RPA-as-a-Service: Solutions, Not Licenses

Alex Cummings News

Avery Fisher, HPA’s chief executive officer, joined John Webber, managing director at Wavestone, on a recent webcast to discuss the key differences between licensed RPA and RPA-as-a-Service, and how mortgage lenders could benefit from the RPA-as-a-Service model. Joining the webcast was Jane Borbee, senior vice president of operations at Homestead Funding, to share her perspective on RPA-as-a-Service as a client of HPA.

As Webber states early in the webinar “Gartner predicts some 90% of large organizations worldwide will be using some form of RPA by 2022.” That trend is certainly reflected in the mortgage industry. RPA, or Robotic Process Automation, has seen impressive rates of adoption amongst U.S. lenders looking to digitize operations to optimize per-loan costs and accelerate loan cycles.

As Fisher points out, there are key differences between in-house RPA implementations versus RPA-as-a-Service. It’s important for lenders to understand how the two models can impede or accelerate their RPA initiatives, as well as which approach is the best fit for their long-term strategy and digital transformation initiatives.

Here are some considerations when evaluating each model:

  • How do we maximize our limited resources to modernize and digitize the loan experience?
  • Do we have the right people in place? Do current employees have automation expertise and the bandwidth to take on an RPA initiative?
  • Can we afford to hire, retain, and train the right domain experts to drive our automation program and scale it over time?
  • Is our data reliable? Can the data we rely on to do business be easily digitized?
  • Is RPA a core competency or a distraction from achieving a truly native digital transformation that starts with IT and permeates to all other departments in the organization?
  • Can we afford robot downtime? Continuous change management?
  • Do we have the buy-in and support from company leaders to funnel resources into managing RPA on our own?

How do lenders benefit from HPA’s RPA-as-a-Service model?

HPA acts as a client’s automation Center of Excellence. The HPA team has a combined 30 years of experience in the mortgage industry and brings that deep domain expertise into every client engagement. The risk associated with RPA also falls to HPA. They evaluate, build, test, and operate client RPA initiatives so lenders can stay focused on what they do best: providing excellent service to borrowers.

Perhaps the biggest benefit to lenders is HPA’s extensive repository of pre-built, customizable mortgage robots, accelerators, and connectors. HPA can automate roughly 80% of the loan origination cycle to provide dramatic operational improvements to lenders in a short amount of time. HPA’s robot architecture is designed to be highly reusable, fully customizable, and easy to maintain. Advanced hybrid automation methods are also used to eliminate the change management associated with application updates. All these factors translate to quick implementation, reduced robot maintenance, faster processing times, optimal infrastructure consumption, and a lower total cost of ownership.

Homestead Funding’s Experience with RPA-as-a-Service

Homestead Funding is headquartered in Albany, New York and licensed in 43 states across the US. In 2020, Homestead originated over $4 billion in loans. With its forward-thinking approach to innovation, the lender was motivated to explore new technologies to improve service levels, customer experience, and speed time to close.

Jane explained that initially she wasn’t looking for an RPA solution, but when she met HPA at a conference, the conversation quickly turned into a partnership that will truly modernized Homestead’s loan production. One of the key aspects that stands out to Jane is the level of personalization and the speed with which HPA adapted to Homestead’s processes. “I’m proud to say that we’re working with HPA on our third robot. The process and progress is fantastic,” said Borbee.

Post-implementation with HPA, three key benefits of RPA-as-a-Service stood out:

  • Staff flexibility – Now that Homestead depends on robots to handle fluctuations in loan volume, staff have more flexibility to focus on borrowers, more complex loans, or other areas of business.
  • 24/7, “always on” automation – Many processes throughout the loan cycle are time-sensitive. HPA robots are always on, processing work day and night, on weekends and holidays.
  • Increased quality – Robots enhance loan processing accuracy so that Homestead can provide the best level of service to borrowers as possible.

Homestead receives daily robot outcome reports, as well as highly-detailed audit logs with more granular detail about every aspect of the robot job including process step execution and timestamps, data sets, validation results, and environment diagnostics. The HPA and Homestead teams also stay in regular contact to monitor the program’s success and plan for future expansion.

Homestead’s first robot, Initial Closing Disclosures, consistently saves the lender $8,000 and more than 1,800 manual processing hours every month. The Lock Recording robot went live in April and Clear to Close Prep robot is scheduled to go live in late July of this year.