LOLA is a platform that empowers Westpac bankers to have smart lending conversations with small-sized businesses, and to execute lending deals very easily.
By designing a new banker tool and adapting legacy systems and processes, bankers now serve customers better, and customers get funding that’s appropriate and fast.
LOLA involved a co-located team that included credit, operations, sales & distribution, technology, legal, and risk, along with user experience and lean process design.
The team was centralised around a wall displaying an end-to-end customer journey. This included user interfaces, internal processes, and technology systems. As the project progressed, elements at each of these levels were iterated to reflect a point of view that was always current.
The team used Agile processes which encompassed design sprints, user and stakeholder feedback, business requirements analysis, IT execution, and organisational reconfiguration, allowing them to progressively build and deliver a working platform to market.
Applying for a business loan is an opaque, cumbersome process. Typically a banker submits a customer request to credit and waits weeks for approval. LOLA flips this by using existing data and a customized algorithm. Insights about a customer are presented before an application starts.
LOLA also pre-fills applications to minimize effort. When requests are submitted, their complexity is evaluated, and bankers can immediately approve those deals within their authority or route to the most appropriate credit team.
Bankers that used LOLA experienced a faster approval time. This allowed them to contact more customers, have more meaningful conversations based on real-time info, and write better lending deals.
LOLA has redesigned the way a banker provides services around business lending. Because information is known up front, a banker worries less about form filling and calculating, and can focus on having in depth conversations with customers.
Because of this, bankers can now move from a general sales call to a more personalised one. They can create a more meaningful and targeted contact plan, one that takes into account that customer’s potential need and their known financial capacity.
Also, because funds are fulfilled more quickly, they can tend to other, non-lending needs of that customer, or simply move on to the next one.
With an approval time reduction from 15 days to same day, LOLA has unlocked $600 million in lending for business customers. Westpac has conditional limit offers in place for $32 billion of business lending.
Because of this, there is less of a need to ask customers for updates, allowing them to spend time on their businesses. With over 6000 deals approved in LOLA to date, Westpac have saved customers over $1.5m of costs for arranging accountant prepared financial statements, removing 50,000 pieces of paper.
The info known across customers reveals patterns about the products and services that similar ones are using. This enables bankers to make proactive recommendations that are timely and relevant.
The idea of leveraging customer data to create efficiencies is discussed a lot in banking, but very few have executed on it in a scalable way. LOLA is unique in that it uses Westpac’s existing customer information to re-imagine the entire lending experience. Instead of going through a costly process of replacing legacy systems, effort was placed on improving the service experience. Multiple business processes became one process. 13 different interfaces became one interface. Business lending was simplified.
At the heart of every Australian lies an entrepreneur. Many create small businesses to realize their dreams. Running these businesses is not easy. In highly competitive environments they take time and effort to nurture. Westpac has helped these businesses for almost 200 years. In that time, processes have become more complex, and unfortunately that complexity transferred to customers.
By leveraging design methods across a multidisciplinary team, Westpac was able create LOLA to provide a lending experience that is fast and simple. Westpac can now respond to customers by being more informed and timely. Bankers can now create lending deals that help businesses be smarter about how they can grow and prosper.
The system prior to LOLA involved software that was difficult to use and an overseas team with strict evaluation criteria. This combination often caused application errors that led to service lag times. Many bankers experienced this lag, which in turn affected customers.
Because LOLA is user friendly and has robust supporting processes, bankers have an increased engagement in doing business lending. The time it normally takes for a banker to construct a lending deal has been reduced by 30%. This time can is now be used for understanding and preparing conversations with customers. Relationships can be less about administration and more about setting up customers for success.