Fannie Mae Implements Workflow Management And Imaging System

The Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae), a congressionally chartered, shareholder-owned company, is the nation's largest source of home mortgage funds. To handle the immense volume of front-end loan purchasing documents and back-end custody processing, the Washington, D.C. based company implemented a workflow management and imaging system.

The 60,000 to 100,000 mortgages that Fannie Mae buys each month constitute the front-end document load. Each mortgage is specifically configured - borrower, loan type, and many other factors - and may include up to seven documents ranging in length from five to 20 pages each. This represents a monthly paperwork load averaging one million pages. Three million existing loans are stored and managed at any point in time. On the back end, 30,000 to 40,000 loans are processed out of the system each month when they are paid off, sold or refinanced.

The goal of the new system was two-fold - to improve efficiency in hauling this vast amount of information and reduce dependence on hard-copy forms. The IS staff at Fannie Mae began by reviewing all business processes, then developed an electronic imaging and workflow management system. Document imaging is a tool to achieve project goals, not just an electronic filing cabinet.

System Development
The new system was built around a Sybase relational database, running on a Sun Microsystems 690 server. Optika Imaging Systems supplied the imaging platform, including scanning, image printing, and optical server software. The IS staff used Visual Basic with Optika's application programming interface to develop the image-enabled workflow applications.

The Fannie Mae loan purchasing departments scans hard copy documents into the company's data network using bar code separator sheets to identify specific items such as notes and loan assignments. Each document indexes itself as it is scanned. Hard copies are then compared against scanned data to verify the loan's purchase. Images are stored in two Cygnet 12-in. optical storage libraries with 5.6 Gigabyte (GB) drives from Philips LMS. Each library has 733.6 GB capacity.

Productivity Benefits
The imaging system has reduced the time needed to process a loan by 40 percent. A staff of 75 people was cut to 40, with the other 35 employees redeployed to other areas of the company. The system also provides instant access to loan information and improved customer service. Where it previously took several days to respond to inquiries (with loan information coming from a 24,000-sq. ft. storage vault), staffers now retrieve loan information in a matter of seconds while handling telephone inquiries.