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First Marblehead Customer Story

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First Marblehead reduces costly software licenses and improves student loan processing with the Alfresco Platform and Micro Strategies


  • Replaced Documentum with Alfresco
  • Eliminated costly software license and maintenance costs
  • Lowered document management costs by over 50 percent
  • Streamlined student loan document processing
  • Easier tracking of documents through the student loan process
  • Migrated documents to Alfresco repository


First Marblehead works with lenders and schools to help meet the growing demand for private student loans. They offer services for designing and implementing private education loan programs to national and regional financial institutions, and educational institutions in the United States. First Marblehead has helped clients process over six million applications and has funded over $16.5 billion in private student loan volume.

First Marblehead’s student loan department used Documentum to manage and store all loan documentation. However, the document intake process was extremely manual and time consuming. For example, a student loan case, which includes multiple documents, would arrive as a single PDF and loan officers would have to manually validate and separate the PDF pages and associated metadata before it could be stored in the Documentum repository.

The company’s IT team decided to evaluate new systems that could streamline their student loan workflow process while also offering a lower total cost of ownership. Like many business affected by the credit crunch, First Marblehead needed to lower costs and wanted to reduce or eliminate costly software license and maintenance subscriptions.


After consulting with Micro Strategies, First Marblehead replaced Documentum with Alfresco. Micro Strategies worked with First Marblehead to implement, customize and integrate Alfresco and Kofax (Document Capture) into their existing loan management system.

Alfresco’s open source approach and modern, flexible architecture allowed for easy integration and customization into First Marblehead’s business processes. It also allowed First Marblehead to incorporate workflows to simplify the intake and management of loan documents.

Equally important, the total solution and software costs with Alfresco were over 50% less than the total cost of Documentum.

Micro Strategies’ MSI Profiler software is used in conjunction with Alfresco to facilitate the processing of loan documentation. Through the MSI Profiler capabilities, First Marblehead gained additional features such as document bursting (electronically separating documents or pages that have been combined into one PDF into individual documents), and the ability to integrate documents or pages into existing systems.

Imaging software from Snowbound embedded into the MSI Profiler makes it easy to see and electronically separate each page within the PDF including the metadata. For example, loan offers can electronically burst a 20-page PDF into smaller 2-3 page individual documents for routing, approval and storage in the Alfresco repository.

During the document intake process, loan information is validated against First Marblehead’s Loan Management System and then applied to the document through the MSI Profiler. If the document or data cannot be verified, an Alfresco workflow will route it to the research department for review and proper identification so that the loan can be processed.

Micro Strategies created a dashboard to enable First Marblehead to track loans and easily see where they are in the review process. Dashboard users can see a list of activities, team members, project calendars, modified content and project links related to various documents and can export report data directly to excel. Company executives can also use the dashboards to track business data such as the numbers of loans in process and the number of documents per loan package.

The new system has improved overall staff efficiency. First Marblehead is now able to absorb increased document management volume with fewer additional resources needed for peak processing periods.


  • Streamlined the intake of student loan documentation, minimizing the interaction with paper documents during processing.
  • Improved tracking of loan documents for auditing and compliance.
  • Users can look up and search using only one search criteria and retrieve many results and view all related documents to assist in document processing.
  • First Marblehead can easily add users to the system during their busy season so that student loan documents are processed quickly.
  • Users can easily group and export documents or reports into one file or an Excel document.
  • Current Alfresco repository holds 500,000 documents and a terabyte of data.

What’s Next

Initially, First Marblehead only implemented Documentum in its Student Loan department. With Alfresco’s low cost of ownership and scalability and with the additional capabilities

enabled by the MSI Profiler, the company now wants to extend its new document management model to other departments across the organization. As a next step, First Marblehead plans to begin leveraging Alfresco for its collections and payment processing departments.

“Alfresco’s low cost of ownership and robust features, make it an ideal solution to help companies automate document-centric business processes. Document management systems have the biggest impact when they’re tied into existing business systems. Alfresco’s platform flexibility makes it easy to customize and integrate it into existing systems yielding immediate and quantifiable benefits.”

— Adam Storch, Vice President, Micro Strategies