When the pandemic hit, businesses and individuals across the country were greatly impacted. In the spring, the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan designed to provide direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll, was created as part of the CARES Act. Approved in Congress on Friday, March 27, it took until Thursday, April 2, for the Small Business Administration (SBA) to define final guidance related to the program. With the release of program guidance, banks were told to begin processing loan applications the following day — an impossible task for most banks.

First Financial Bank, however, had been working with RoundTower to create an Automation Center of Excellence (CoE), and that made all the difference.

“Delivering a digital enabled PPP product to our business customers was the highest priority of the bank,” says Malcolm Myers, CIO at First Financial Bank. “Our mission was to provide relief to our customers as rapidly as possible and create a scalable operation in doing so. Our technology teams and our partners at RoundTower worked around the clock for weeks building PPP platforms, automation and integration capabilities that delivered on these objectives. I am proud of the positive impact our technology teams have had on our communities.”

First Financial Bank received program guidance Thursday from the SBA and by Friday was able to automate the receipt and processing of PPP loan applications. That automation was built on the UiPath platform, a global software company that develops a platform for RPA and advanced integrations. The tight timeline was possible because RoundTower and the First Financial Bank technology team had been working together throughout February and March, building out their Automation CoE.

“First Financial Bank is committed to investing in automation throughout their organization,” says Will Fothergill, practice manager, Robotic Process Automation at RoundTower. “We jointly built out the tools to identify automation opportunities, to evaluate automation feasibility, and execute a hyper-automation project of defining an opportunity and then rapidly building, testing and releasing the automation.”

When the coronavirus came along, it was a test of what RoundTower and First Financial Bank had done in the earlier months of the year.

“Pre-COVID-19, we were working closely together to adopt an RPA platform, build out a team to operate this platform, maximize the value they derived from their software license, and to enable them for hyper automation process,” explains Fothergill. “As we were finishing this up, along came COVID-19 and the PPP was really the first test in validation of what we had done.”

The timing was impeccable.

RoundTower is headquartered at 5905 East Galbraith Road, Third Floor, Cincinnati, OH 45236. For more information, visit www.roundtower.com