An opportunity to fast-track market leadership using a mobile solution
In their quest to become the leading provider in the New Zealand home loan market, Westpac NZ’s Third-Party Banking team started looking at ways to better service these independent mortgage advisers and identified an opportunity to streamline the loan application process by implementing a mobile solution.
This mobile app needed to build efficiencies into the mortgage application process in terms of time-savings, increased accuracy and greater accountability. But more importantly, Westpac was aiming to offer a better end-customer experience by providing an almost instant response, giving the applicant conditional approval 90 seconds after submitting the application instead of the previously common 2-3 day period.
Having to effectively cater for a ‘BYOD’ scenario, Westpac NZ required a seamless user experience across multiple mobile devices and operating systems as well as PCs and Laptops via any of the major web browsers. Moreover, to ensure a speedy and hassle-free application process, special attention was paid to page loading times and online/offline auto-saving capability.
As can be expected in a banking environment, security requirements and processes were particularly strict around integration into the core banking system as well as customer data.
Finally, the app was to be built in a tight timeframe of only 6 weeks.
These specific requirements lead Westpac NZ to a partnership of Enterprise Mobility specialists Mobile Mentor and Australian-based app development platform provider BlinkMobile Interactive.
The Blink Mobility Platform provides development tools to create mobile apps across a variety of devices using modern web technology like HTML5 and jQuery. The platform handles all system integration, security, communications, scalability and cross-platform support. It also provides the back-end services, deployment and operational infrastructure (PaaS and BaaS) that drives both the user interface and the business logic on the device.
Many of Westpac’s requirements were met with ‘out of the box’ capabilities of the platform, allowing the Mobile Mentor and BlinkMobile developers to focus on creating efficient workflows and building a great user experience.
Westpac NZ’s Third-Party Banking team as well as a pilot group of 12 mortgage advisers were involved in the entire process as part of an agile development approach.
Before work started on designing the app based on the requirements that were given, Mobile Mentor conducted a study of the loan application process to ensure that the app followed the mortgage advisors’ workflow rather than simply replicating the current paper forms. The team found that the optimal process starts with the loan calculator which data then forms the basis for the application. Another learning was that significant time savings could be made by allowing applicants to fill out their own basic details, such as address and other contact details ahead of the appointment.
These findings were fed into the beta version of the app which was used and tested by a larger pilot group of 75 advisors. The final release version is currently being rolled out nationwide to around 600-800 advisers.
The client reports a 30% time saving in the application process, SLA improvement from 41% to 74% (and improving) and 65% of applications that get conditional approval within 90 seconds. It has significantly increased the Third Party Banking group’s share in Westpac’s lending volumes.