HomeTrust bets its future growth on SAP banking software

After a two-and-a-half-year-long implementation of banking software to rip and replace almost all systems in HomeTrust Co.’s IT environment, the Canadian mortgage lender just hit the go live button earlier in July on what is a future-proof technology foundation for sustaining a growing business.

HomeTrust’s president, Martin Reid, said the situation was such that a more robust IT foundation was required to replace an antiquated system that could not support new business opportunities.

“We needed a platform to facilitate that growth, enable us to better service our customers, offer new products,” said Reid.

Toronto-based HomeTrust, which has satellite offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal and Halifax, deals with more than 5,000 mortgage and deposit brokers interfacing with the company’s systems. HomeTrust deployed various technologies from SAP including software for loans, deposits, financials, customer relationship management and collateral management.

While it’s only been two weeks since the go live date, Reid said the benefits are already evident, such as automating certain processes that were previously manual and tedious. For example, mortgage software used by brokers now interfaces directly with the SAP systems to “bring those transactions right in for us,” said Reid.

A better streamlined approach to how data arrives in the systems also means better control points that were previously lacking, as well as better ability for analytics and reporting, said Reid.

As a result, HomeTrust has shifted from a rudimentary spreadsheet approach to analytics to now having a data governance framework in place that features data owners across the business.

Reid said analytics are being applied in several areas, including for customer relationship management where more data is now available for intelligence on how to better market to certain customers. “There are a lot more tools on that side of it that we can utilize,” said Reid. Financial analytics, too, he said, is another area where analytics will help HomeTrust understand and keep up with how the business is changing.

Mark Aboud, managing director for Toronto-based SAP Canada Inc., said HomeTrust has addressed the tricky endeavour inflicting many in financial services, which is to replace disparate and outmoded systems despite the large amount of investment already funneled into them.

“The whole thing is a big bang approach,” said Aboud, of the route taken by HomeTrust to deploy a new IT environment, end-to-end.

“The systems are designed so you can extract information out and different people within the organization can look at analytics off the same data, and help drive better decisions and get more insight into how to market to customers,” said Aboud.

And, added Aboud, HomeTrust’s nimble size allowed it to undergo such a dramatic deployment that may not have been feasible for larger financial institutions.

Moving forward, as early as this fall, Reid said the plan is to introduce mobile system access for mortgage and deposit brokers in recognition of the importance of the mobile platform alongside desktops.

Follow Kathleen Lau on Twitter: @KathleenLau