RPA and Smart Automation
Cenlar Enters The Robot Revolution In Mortgage Servicing
As the largest, long-standing mortgage subservicer in the United States, Cenlar FSB currently services residential mortgages across the nation. With a diverse client portfolio of banks, mortgage companies and credit unions, the company performs all loan servicing duties on behalf of its clients.
Understanding the reality of doing business in a constantly evolving digital landscape, the Cenlar team was at the forefront of developing solutions to better help their employees do their jobs smarter and improve on their delivery of solutions to clients and their homeowners.
THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIP
One of the first candidates for automation was the incoming wire process. Cenlar receives thousands of incoming wires each month, with the Payoff Processing team working long hours to manually process requests on the same business day they are received. Manual work included hourly checks of the wire processing system for new wires, hands-on file conversion and data corrections, assignment to wire processors, processing of wires into the loan servicing system, and finally reconciliation of results for accuracy.
The team’s main objectives in automating this cumbersome process were to reduce employee overtime and manual effort, and improve overall efficiency and operational performance.
“We conducted a thorough process to identify a partner who could help us leverage technology to drive operational effectiveness through automation,” said Josh Reicher, Chief Digital Officer. “Our goal is to integrate RPA software across the company to help eliminate tedious tasks and increase efficiency, and we selected Accelirate because of their industry expertise and proven track record with the company’s RPA tool UiPath.”
BUSINESS CASE STUDY: INCOMING WIRES
Over the past year, Cenlar has embarked on a digital transformation journey to automate critical business processes within various divisions, however, the company has always been a keen adopter of innovation. Robotic Process Automation (RPA) is the most recent addition to Cenlar’s digital transformation program that already utilizes other technologies such as chatbots and enterprise data analytics platforms.
To identify automation targets, Cenlar partnered with an industry automation expert at Hammerhead Technology. Together they identified a pipeline of opportunities for automation, prioritized, mapped out and reengineered processes for an optimal solution. Cenlar’s strategic objective was to streamline critical internal processes while continuing to provide services as efficiently as possible. After a rigorous research and evaluation process, Accelirate was chosen as Cenlar’s delivery partner for its extensive experience in the industry, its sole focus on process automation, and its proven expertise in establishing a strong Center of Excellence (COE) framework.
“We started with automating a process that involved repetitive manual work,” said Ahmed Zaidi, Accelirate CEO. “Our purpose with this was not only to deliver measurable efficiency gains, but to demonstrate the suitability of the UiPath automation platform and kickstart the rest of the client’s automation program.”
Accelirate’s automated solution is comprised of two parts – a Dispatcher Bot, and a Performer Bot. The Dispatcher Bot checks the wire processing system on an hourly basis for incoming wires. A PDF is then generated each time a new wire comes in and wires are grouped into batches.
Using Optical Character Recognition (OCR), the Bot scans the data fields in each wire PDF for information including the account number and loan number. If the Bot is unable to validate a field, it notifies Cenlar that manual review is needed. All wires that have been successfully validated by the Dispatcher Bot are then sent to a queue in UiPath’s Orchestrator tool to be processed by the Performer Bot.
The Performer Bot executes the script to process incoming wires by the batch. A key component of Accelirate’s solution for this step was the use of UiPath Robotic Enterprise Framework, which simplifies queue-based transaction processing. Robotic Enterprise Framework provides the ability to find an individual transaction within a batch and process it, and to retry failed transactions when required, making high-volume processes more efficient. This queue mechanism and individual transaction processing provided far greater control over the process. Now, if 20 wires within a batch are unable to be processed by the Performer Bot, the Bot will continue to process the remaining 80 wires in the batch, rather than getting stuck on the failed transactions and delaying the rest of the batch from processing.
After processing all wires, the Bot performs reconciliation and then generates a reconciliation file and sends it to the business. Any rejected wires are sent to the Reject Processor for research and/or manual processing.
THE TRANSFORMATIVE POWER OF RPA
Streamlining this process with RPA helped Cenlar to automate the process and greatly reduce the need for manual report pulls, reconciliations, spreadsheet manipulation, and email assignments, which allowed them to focus their efforts on exceptions.
Leveraging the game changing, scalable power of RPA not only enhanced productivity and the customer experience for this process, it also acted as a catalyst for Cenlar’s larger transformation initiative, enabling the team to begin their considerations for other areas that could benefit from automation.
“The loan administration and subservicing space is full of opportunities for process automation, we see a lot of potential here,” said Zaidi. “As the nation’s leading loan subservicing provider, Cenlar has a unique opportunity to leverage RPA and other cognitive technologies for maximum business impact. As we map out the next steps, our strategic approach for the future includes more than RPA – it’s a larger strategy that includes components like API integrations, Machine Learning, OCR, and other tools that all work together to enhance processes. This is just the beginning!”
“There are many everyday processes in mortgage subservicing that can be automated, resulting in improved effectiveness,” said Reicher. “At Cenlar, we are developing an Automation Factory designed to automate business tasks, increase productivity, and create an engaged workforce trained with new-age technologies. Our Automation Factory will drive operational effectiveness, increase client satisfaction through consistency and accuracy, improve our risk profile by automating manual controls, and most importantly, drive employee satisfaction by creating opportunities to learn new skills and work on non-repetitive tasks.”
“Our move to automate certain processes within the organization also comes at a critical time as the closely-regulated mortgage industry evolves to support post-pandemic activity and meet the digital demands of tech-savvy customers,” Reicher added.
“We’re proud of the strong partnership we’ve built with Cenlar, and look forward to continuing to provide solutions and build out their automation program,” said Zaidi.
BY THE NUMBERS
- Automatically Process 85% + of Wire Payments
- 51% Reduction in Processing Time
- Bot Spends 16 Seconds Processing a Single Wire
- Bot Processes a Batch of 100 Wires in 27 minutes
This enables for better employee satisfaction. Clients also benefit from Cenlar employees spending more time on needs that require special attention than entering tasks manually.