The Business Opportunity
Early in the year 2000, PruBank began to sell home equity loans via a unique operational arrangement. First, it named PNC Financial Services Group as the exclusive originator and servicer for Prudential's home equity lending business. PNC is paid a fee to originate the loans and service them; Prudential provides the loan money and receives the interest paid. Second, it tackled the challenge of tying together its systems with those of PNC to effectively support the process of reviewing and closing on loan applications.
A unique solution was developed by several IT partners, including AcroVision. Consumers apply to Prudential Bank for loans or lines of credit through the PruBank web site, call center, or third parties. The loan applications are routed automatically to PNC, which processes them according to standards set by PruBank. The companies are connected by a secure network, and selected individuals within each company are able to access the information.
AcroVision designed and developed a workflow application that is shared by PNC and PruBank loan officers and their managers. When PNC's backend systems generate a new loan application, the information is automatically emailed to the workflow application. In addition, updates to the status of the loan application are also emailed to the workflow application. The emails are automatically processed, either creating new loan documents or updating existing loan documents. Loans are assigned a loan officer, who is granted special privileges to the loan document. Loan officers from both companies can access the loan documents, but they do not all have the same access privileges. Selected loan officers can update, enter comments, changes status, and send messages to appropriate counterparts in the process. Everyone is instantaneously updated on the progress of the application.
The tracking features are invaluable. Managers can access 'report' information which tracks the stages of each application versus PruBank standards. Prudential Financial Advisors and Representatives are automatically notified if a client has applied for a loan. Loans that require special attention by underwriters can be escalated by the click of a button. Loan Officers from both PNC and PruBank are aware of changes and issues with loan documents since they are automatically flagged.
The workflow application was delivered on time and within budget. Key design parameters were developed 'on-the-fly' to keep the project moving forward. Loan applications have been generated since the first day of release and volume has grown steadily. The application helps PruBank to shorten the approval cycle, to closely manage all aspects of its loan approval process, and to tie together the people from both companies who are making it happen. The joint venture operates seamlessly and securely, as if there was one company handling everything.
The users have been very happy with the systems overall, and the workflow portion of the setup in particular. There have been only relatively minor modifications and improvements to the system over the first few months. PruBank looks forward to the possibility of other profitable joint ventures with the confidence that seamless, secure, and reliable supporting systems can be quickly developed and deployed.