Although many financial institutions have embraced the power of process automation as they navigate the path to digital-first operations, a significant number still struggle with at least some efficiency-draining manual processes. Differing priorities and varying definitions of “digital transformation” are primary culprits, especially within the diverse financial services arena. For example, a processing centre might consider paper-free to be the priority, whereas a retail bank might consider a mobile-first customer experience to be the driving force behind their transformation strategy.
It is essential, therefore, that both the overall vision and the first priority “fixes” are clearly defined from the beginning—whether that’s enhancing customer engagement, driving new business, cutting costs or reducing risk. Keep in mind that the most successful strategies always consider the entire operational workflow too, from the customer-facing front office to the engine-room back office.
Putting Software Robots to Work
A key technology within a comprehensive process transformation strategy, particularly in areas such as mortgage origination and processing, is robotic process automation (RPA). RPA employs software robots to automate repetitive tasks and manual processes—enhancing the work of employees by interacting with websites, business and desktop applications, databases and people to execute repetitive and often mundane work. While loan origination systems often do a good job of pushing data to many vendors, lenders still spend a significant amount of time manually entering data, copying notes, separating and saving documents into repositories, and retyping information into borrower and loan officer communications. All of this manual data entry inevitably creates delays and errors, leading to customer—and employee—dissatisfaction and disengagement.
RPA streamlines the mortgage process by driving automation in both the front and back offices. This is an essential consideration; for example, if all of the focus were to be placed on the front office processes, opportunities to increase customer engagement, drive down costs, remain competitive and ensure compliance could be missed. When the focus is the entire process workflow, improvements achieved during customer onboarding in the branch office, online or via mobile devices will cascade through the back office processes (such as loan approval, underwriting and closing).
Moving the Needle Toward Digital Mortgage Lending
The goal should be to move the needle towards a digital mortgage process that creates value along every step of the customer journey. Leveraging software robots can help lenders meet loan quality, compliance and cost challenges head on—and realise a faster time to revenue.
Software robots can be deployed to handle various mortgage lending tasks quickly and efficiently, working as a “digital workforce” to acquire data from any system without the need for human intervention. Since the manual tasks are delegated to the digital workers, human loan operations personnel can instead focus on the more vital details of loan applications. The end result is a smarter business operation: data is more accurate, reporting metrics is better tracked, and operational costs and timelines are reduced. Employee satisfaction typically increases as well, since work tasks are more strategic and higher-value.
Benefits of digital mortgage lending:
Reduced time to revenue
Using software robots for automatic collection and cleansing of loan data, loan applications are approved quickly and generate revenue faster. This reduces the likelihood of an applicant shopping around for other offers
Enhanced customer engagement
Faster collection of required data is proven to accelerate loan approvals. In turn, this enhances customer engagement and satisfaction.
Lower operational costs and increased efficiency
Errors are reduced throughout operations. For example, when automation is introduced into the mortgage origination process, manual tasks and costs can also be reduced in the post-closing process.
Better compliance and lower risk
Digital loan files can be automatically packaged as part of the quality control and audit review process, further streamlining audit processes.
Taking RPA to the Next Level with Intelligent Automation
Although many companies that are implementing only RPA to automate processes are realising significant benefits, many are choosing to think beyond RPA. Robotics is important, but the pre-and post-RPA operation cannot be ignored.
Intelligent Automation enables enterprises to realise the full return that investment in RPA promises, by aggregating the complementary technologies RPA requires to manage robot teams and scale them throughout the enterprise. These include process orchestration, cognitive capture, advanced analytics, communications, multi-channel capture and e-signature — together they drive maximum business value.
Here’s a checklist to help you chart your own path:
- Look for areas in which you can eliminate manual data entry or other tasks
- Ensure integration of not only systems of engagement and systems of record, but also external data sources
- Consider the impact of any process change on the entire customer journey
- Offer self-service capabilities to meet on-the-go demands of customers
- Personalise customer communications and offers by efficient use of customer data
- Strive for a straight-through processing design framework
- Facilitate collaboration between the front and back office
- Look for areas of continuous improvement, such as customer dashboards and mobile options
A smart process automation strategy is essential for financial organisations to remain competitive. RPA delivers significant value, yet many forward-looking businesses are seeking a way to achieve more. With an Intelligent Automation platform, financial institutions can drive the end-to-end business value that executives increasingly demand by leveraging next-generation RPA to build the digital lending workforce of tomorrow.
Jim Close, Regional Vice President, UK and Ireland, Kofax.