Case Study: MN Housing Finance Agency (MHFA)

Solution: Salesforce Community Cloud & Sales Cloud

Demand Chain Systems is proud to have partnered with the MHFA’s business and technical teams to architect, create and deliver an award-winning Salesforce solution that leveraged Community Cloud, Sales Cloud and Chatter.

For more than 40 years, they’ve worked to provide access to safe, decent and affordable housing and to build stronger communities across the state of Minnesota.

Need:
*For three years, the MHFA staff collected feedback from their customers on how to improve their experience of applying for multifamily funding. They looked at their internal process for receiving and processing applications. In order to eliminate duplication of work, improve tracking systems, clarify roles and responsibilities, and increase overall efficiency, they needed a new Multifamily Customer Portal using Salesforce as a base technology. The MHFA application for funding submission process was a bottleneck to efficient document management. The tracking of previous application cycles / application documentation did not exist which proved to be problematic. Management lacked visibility to where applicants were within the application submission process, which in turn could jeopardize the progress of important development projects. Applicants lacked “self-service” ability to drive their own application processes. Historical application data was not available to improve “current year” efforts and process improvement.

Approach:
The DCS approach was to streamline funding application and approval processes while providing data to support current application cycles as well as capturing data for historical reporting. The Salesforce Community Cloud platform was leveraged to engage the MHFA funding applicants. Salesforce Sales Cloud was implemented to help internal staff interact efficiently with the applicants. Chatter files were implemented to serve as a centralized/user-friendly interface for application file transfer. In addition, extensive APEX and Visualforce development were used to support various functions of the application process. An integration between Salesforce and their Oracle platform facilitated both analytical reporting as well as archiving application files along with the files metadata.

Result:
The Portal has received extremely positive feedback from both funding applicants and their staff. The solution won the Technology award from the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA). Powered by Salesforce, the Portal allows MHFA applicants to log in to a user-friendly online system and custom build an application checklist based on the type of proposal they will submit. This checklist tells them the exact documents they need to complete, provides links to templates, has help text for each checklist, and the system lets them upload all materials in one place through an easy-to-use interface. MHFA customers now have clear visibility in to the status of submitted materials, filter documents and track approvals, timelines and status of each development. Many MHFA customers submit more than one application per year, and the Portal allows them to see all their applications and selected projects in one place. From the internal perspective, the system allows MHFA to have a completely paperless application process for the first time. MHFA staff and funding partners are now able to access the same system to review applications for scoring and selection. MHFA has gained audit trail capability. Management can be more proactive toward applicants in the application process. Historical application data is available to MHFA management for analysis. Minnesota Housing’s staff of underwriters, architects, supportive housing and asset management team members can collect due diligence materials, track milestones and communicate with the internal development team. The Portal can also be used for the following processes: pre-application, application, due diligence, carryover, preliminary determination.

More Information:

Creation of a Multifamily Customer Portal system using Salesforce as the base technology is replicable for any Housing Finance Agency.

*Award Information:

MHFA (Minnesota Housing Finance Agency) won the Technology award from the National Council of State Housing Agencies (NCSHA).

Each year, the NCSHA issues Awards for Program Excellence to honor state Housing Finance Agencies (HFAs) for their outstanding public purpose programs, projects, and practices.

The program’s mission is to:

  • Share information among HFAs
  • Identify industry best practices
  • Recognize exemplary HFA efforts
  • Encourage HFA innovation

MHFA’s project was selected from a strong field of competing projects from states around the country.

*Source: The National Council of State Housing Agency Technology Award


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