The current GEM$ application is all done manually, and processes are not automated at all. This causes more problems mainly for the applicant, and also for the loan processors. Manual entry of forms and other information at all steps of the process are very prone to error, and small typos produced by these errors can cause a significant amount of confusion. Furthermore, there really isn't a database of users that is implemented in the current system that is in place. This makes querying user information extremely difficult as there isn't a system in place that would allow the loan processors to look up each applicant, and scan their application for errors. This can cause possible delays in communication that may also result in delays in other things like loan processing, payment, and installation.
We have created a simple web application that acts as a portal for GEM$ applicants and their processors, to supplement the original home page gems.hawaii.gov. Current implementations include a simplified web-based form that corresponds to the fields of the application for easier completion of the application, and also stores those values/responses in a database for loan processors to query/search up for faster processing. The goal of this was to eliminate redundancies by only using the information that the user provides. The application also takes the information/fields from the database and exports it into the current GEM$ PDF application to maintain a paper copy of the application for documentation purposes.
So far, we have implemented the following:
- Created a login portal for applicants
- Implemented the ability for applicants to create user accounts
- Created web-based forms for each section of the application
- Entered the information gathered from the user's input form into a database
- Implemented an e-sign feature to capture the user's signature
How we built it
We used a technology stack that we are currently learning in class as we all thought it would be a good learning opportunity to expand on what we learned on in class. We are using the web application framework Meteor, which uses SemanticUI React for the front end, MongoDB for the database/backend and a few other libraries for some additional features.
Challenges we ran into
So far, working with the database is proving to be one of the biggest challenges. We are currently stuck on implementing an e-sign feature that captures the signature of the applicant, but needs to be added/stored to the database.
What we learned
A lot of it was more on the project management/development side, as this was our first major project that we used GitHub for. Once we learned our workflow with pull requests/opening issues, etc, we started to implement features a lot quicker to the application.
What's next for Smarter Loans
We still need to work on implementing the database to the PDF application. Improvements to the front end are also needed to make it more user friendly.