ReEngine staff engaged with Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) to examine and improve the State of Texas Single Family Loan program. Legislative reports had reported that significant delays were experienced by applicants, exceeding 130 days, and there was little to no communication with the applicant during the process. Additionally, there was no single point of accountability as a loan went through multiple divisions for review so applications had no one to ensure that they moved through in a timely fashion – it was always someone else’s responsibility. TDHCA asked that the team step in to resolve the issues identified by the legislative oversight unit before the next legislative review. Primarily, to reduce the number of days necessary to close home loans, and increase the accountability/transparency of the process.
Staff developed a new way to flowchart and document these processes such that 5 distinct and largely disparate means for processing and closing a home loan could be represented in a clear and understandable way on a single flowchart. This allowed leadership to more easily identify unnecessary variations in the processes than they would if they had to examine 5 separate flowcharts. The legislature also found that available technology was not being fully utilized, thus there was an “untapped capacity” within the organization. The team worked to define a single process by which loans would be reviewed and approved within the Department. Additionally, each loan had an internal “owner” that ensured that it progressed through the process in a timely fashion and the existing technology was brought to bear such that as a loan went from phase to phase, a website was automatically updated where applicants could check the status of their loan. As a result of these changes, the average time to close a loan within the program went from 138 days to around 52 days. Additionally, customer complaints and legislative concern completely evaporated. The original challenge is one with which many government organizations must contend. Information from external customers must be processed and a determination must be made as to whether or not that request is sufficient and in the best interest in the program. Further, whether the determination is approval or denial the proper procedure must then be followed to move forward. Similarly, many government processes lack and “end-to-end owner” that can ensure the overall process moves forward in a timely manner. Staff were able to address each of these issues to meet stakeholder expectations “end-to-end.”
A series of reports was delivered, and more importantly the ability to automatically update these reports, concerning the aging of loans in the system. In this way, management could conduct regular meetings - addressing the loans in the system most likely to exceed the new time standard and resolve those issues first. Staff also delivered a detailed process map illustrating the original 5 processes, as well as provide leadership with a Value Stream SOP that shows the 5 different loan closing programs but with processes and procedures standardized where possible. This standardization helped to ensure a consistent experience for agency customers.
This project was successful due to the utilization of staff from all program areas that issue single family home loans within the Department. More difficult than some projects because of the number of dissimilar groups that needed to come together, the dedication of staff to the low-income families needing homes is what allowed the team to reduce the average loan closing time by over 62%.