Business applications

Nationwide hits major milestone in £1bn IT transformation

Karl Flinders

Nationwide has reached a major milestone in its five-year transformation project, with the roll-out of a mortgage application system to some 740 branches.

In 2008, Nationwide embarked on a £1bn project to transform its technology after years of under-investment, typical in the financial services sector. The project involved upgrading its datacentre, outsourcing IT for the first time, and implementing Microsoft technology in the front office and SAP at the back.

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The migration to a new mortgage system, known as MSO, which cost more than £100m to complete, was the second largest single project within the £1bn transformation at the financial services company.

The MSO system takes paper out of the mortgage application process, reduces the time an application takes and, because it is based on commercial technology, makes future support and development easier.

Nationwide began implementing the .Net-based mortgage origination and sales platform into its retail branches in April. This has now been completed, and the service will be available to customers via the internet early next year, said Nationwide director of business transformation Martin Boyle.

The MSO system was developed by software development company Avelo, in conjunction with Nationwide.

The previous system, which was developed in-house, was difficult to support because the developer had moved on. “The person who developed it moved on to Microsoft, [which left us with] a skills issue, so we moved to a commercial technology where skills are available,” said Boyle.

The platform had to be integrated into 77 different interfaces, including services such as Experian for credit checking, to make sure the mortgage application process is automatic. Once a customer’s details are scanned in, everything else can be automated – with no more paper required.

Previously, it took 15 days from application to mortgage offer, but now about 60% of applications are dealt with in five days, with over 5% completed in one day.

Nationwide has automated the process of keeping customers up to date with their applications via SMS messages.

Boyle said the business has been transformed by the removal of paper documentation required throughout the mortgage origination process.

The importance of the system to Nationwide is underlined by the fact that about 40 people tested it full-time for at least seven months.

The bank has also launched two insurance products as a result of the deployment.


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