Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board: Loan Payment Processing

5 min read
  • Education
  • Accounting & Finance
  • Process Automation

Contributed by: Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) provides low-interest loans for students who are eligible to pay in-state tuition. All loans are serviced at THECB until they are paid in full. Processing loans is a very paper-heavy process—we process an average of 1.5 million documents a year. Here is how we used Laserfiche to streamline loan payment processing and ensure a smooth flow of information throughout the department.

Import documents

Loan applications arrive at THECB in two ways:

  • Electronically.
    • These applications are then transferred to the Laserfiche repository by Laserfiche Import Agent.
  • By mail.
    • These applications are scanned and indexed manually.

Due to federal and state mandated regulations and the prospect of future litigation, we have to document and archive every single piece of information regarding the loans we process. This results in a great deal of supplemental documentation—ranging from e-mail and electronic customer service requests to screenshots of our Loan Management System and several other third-party systems—that must be archived for each loan. We use Laserfiche Snapshot to quickly and efficiently print these supplemental documents into the Laserfiche repository.

During the Snapshot process, we select the required template and manually enter the required metadata, the most important of which is the “LPO Department” field and “LPO Document Type” which are provided in a drop-down list.

Process documents with Laserfiche Workflow

Documents that have been printed with Laserfiche Snapshot

Once the supplemental documents have been printed into Laserfiche, the “Virtual Pickup” workflow is in invoked. It routes the newly imported document to the “Virtual Pickup” folder in the repository. Depending on the value of the “LPO Department” field, it assigns the correct document template. The document is then routed to the correct folder in the Laserfiche repository based on the value of the “LPO – Document Type” field.

The document then waits in the folder for a reviewer to read through it and manually update the value of the “Status” field. Depending on the status update, another workflow is invoked for further document processing. For example, if the document happens to be a copy of a personal check, the “Payment Workflow” gets invoked.

Here is what the “Virtual Pickup” workflow looks like:

Documents that have been scanned

Once payment documents are scanned into the “Scanning” folder, the “Payment Indexing” workflow is invoked.

  • The documents are moved from the “Scanning” folder into the “Indexing” folder and assigned to the “Indexing” template.
  • A technician looks at the documents in the “Indexing” folder and manually fills out either the “SSN” field or the “Reference Number” field. He then changes the “Status” field to “Process Pending”.
  • Laserfiche Workflow uses the Query Data activity to pull the rest of the information from the database based on the Social Security Number or Reference Number (depending on which was filled in by the technician). The Assign Field Values activity is then used to populate the remaining fields. This eliminates manual user entry error.
  • Next, Laserfiche Workflow checks to make sure that the template was filled in completely.
    • If most fields are blank, which means the database lookup failed due to an incorrect Social Security Number or Reference Number, the document is routed to an “Exceptions” folder. The “Payment Indexing” workflow is invoked again, giving the technician an opportunity to correct the mistake.
    • If all of the data is successfully populated, the “Payment Processing” workflow is invoked.
    • If somehow there is no Social Security Number or Reference Number filled out, the issue needs researching by the payment team and the “Research Workflow” is invoked.

Here is what the “Payment Indexing” workflow looks like:

Payment workflow

  • The “Payment Workflow” uses the Retrieve Field Values activity to obtain the field values from the template, including the “LPO Department Number”, and turns them into tokens for later use.
  • It then assigns the “Payment Processing” template to the document using the Assign Field Values activity. Depending on the value of the “LPO – Document Type” field, the document gets routed to the “Payments Processing” folder, the “ACH Folder” or the “Correspondence” folder using the Move Entry activity.
  • The Wait for Entry Change activity waits until the value of the “Status” field is updated by the reviewer who monitors the particular folder on a regular basis.
  • The Retrieve Field Values activity then converts the “Status” field into a token that is used in the Routing Decision activity to determine where the document needs to be routed next.
  • This document can be completed, routed incorrectly (some documents originally appear to belong to one department but really should be processed by another), sent to another department for further processing (some documents need to be processed by multiple departments) or put on hold. Each of these actions invokes a separate workflow.

Here is the full “Payment Workflow” design.

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Keep tabs on everything that is being processed

Since there are more than 29 different workflows running regularly, it is very important that I, as the manager of operational support services, am able to track their progress quickly and effectively. The Laserfiche Workflow Administration Console makes it easy to monitor where any document is at any given time. The first thing I do each morning is look in the “Wait Conditions” tab in the “Monitoring Node” to see if there are documents that have been stuck in any of our workflows for 24 hours or more.

Click image to view larger in new window.

Selecting a document in the “Wait Conditions” node returns its “Entry ID” in the “Actions” pane. I can copy this number and, after clicking on “Open Workflow”, open the particular workflow in the Workflow Designer. I can then use the “Search” function in Workflow Designer to search by the “Entry ID” (which I had copied previously).

This search will return all of the workflows that are currently processing the selected document.

Double-clicking on one workflow opens it in the designer pane. The path that the document took through the workflow is clearly marked in green and the place where the document is stuck is marked in blue. I can then investigate the problem and resolve it.

I can also view workflow statistics under the “Monitoring – Statistics” node.

Click image to view larger in new window.

Efficiencies gained by implementing Laserfiche

  • Documents are now available immediately after being scanned or printed into Laserfiche.
  • Business processes can be monitored efficiently and problems identified and resolved as they occur.
  • Unnecessary and redundant processes have been eliminated.
  • Data entry error is significantly reduced.
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