STRENGTH IN NUMBERS

How Longevity Consulting helped the USDA harness the power of data to build a stronger, smarter rural loans program.

Across the Federal government, organizations are finding new and exciting ways to cut costs, improve performance, and deliver better service with the help of advanced data analytics. The United States Department of Agriculture is one such organization.

Read Time: 3 minutes

DOING MORE WITH DATA

The USDA launched an initiative to see how better use of data could reduce risk and improve performance for their rural housing loans program. They had a few questions on their minds:

  • What data do we have available today?
  • How does that compare with other financial companies?
  • Where are we missing pieces in the data puzzle?
  • How can we turn data into insights that improve decision-making?

Having successfully collaborated with the technology specialists at Longevity Consulting in the past, the USDA reached out to the team with yet another question: We need to establish data analytics best practices for our program. Can you help? Longevity was quick to jump on board, and the group set to work in earnest.

THE PROBLEM: FINDING THE GAPS

Using their proprietary Enterprise Value Management framework, Longevity analyzed the USDA’s current data maturity and risk exposure through three key lenses: people, processes, and technology.

They interviewed people who helped originate and manage the loans, extracted and analyzed current performance data, and compared the USDA’s capabilities with those of the private sector. Three key gaps emerged:

  • Lack of Data. The USDA wasn’t capturing the industry-standard data they needed to make consistently smart, profitable lending decisions.
  • Outdated Tools. The data analytics platform they were using was antiquated and had been phased out long ago by other organizations in favor of more powerful tools.
  • Insufficient Leadership. There was no executive leader who was responsible for using data to identify, analyze, and mitigate risk.

Next, the Longevity team conducted a series of on-site discussions, assessments, and workshops. These culminated in the development of a clear, step-by-step road map the USDA could follow toward a more data-driven approach to risk management.

THE SOLUTION: PUTTING THE PIECES IN PLACE

The data was clear. The advantages were obvious. The stakeholders were bought in. All that was left to do was put the plan into action. In the end, the USDA put the fundamental pieces in place necessary for a data-driven culture:

  • Industry-Standard Analytics
    Starting with the basics and layering in additional data over time, the USDA finally had the granular view of loan portfolio risk they needed to keep pace.
  • Dedicated Leadership
    For the first time, the USDA hired a Chief Risk Officer, who brought unprecedented structure to the organization’s risk management decision-making processes.
  • Powerful Tools
    After conducting an internal analysis, the USDA agreed with Longevity’s recommendation and implemented an industry-leading analytics tool.
  • Optimized Processes
    With Longevity’s help, the USDA used data to highlight risky lenders, prioritize investigations, and streamline metrics for more accurate reporting.
  • Targeted Training
    The USDA created data-driven training to educate employees about risky industries, improving performance on field reviews, and the loan origination process.
  • Predictive Forecasting
    In addition to surfacing historical performance, Longevity helped the USDA use data to predict future risks.

THE RESULTS: VIEWING MORE, AND DOING MORE

Viewing firsthand what data could do for their program performance was an eye-opening experience for the leadership at USDA. “We’ve never seen our business from this perspective,” said one administrator.

With a clear, consistent, and metrics-driven framework for evaluating risk, the USDA was able to make smarter lending decisions. Performance improved then—and continues to improve to this day—and the USDA has never looked back.

LET’S SEE WHAT DATA CAN DO FOR YOU

Helping you take a modern, data-driven approach to working and serving your constituents is our specialty at Longevity. Let’s untangle this exciting, but sometimes confusing, new world of analytics together. We’ll work side-by-side to give you the tools, systems, and know-how you need to make the most valuable contribution possible.

Get in touch and let’s make something great happen.
1.800.517.1925 | [email protected]