After Kodak (Rochester, N.Y.) stopped supporting business process management (BPM) software from its Eastman Software unit a couple of years ago, officials at Winnipeg, Canada-based Cambrian Credit Union ($924 million in assets) had to find a new solution to transmit sales information from the front offices of its 11 branches to its centralized loan processing and underwriting systems in the back office, relates Lynne Mackan-Roy, the credit union's VP of information systems and technology.
According to Mackan-Roy, when the credit union began researching solutions in mid-2004, few vendors offered a solution that met its requirements. Cambrian wanted a system that would integrate with its database and banking system using XML and the bank's intranet. Citing security reasons, Mackan-Roy declines to name the database provider, though she notes that Cambrian's banking system is Ovation from Fincentric (Richmond, B.C.). Mackan-Roy explains, however, that Cambrian has used the open source feature of the software for extensive customization, so the resulting application is far different from the product the credit union first installed.
A Helping Hand
In January 2005, the credit union decided to implement HandySoft Global Corp.'s (Vienna, Va.) BizFlow BPM software because it was easier to use and integrated better with Cambrian's banking system than the few competing systems that were available, according to Mackan-Roy. The BizFlow application sits on a dedicated Windows NT server and operates over the credit union's intranet.
Installation took a few months, during which the actual business processes among systems for each of the credit union's eight different loan types were mapped. This involved determining where information flowed in order to move a loan from initiation through processing and, finally, to closing. "We had to build out a template to determine what information goes to the back office, what has to be done with it in the back office and where it needed to go next," Mackan-Roy explains.
BizFlow keeps the loan process moving by alerting the next person in the process that there's a new loan that needs attention. Users also can prioritize among different loans -- some may be expedited, while others may need additional attention (e.g., supporting income documentation) before moving ahead.
Additionally, the software allows underwriters and other employees who "touch" the loan to add comments, supporting documents and other electronic materials as needed. It also offers automatic notification to alert supervisors if a loan sits untouched in a certain part of the process beyond a predetermined amount of time. "This enables us to better track our workflow," Mackan-Roy says.
The credit union now processes 800 loans a month, up from 650 a month a year ago. "If we didn't have a business workflow application to support us, we couldn't follow a low-pricing strategy without hiring more people," says Rick Male, Cambrian's vice president of retail credit and support services. "We find this process helps things move much more efficiently. We're the fastest-growing credit union in Manitoba." That's why, in 2006, the credit union plans to expand its use of BizFlow to automatically populate human resources and other support systems directly from the banking system.
According to Mackan-Roy, BizFlow is far superior to the system it replaced. "It's a much smarter system -- there's not as much labor involved," she says, adding that other uses of the application are being explored.
- Institution: Cambrian Credit Union (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada).
- Assets: $924 million.
- Business Challenge: Replace business process management system with a more comprehensive application.
- Solution: BizFlow from HandySoft Global Corp. (Vienna, Va.).