NAB has updated its Salesforce-powered Podium platform used by mortgage brokers to run their own businesses with workflows that comply with laws that came into effect in January.
The bank also used the changes as an opportunity to redesign the user interface and experience for Podium, which is now powered in part using Salesforce Lightning Web Components.
Manager, Engineer CRM (Salesforce system architect) Janaka Peiris told the Salesforce Live for Financial Services summit that the federal government had passed legislation in January “to create a new duty of mortgage brokers to act in the best interest of their customers.”
“It fundamentally shifted how the mortgage brokers documented the process and their home loans, so this means that we had to introduce a lot of changes into the Podium platform,” Peiris said.
Peiris said the Podium redesign ran over a four-month period earlier this year and now means brokers can now “record key aspects of [their] best interest duty (BID) journey” with customers using Podium.
In a video targeted at a broker audience, NAB said that “while Podium will help you deliver a BID-enabled experience, it won't replace the key principles of BID, acting in the best interests of your client.”
Pop-ups and “helper tips” are used to guide brokers through a new loan application process.
“The new application screen can help you capture some key elements of your conversations with your clients,” the video stated.
“Each section is clearly labeled to help guide your conversations, with dropdown menus to make data entry seamless.
“You can also run through the customer's projected financial position with charts and visuals to explain the key financial aspects.”
New prompts at different parts of the application could help brokers respond “when clients ask specific questions about their loans, such as fixed rate interest, including the risks and characteristics associated with that feature.”
“Based on your conversations with the client, you can now recommend some options to them,” the video said.
Brokers also now have a “loan overview” page, allowing them to see everything “in a clear, visual way”, and that also collates information gleaned from discussions with the client.
“These will be pulled into a client-facing document called the statement of credit assistance, which summarises the broker's advice and product recommendations based on the client's requirements and objectives,” the video stated.
“As expected, under the new best interests duty obligations, brokers will be expected to record their discussions with their clients in an easily retrievable format.
“The statement of credit assistance will be a consolidated, customisable, client-friendly summary, replacing the current preliminary assessment and credit proposal disclosure documents you have been using. We will also provide the option for DocuSign or e-sign functionality.
“All these enhancements to the Podium platform will help you deliver a BID-enabled experience, and address compliance document feedback.”
Peiris said NAB also took the opportunity to update Podium’s UI, using newer Lightning Web Components (LWCs).
“Salesforce introduced Lightning in 2015. and with that, released the Aura framework for customers like us to do custom UI development,” Peiris said.
“Salesforce Classic before that really worked well in the desktop format, but what Lightning did was it gave Salesforce a really good new refreshed look on the other devices like iPads and mobiles. In Salesforce Classic, we had Visualforce technology to do custom UI development, and with Lightning we got Aura to do the custom UI development.
“But what happened [is that] Salesforce soon realised some shortcomings of the Aura platform, so in 2019 Salesforce introduced the Lightning Web Component, which was much more powerful and well integrated with the Salesforce platform.”
Peiris said NAB had been keen to use LWC as part of its ongoing UI customisation work.
One of the advantages of LWC - aside from performance, security and browser compatibility improvements - is that the framework is open-sourced, which has enabled NAB to use some free components developed by others outside the bank.
“The surprise package of all the benefits for the open source flavour,” Peiris said.
“This means that we were able to leverage libraries that are out there in the market, and cut down a lot of our development and engineering effort.”
Peiris said NAB had used an open source charting library to deliver graphs and other visuals in Podium.
“It’s pretty much free of charge and cut down a lot of our development effort which was a quite neat thing we could achieve, because of the open source nature of the Lightning Web Components,” he said.
For components that NAB built itself - and it had a team of 20-plus engineers write around 30,000 lines of code - Peiris said the focus was on making components that were reusable.
“We really focused on creating a lot of reusable components, investment which we can reap rewards [for] down the line, and also we did a lot of frameworks and patterns,” he said.
“We put in place all these frameworks and patterns so that we were able to react and adapt the platform and do necessary changes very quickly when we've got feedback from our brokers, which is a really good investment to do upfront and really smart engineering.”