Following the announcement that the Swansea Building Society implemented the latest version of Sopra Banking’s MSS from Sopra Banking Software Global Banking and Finance Review got in touch with Neil Rosser, deputy chief executive at Swansea BS to discuss the reasons for the upgrade and to find out how the transition went.
For our readers who are unfamiliar with the Swansea Building Society can you explain a little about the Swansea Building Society and the services you offer?
Swansea Building Society was established in 1923. Its Head Office is located in the heart of Swansea. The Society is one of only three remaining mutual Building Societies in Wales and the only Building Society or Bank with its headquarters located in South West Wales. The Society is a single legal entity. It had total assets of £205.5M at 31 December 2012 with 9963 investors and 1304 borrowers. Retail shares and deposits amounted to £193.4M and mortgage balances of £134.7M. For further information, please visit our website www.swansea-bs.co.uk.
With regard to the services offered:
For savers, the Society offers competitive products backed by a traditional branch service where staff and management are able to offer personal attention to the individual requirements of members in a friendly, efficient and accommodating manner.
For existing borrowers, the ability to deal quickly and flexibly with changing circumstances and requirements.
For prospective borrowers, the ability and intent to give individual consideration at senior management level to every enquiry. The Society does not engage in automated underwriting and evaluates each case on its own merits, which includes seeking solutions to some situations and circumstances that are not always straightforward but worthy of sympathetic consideration.
What factors did you consider when deciding to upgrade?
The Society has upgraded its lending and savings platform to the latest version of Sopra’s banking Software suite known as CSR3. The Society believes it will help handle its regulatory reporting obligations much more effectively and to also launch new products very quickly when needed.
What are the advantages for Swansea Building Society?
One of the main benefits of this platform is innovation. Sopra has a very active user group – it is used by approximately 50% of the UK building societies – so whatever move we might want to make next, we know the functionality will already be there to support it. Using Sopra software means we can get new products out very quickly which match anything being offered by the big high-street players.
The speed of processing is even better with the new release, which means we can complete tasks even quicker. Month end reporting and records updating now takes just an hour and a half! The look and feel of the updated platform is very modern, aiding navigation.
The upgrade occurred a few weeks ago. Have you experienced any difficulties with the upgrade?
When it came to installing the new system, testing took six months which for us is a staggeringly long time but it has been a good move for us and it could not have gone much better. The new platform is very stable.