Aussie Home Loans builds custom core lending platform

Liz Tay | Jun 21, 2012 7:00 AM
Off-the-shelf products do not meet requirements.

Mortgage broker Aussie Home Loans will this year deploy a custom-built core lending platform to replace seven front- and back-end systems.

Chief executive officer Stephen Porges said Aussie’s bespoke platform would replace “seven different software packages”, including customer relationship management (CRM), commissions, leads management, business intelligence, as well as front-end and non-mortgage systems.

Although platform modernisation projects within Australia’s largest banks have involved off-the-shelf products from CSC, SAP and Siebel, Porges said Aussie had been unable to identify a product that met all its requirements.

“We had [PricewaterhouseCoopers consultants] go out and do a search around the world for us and there wasn’t anything that could do it, so we’re doing it ourselves,” he told iTnews.

The project involved in-house staff, Vietnamese outsourcer Harvey Nash, and custom software developer Sybian Technologies in India.

Porges estimated the cost of the project, which kicked off two years ago, at “probably 20-odd percent of our annual profit figure”.

Aussie Home Loans reportedly posted a net profit of $52 million in January.

“To be fair, that [20 percent] is what we invest on projects every year,” Porges told the AB+F Retail Financial Services Forum this week.

“Normally we get around ten or 20 projects. We’re a project company … It just happens that this year, that’s the [one] project we’re doing.”

Porges expected the platform to launch in December, with in-person and online user education initiatives to kick off in November.

“[The platform will make business processes] much smoother, much easier,” Porges said, noting that it would be used by all of Aussie’s 1200 brokers.

“The brokers will have one place to pick up a lead, monitor a lead, know what the client’s doing, go in and do marketing to that client, check their commissions. It’s a big educational process, getting all those people to learn a new system."

Porges said the system would become the single most important system for Aussie employees.

"They’ll use it every single moment of every day they’re working," he said.

"If you force people to use it and they have no other choice, they actually go in there and learn it pretty quickly. It’s not that hard, so they’ll get used to it pretty quickly, I hope.”

Though the public tended to “think of Aussie as more of a customer brand”, Porges said a bulk of its IT projects were in fact focused on back-end systems.

“If you look at our mortgage business, about 90 percent of what we sell is [other banks'] product – it’s not our own,” he said.

“So a majority of our work when we’re replacing our systems is actually more based around CRM, permissions, customer intelligence type stuff that we use internally for data mining, rather than the external customer [offering].”