Ask a Mortgage Process Automation Expert – Part 2

MaryBeth Folger News

Frequently asked questions about RPA

Welcome back to Part 2 of our series “Ask a Mortgage Process Automation Expert”. If you missed Part 1 of the series, catch up here.

Today we sat down again with Nolan Johnson, one of HPA’s foremost mortgage process automation experts, to discuss the most common questions he receives from his clients about Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

Which tasks should be handled by robots versus employees?

This is a common point of confusion. It’s important for the client’s automation team to be intimately involved in the RPA initiative so they can help us define which processes robots should be handling, as well as what to do if a robot skips an item or fails to process an item (which is typically handled by passing the loan process to a human for review). After deciding which loans will be handled by the robots, it is critical for that information to be trickled down to employees. Without that alignment, there is a risk that an employee could begin work on a loan intended for the robot. This can lead to processing failures further along in the loan cycle, or cause a loan to be overlooked altogether. In short, open communication between project managers and operational employees is key to maintain a successful RPA program. HPA’s clients also benefit from robot outcome reports, sent multiple times a day to ensure the client team is informed about what the robots processed successfully, as well as any processing exceptions that will need to be handled manually by an employee.

How do lenders benefit from RPA-as-a-Service (RPAaaS) versus building the RPA program in-house?

My answer is similar each time I receive this question: Mortgage companies are not tech companies. Lenders are trying to run a business. They typically are not equipped with the time, expertise, and resources to build, operate, and maintain an RPA initiative. There are many considerations to be made with regards to maintaining a robotic workforce. How does the internal team identify when something goes wrong? Who is responsible for fixing it? How long will operations be down while the team troubleshoots the issue? Are there enough employees on-hand to process all the loans manually while the issue(s) is resolved? What should happen if the loan origination system crashes? There are simply too many things to keep track of in-house, especially when lenders’ core focus should be on delivering a superior borrower experience. Hiring an external RPA-as-a-Service (RPAaaS) provider like HPA keeps lenders focused on what really matters. Since HPA’s core business is automation, we guide the program with years of experience under our belts. We’ve built automation solutions for hundreds of companies, so there is no guesswork involved. Hiring RPAaaS experts can immediately infuse your automation strategy with maturity and scalability. Licensed RPA software providers give lenders no guarantee of automation success. Working with an RPAaaS provider reduces financial risk and accelerates the profitability of the program overall.

How can we speed up the RPA implementation process so my business can see results sooner?

Start with what you know: Processes that are stable and well-understood are much easier to automate. Adding new processes, even processes that employees don’t currently perform, can absolutely be done, but start with the ones that are stable today to prevent delays in implementation. You can always make adjustments to robots as your processes evolve over time. Another important thing to note, some senior leaders can be hesitant to pull employees or team leads from their work to help with the setup of an RPA solution. Providing a knowledgeable subject matter expert (SME) who can speak intelligently about processes can significantly speed up the robot lifecycle. Knowledge transfer from the SME to HPA’s automation team is critical for development. The designated SME will give feedback during the documentation process and testing results, allowing us to get your robots up and running much faster.

What types of loan origination tasks can be automated?

Any task that is high-volume and repetitive, rules-based, and stable can be automated. Robots can begin processing borrower applications the moment they are received, even if it’s 6 p.m. on a Friday. They can run 24/7/365, no breaks necessary. Robots interact best with standardized documents that are always in the same structure and format. Since robots automate work that would go through 10-15 departments for application processing, lenders can expect significantly shorter loan cycles, lower costs for borrowers, and decisions delivered much faster than traditional mortgage lenders can offer. Learn more about what to automate in originations.

Have additional questions for Nolan? He’ll answer them next time, so drop them in the comments below or connect on LinkedIn.