yes, no one form of payment can fit everyone’s situation.
Q: What scenarios commonly lead to a Legacy funeral client choosing to finance their loved one’s funeral — delayed insurance payment, lack of pre-need planning, unexpected financial circumstance, etc.?
A: Generally, we’ve seen that families who need payment flexibility may not want to put the charges on their credit card or go to the bank for financing. The extremely simple application process is convenient for a family to complete at the arrangement conference or prior, to know they can secure payment for the funeral of their loved one.
Q: What specific factors did you consider when looking for a financing partner?
A: Signing up needed to be simple. When first applying, our families needed a “soft inquiry” into their credit so as not to flag their account. And the one factor that really sold Legacy Funeral Group was no liability of pay-back in the event of default from the client.
Q: Were there any questions or misperceptions from your funeral directors when Legacy Group began offering financing?
A: One big one — “This is too good to be true!” However, after detailed conversation with representatives from LendingUSA and assurances that what they were saying was true, we ventured out and tested the program at a select few locations. After the great success at the test locations, Michael Soper, CEO of Legacy Funeral Group, opened up the entire company to the program. It’s been a great success.
Q: What kind of feedback do you get from your funeral directors and clients when Lending USA’s financing is the chosen payment option?
A: Funeral directors have commented how easy the application process is. They also find that even if the client family was not approved for financing, they feel much more comfortable about requiring payment at the arrangement conference. Client families appreciate the “soft inquiry” to their credit score and most of all the ability to utilize the interest fee period.
Q: What’s been the biggest benefit to your business?
A: Securing accounts with a simple easy process for our funeral directors and client families.
Q: What would you tell a funeral director considering whether to offer at-need financing as a payment option?
A: When we were first told about LendingUSA our comment was — “This is too good to be true, what’s the catch?” And that’s the comment we make to funeral directors who we speak to about LendingUSA. We’ve been a member of the LendingUSA family for a number of years now and everything they told us has been true and correct.
We suggest that funeral directors try it out, to make it easier for their families and themselves. They’ll be glad they joined the family of funeral homes offering LendingUSA to client families.
The Bottom Line
At-need financing not only benefits your bottom line, it also provides a convenient option to help more client families, grow your revenue, and eliminate collection and recourse headaches.
In 2019, there are endless options for nearly everything in life, why should paying for a funeral be any different? Today’s consumers expect ease, flexibility, and affordability in all transactions. At-need financing is a simple, easy way to meet this need in the funeral home. FBA
LendingUSA is the largest and fastest growing funeral financing solution in the country, and the only financing option of its kind to be exclusively endorsed by the NFDA. Its mission is to redefine how families pay for funerals, with pre-approval decisions in seconds and fast, direct funding to funeral homes. For more information about LendingUSA, you can call (866) 445-1208 or visit lendingusa.com/funeralbusinessadvisor
About Legacy Funeral Group
One of the most trusted names in the death care industry, Legacy Funeral Group manages funeral homes across the country, providing meaningful end-of-life services to clients and their families.