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Nationwide Building Society – making of a digital organization

The transformation at Nationwide Building Society ensures physical interactions even while digital is all-pervasive:

Way back in 2018, British mortgage firm Nationwide Building Society had committed funds worth multi-billion pounds to digitally transform its services over the following years. Comprising some 250 different building societies, the British mutual financial institution, which is the seventh largest cooperative financial institution and the largest building society in the world with over 16 million members, is today the second largest provider of household savings and mortgages in the UK and has a 10.3% market share of current accounts. It is also a major provider of ISAs, credit cards, personal loans, insurance and investments.

As a mutual organization, the Society aims at making a positive difference to the lives of its members and the communities in which they live. In this mission, it values, in these times of the digital, the relevance of a branch network, supports communities through charitable grants, and places a premium on helping people thrive financially.

Under the investment plan, the mortgage firm has adopted a multi-pronged approach that aims to overhaul legacy systems and adapt high street branches, as well as build digital platforms. The main aim of the plan was to support branches with new technology instead of entirely replacing them and the staff. The plan will see the Society phasing out legacy IT systems, simplifying its data estate and implementing AI and ML based systems to effectively process customer data. The Society had earlier earmarked 350 million pounds for transforming its high street branches to be in tune with importance it gives for physical interactions with customers even in this digital and online era.

DATA EXPERIENCE

Today, the Society is highly digital savvy, it has implemented the latest of the technologies that are available without compromising its pronounced preference for human interactions, has become an agile organization and has high levels of use of AI and ML. For example, it has engaged AND Digital, a pioneer in the new way of digital delivery, aiming to improve the data experience of users. The collaboration is expected to transform the Society’s member data strategy, as it looks to enhance user experience for all its members. The solution that is being developed will help deliver in real-time information across touchpoints for the Society’s employees and members – in person, online or on the phone.

In parallel, an efficient cloud infrastructure will help the Society to adapt to the changing needs of members at scale.

AI, ML FOR CUSTOMER CHECKS

The Society has already implemented API technology to automate checks on customer identities when they apply for membership and make transactions. This has also improved and streamlined its digital onboarding process for new members. It wanted the flexibility to open and manage accounts online without the use of a physical bank branch. It has partnered with Jumio, the London based provider of AI-powered end-to-end identity solutions. Jumio’s API uses a proprietary mix of AI, ML, and other advanced technologies to determine if an identity document is authentic and belongs to the user. The system has been integrated with the Society’s existing workflows to determine, through a simple API call, if applicants are who they say they are and allows the Society to make an informed decision about the applicant based on a variety of powerful fraud signals. The technology can also verify the age of the members by extracting personal information, such as date of birth, from a wide variety of government-issued IDs.

SPEED LAYER

The Society has put in place in 2020 a new Speed Layer, which is a set of cloud native technologies that work together to provide accurate, real time and secure data. Developed in-house in partnership with Publicis Sapient, the Speed Layer also provides a resilient foundation for future products and services which can be delivered quickly, with less disruption to members. The system validates the accuracy of data, reconciling over 100,000 data items per second. The high-performance system will make data available to Society’s Banking App users far quicker than existing systems can achieve.

The system is developed on Dev Ops, agile delivery and test automation to ensure that further features can be delivered when required.

MULTI-CLOUD STRATEGY

The Society today has in place a comprehensive multi-cloud strategy, including the new Mortgage Switching Service which, since its launch in 2018, has completed more than 230,000 switches – cutting the application journey time making use of the ease and convenience of the cloud powered service.

The Society has moved its member website to Microsoft’s Azure cloud to cope with its increased size and complexity. It has been a user of the Amazon Web Services cloud for several years. The website, available to 16 million members, was growing in size and complexity and it had asked members what they wanted from the website.

The Azure-based website has improved security and reliability and can cope with sudden increases in demand.

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This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.

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