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Tech program in mortgage milestone

07:51am November 06 2017

Westpac chief information officer Dave Curran says the bank’s largest transformation program has processed mortgages ahead of schedule.

Westpac has processed its first live home loans through its new technology platform in an important step towards simplifying the end-to-end home loan experience for customers.

Customer Service Hub –Westpac’s largest transformation program – aims to make life easier for customers and bankers by simplifying, standardising and digitising how Westpac connects with customers as one bank across its multiple brands, such as St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA, starting with home ownership.

In its pilot phase, Customer Service Hub has successfully processed a small number of employee home loans through a new banking platform three months ahead of plan.

At Westpac’s full-year results today, the milestone was highlighted as a simpler, faster and more transparent process for customers. It’s notable because it shows the platform has successfully integrated into Westpac’s technology ecosystem.

Speaking to Westpac Wire, Westpac’s chief executive, Consumer Bank, George Frazis said it’s an important step in Westpac’s service revolution strategy. For example, he noted that the current 12 days it can take to send and receive all customer loan documents to finalise a home loan will happen digitally in less than a day through the Customer Service Hub.

“This is at the heart of Customer Service Hub – a frictionless, faster home loan experience that guides and supports the customer through the key moments of buying a home, no matter how they choose to engage with the bank,” he said.

“From accepting a home loan online, to personalising the terms and conditions to the customers’ loan requirements, and tracking the home loan application anywhere, anytime – these are just some features of the Customer Service Hub that will enable a customer to know what is happening at every step of their home buying journey.”  

Westpac is on track to roll out the service nationally to Westpac customers from mid next year and St.George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA will follow from 2019, with the broking channel to follow in 2020.

The Customer Service Hub is a major program part of delivering the One Bank Platform, which will standardise the back-end systems to give bankers a 21st century origination platform with a single view of customers across brands, reduce the number of systems used and enable continuous conversations regardless of whether in a branch or online.

“We started with home loans because buying a home is one of the most important moments in our customers’ lives, and we knew we could do better. Better service for our customers will see the greatest uplift across all our brands,” said Westpac Group’s chief information officer Dave Curran.

“It is also the most complex area of the business and needs to be simplified by removing more than 23 systems.

“Our pilot launch has proven that the technology works and we are getting match fit for a national roll out.  The platform was piloted three months ahead of schedule and successfully integrated into 16 Westpac systems.

“We’ve demonstrated we can do this, we haven’t broken the bank… And being ahead of schedule is good news because, as with any big program, schedules are important.”

Rather than do a “bottom-up” upgrade of all ageing “core” product systems as some banks have done, Mr Curran said technology advances and Westpac’s multi brands led it to a “middle-out” strategy, or the Customer Service Hub. It allows the bank to more quickly digitise processes and has been done in a way that ensures the technology can easily accept upgrades going forward. Older product systems can then be updated when required – such as St.George’s Hogan core banking system for deposits and transaction accounts to a newer Celeriti product last year.

Michael Bennet is Editor of Westpac Wire. He joined Westpac in 2017 after more than 12 years in journalism, mostly recently at The Australian as the national newspaper’s banking reporter based in Sydney. Michael has worked at various News Corp publications and other media companies covering industries including financial services, resources, industrials, markets and economics. He is originally from Perth, Western Australia, where he also wrote across magazines covering the arts with a focus on music.

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