On March 27, the CARES Act officially dedicated roughly $349 billion for the SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) to guarantee small businesses the loans they need to cover eight weeks of payroll, along with some utility and rent costs. 30 million small businesses rushed to their lender’s website to apply for the funds that will prevent many of them from permanently closing their doors this month. That loan money ran out in just 13 days.
Exactly one month later, $310 billion in PPP loans became available in a reopening of funding. The rush of loan applicants and SBA E-Tran technical glitches has buried lenders in paperwork that would usually be handled in person by a lot less employees.
Watch the video and read the transcript below as Danella Stephany, Director of Customer Success at nCino, speaks with Larry Perino, Manager of Program Development Business Solutions at Navy Federal Credit Union, about how Navy Federal has implemented new digital strategies within their nCino environment to ensure funds get into the hands of the small business owners in desperate need of support. Plus, discover how Navy Federal protects this critical customer banking information with Own.
"We’ve made a lot of changes to our org on the fly...Having that backup and knowing that we can back out of these changes very quickly is critical...We’re not as tentative in making steps that need to be taken now that we have Own."
-Larry Perino, Navy Federal Credit Union
Danella: Tell us about yourself and what you do at Navy Federal Credit Union.
Larry: I work in the business solutions section, which deals with primary commercial lending, but also handles all aspects for our business owner members. This is separate from our 9 million members who are part of Navy Federal Credit Union. Right now we're at 164,000 business owner members. Prior to the pandemic, we were growing at about 3,000 a month.
As the manager for program development, I handle all of our external vendors that support us with either products or services. Most importantly, I manage nCino, which is our primary system for membership onboarding and loan origination.
Danella: When the Paycheck Protection Program was announced, how did you prepare for the influx of applications?
Larry: We panicked [laughing]...just kidding. Just like everybody else there were a lot of questions about how this was going to happen. We realized pretty quickly that we would have to roll out a new product within nCino for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).
We knew nCino was working on its own standalone solution. We had considered that as an option, but ended up deciding to modify our existing org with a brand new product. We worked closely with nCino and our internal developers to build this product and test. Then, in about four days, we rolled it out.
This is truly amazing considering when we went live with nCino, it took us about a year to put in our existing seven products. The development of the PPP loans product was much more streamlined because we leveraged a lot of nCino’s existing standalone product and incorporated it into our org.
Danella: How has nCino supported your team as you’ve transformed your environment for the Paycheck Protection Program?
Larry: Absolutely huge. We’ve got a great partnership with nCino. Not only did they help us build out the new PPP loans product, but they also helped us build out the different integrations. Part of the PPP procedures is the integration with E-Tran, the SBA’s portal. During the first round of PPP funding, we were having to manually type in the loan information. The nCino solution helped us get all the manual operation down to just two button clicks. Seeing what our competition was doing too and wanting to support our members as much as possible, and knowing that this would still have underwriters clicking two times, a thousand times, we've created several robots to automate that process a little further.
To speed processing up further, we’re leveraging the work that was already done on building out our community portal and clearing out our marketplace to enable self service for our members. Right now, our biggest challenge is our front end and getting completed applications to the point where they're filled out correctly enough to put into nCino and process.
As big as Navy Federal is, our business solutions team is actually pretty small. It's just under a hundred people. That includes everything from sales all the way to underwriting, to my folks that support it all the way to administrators. This quarter, we’ve had a total of 16,000 applications in various stages of completeness that we've had to sort through and push into the system. Without working with nCino, we wouldn’t be able to get this done. To put this into perspective, minus credit cards, which we also run through nCino, our total number of loans last year was 700. As of this morning, we had close to 1,200 loans ready to push through E-Tran. We’re basically doing over a year’s worth of work and trying to get it through starting today.
Without nCino’s assistance, we wouldn’t be able to move that fast at all. We’d be doing this manually and having hundreds of people have to brute-force it through. I don't think that's good for the members or the credit union. At the end of the day, we're going to have to make sure everything is correct so the member can get forgiveness on those loans instead of keeping the loans on our books for two years at one percent interest.
Danella: How has Own supported your team while all of these changes have been taking place within your nCino environment?
Larry: We’ve made a lot of changes to our org on the fly. We’ve gone through testing, but speed is of the essence and we have to get this through. We're very careful and there's a method behind what we’re putting through. Even so, having that backup and knowing that we can back out of these changes very quickly is critical. Knock on wood that we haven’t had to use Own to recover so far since we’ve become their customer, but that hasn’t always been the case.
Before Own, we experienced some issues that caused us to have extra work. Had we had Own, simple mistakes or errors that were caused could have been identified, diagnosed, and cured very quickly. Some of these cases that I'm bringing up were actually the argument for why we needed a solution like Own. It gives us the peace of mind and the confidence that we’ve got it. We have Smart Alerts set up, which will let us know if something is going haywire. No news is good news. We’re a lot more confident than we used to be. We’re not as tentative in making steps that need to be taken now that we have Own.
In addition to the backup piece, the ability to seed sandboxes & speed up testing, analysis, and troubleshooting makes Own a solution that allows us to do more than just backup all of our instances and documents daily.
Danella: How has Navy Federal continued to optimize the Paycheck Protection Program loan application process?
Larry: First we built the engine and then we assessed our pain points--where our logjams were in the stream. Clearly one of them was the E-Tran integration, which is ongoing now. The integration is working fine. However, the SBA’s web portal has hundreds of institutions all trying to jam billions of dollars worth of loans in at the same time, so it keeps timing out.
As I mentioned earlier, Navy Federal business solutions is only about one hundred people. We’ve had to take a lot of our partners, as well as folks from our contact centers and our branches--who are mostly working from home right now--to work on our front end to be able to sort these applications. Many of these folks usually focus on the consumer side, but have had to temporarily switch to the business side.
nCino has been the best solution off the shelf. We even considered buying nCino’s standalone system, but realized we could take advantage of this product post-pandemic so it’s not just a one and done. If we’re going to spend a lot of money and effort, we want something we’ll be able to take advantage of for a long time. It’s more practical to do that. nCino is the system--we just have to leverage it and that's what we're doing right now. You can have a slick frontend that accepts all the online applications, but if you can't get it into nCino and you don't make that connection into an opportunity and start working it, you still have a problem. The way to do this successfully is to use the product.
Danella: After the Paycheck Protection Program funding ends, will you be using any of this new functionality for other products?
Larry: Absolutely--without a doubt. Before this, we had only put two SBA loans through nCino. Now we’re doing thousands of them. The integration with E-Tran will help us expand the SBA program for Navy Federal. It’s one of our priorities to be able to offer that product for our members.
We’ve shown that if we want to add products, we’ll be able to do that very well, though hopefully we won’t have to use something as streamlined as this again.
On the portal side, these online applications, for various reasons we hadn’t been able to turn on the marketplace. Now that it’s a necessity to push these loans through nCino, user adoption has gone up. Specifically we're getting a lot of reps. Users are having to use reports, membership is using dashboards, which has been really effective in talking about where we are through the whole process.
When it comes to opening up our marketplace, even more so to start providing more of these online applications for our members to go in and self-serve, the foundation has been laid through this. If there’s any silver lining in this, I would say it’s that.
Danella: Well thank you, Larry.
Larry: Thank you as well. Enjoy the rest of your week.