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Management Strategies

10:50 AM
Will Barret, Bank of Tennessee
Will Barret, Bank of Tennessee

Automating Mortgage Loan Processes for Faster, Mobile Client Service

The Bank of Tennessee has rebuilt the IT infrastructure behind its lending operations to help it compete with bigger banks.

Regulation is making it increasing challenging for community banks to meet profitability goals, while mobile and Web offerings from the major players can lure away even the most loyal customers. The Bank of Tennessee (BofT) has taken on a software strategy to let it compete with larger banks. That strategy – business process management with mobile and social capability – has already given us a 30 percent improvement in loan processing. Better still, our loan officers are now truly mobile, and can offer loan processing and collaboration with our clients from almost anywhere.

BofT has been a financial services leader in the greater Tri-Cities area since 1974. Through a commitment to customer satisfaction, we have grown to over 240 professionals in 20 locations. We have $900 million in assets and over 30 loan officers.

We’re committed to delivering the best in performance for satisfying customer requests and understanding customer expectations. A priority for all our employees is personal accountability for loan management, with the highest standards of behavior, honesty and fairness.

BofT competes with larger regional and national banks that have larger technology resources allowing them to offer superior speed and customer responsiveness as compared to many community banks. Therefore, it was important to enhance our external customer experience by accelerating key internal processes. After interest rates, the primary thing our customers care about is speed. They want to be able to close their home or commercial loan and get their funds as quickly as possible.

Improving Systems and Adding a Social Component

We knew BPM-based process improvement was the place to start, but we also wanted to create a more mobile and collaborative enterprise social environment. BofT’s mortgage process was the best place to begin with improvements, because of its importance to the organization and its complexity. Our existing process was complicated by manual hand-offs, paper-based systems, limited process visibility, and lack of consistent and sustained communications.

We wanted BPM for core process improvement and we wanted to be more mobile and to use social technology, but we didn’t have a good implementation plan to do it all. Given the comparatively modest size of BofT’s IT department and other resources, we couldn’t follow the same implementation path as many large banks; that would have meant considerable customization and a large financial investment both upfront and ongoing. Instead, we chose to go with a solution that already included our key requirements, while being affordable to develop and support.

We selected Appian as a vendor partner. The company brings social collaboration into a business process-centric context. That gave us access to mobile and social features, and capabilities in comprehensive dynamic case management.

Creating an Automated Mortgage Loan Origination System

Loan origination combines structured automation and unstructured human interaction and collaboration. It also creates volumes of paperwork that must be reviewed, approved and maintained. We were able to use business process management to improve the efficiency of straight-through processing using business rules, alerts, escalations, other features built into the platform. The ability to present enterprise data via a simple social interface, within the context of established business processes increases the speed and quality of human collaboration and decision-making for cases that involve exceptions to standard policies.

We began by building our new mortgage loan origination application in the cloud. This allowed our team to jump-start development while we waited for on-premise hardware to be provisioned. Once that was done, the entire cloud application was moved behind the BofT firewall for deployment.

By combining BPM work automation with innovative capabilities in social, mobile, cloud and data technologies, we were able to centralize all BofT’s mortgage-related communication, processes and data into one platform. Loan officers, managers and customers can collaborate together to get work done more quickly. Automation and flexible business rules, allowed us to eliminate our reliance on various paper forms, faxes, emails, and snail mail.

Dynamic case management and structured automation means better interaction between loan officer and customer. Best of all, that process sophistication is available on an iPad/iPhone, Android or BlackBerry. Our loan officers can interact with customers to initiate, check on, or modify a loan request from anywhere.

Dramatic Improvements

Since creating this new mortgage loan origination system, BofT has seen a 30 percent acceleration of mortgage loan approvals, which is a dramatic improvement in our customer experience. We have eliminated multiple days of work and duplication in the process, and have automatically enabled work to move to the next step in the process. We’re also enjoying other benefits, such as full process visibility, increased data quality, less re-work, and decreased training times.

This improved loan management system helps us achieve our mission-critical business objectives while integrating disparate legacy systems. We can now overlay these systems with a more flexible, natively-mobile architecture and social interface. Our loan officers can now process mortgage loans anywhere, with an improved workflow system that gives them the tools they need to increase efficiency and collaborate with customers through a simple, user-friendly social interface.

Will Barret is the senior operations officer for the Bank of Tennessee.

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