Automation enables top 10 U.S. bank to process financial assistance benefits for U.S. service members 2-4x faster, saving $1M annually

For years, a top 10 U.S. bank was as dissatisfied with its enrollment process for a financial assistance program for U.S. service members as the service members themselves. When service members applied to this bank for financial relief under the federal Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), customers typically waited a full month to find out if their application was approved. And they were apprised of their status via letter mail only.

The reason for the cumbersome and long application process? The bank had never invested in an automated process for reviewing applications and notifying applicants of their enrollment status. Consequently, SCRA agents were forced to manually access as many as five different systems to process a single application, which was costing the company an estimated 16,000 agent hours every year. Agents were even required to manually cut-and-paste across systems. Moreover, applicants were receiving inadequate communications about the status of their applications during the extended processing period. SCRA benefits provide a range of legal and financial protections for qualifying service members, including fee waivers and reduced interest rates for debts. 

For this bank, the subpar customer service being provided to U.S. service members was unacceptable and not in alignment with the company’s values. The SCRA enrollment process had been developed eight years prior and had been updated only minimally since. The bank needed a complete overhaul to ensure service members and their families could receive financial relief under SCRA as soon as possible. The company set out to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Automate agent fulfillment steps 
  • Make every stage of the automated application process transparent to agents
  • Automatically notify applicants about status
  • Reduce agent processing times and costs

Ippon delivers a solution that transforms the experience for service members

Like this bank, Ippon has tremendous respect for military service members and looked forward to making the lives of these valued customers easier by automating the SCRA application process. Ippon partnered with the bank’s SCRA team to transform the application process end to end. In this project, Ippon saw an opportunity to do a complete rebuild of the existing SCRA application process, including:

  • Automation of agent fulfillment steps across all relevant systems of record
  • A solution built on Serverless User Interface Architecture embedded in the bank’s existing processes
  • Full transparency for agents to review automated processing steps
  • Automated status notifications to applicants during the processing period
  • Automation of as many steps as possible, for individual cases where 100% automation is not possible
  • Automatic routing of applications that could not be fully processed to an agent queue for follow-up

The client achieves dramatic cost-savings, bestows award on the project team

Ippon’s technology automation solution for SCRA applications has dramatically streamlined the bank’s application process and enabled service members to receive SCRA financial relief faster, easing their anxiety during a potentially stressful, uncertain period in their lives. Today, service members’ applications are processed in just one to two weeks – a 2-4x reduction from the original, 30-day processing time. And when service members have questions about their application, the SCRA customer service team is much better equipped now to provide accurate, comprehensive information. 

Following the project’s completion, the bank estimated the following returns on its automation investments:

  • $1 million annual cost savings
  • $600,000 annual OPEX savings
  • 16,000 agent hours saved annually
  • 38% reduction in monthly agent fulfillment task volumes
  • 70% automation of transaction processing volume
  • 40% reduction in manual fulfillment tasks
  • 30% improvement in maintenance costs

The bank was so impressed by the outcomes that the company bestowed on the SCRA project team its highest internal honor, which is reserved for associates who go above and beyond in the name of the company to get outcomes that are a living embodiment of its mission and values. Ippon, as the company’s trusted digital transformation partner, was proud to share in this prestigious recognition.