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Ulster Bank

Ulster Bank Group is an all-Ireland financial institution (serving Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland). The Group is a wholly owned subsidiary of The Royal Bank of Scotland Group, the second largest bank in Europe and the sixth largest in the world by market capitalisation. First Active, a leading mortgage provider in the Republic of Ireland, was acquired by Ulster Bank in January 2004 in a €887 million transaction.

"netvoyager’s ability to understand our business objectives and customer needs and their ability to build
this into the final application during a fixed time scale and price agreement was most impressive"

Noel Fitzpatrick, Head of Group IT
Ulster Bank

The Client

The Group's activities are represented by three main customer facing businesses - Ulster Bank Retail Banking, Ulster Bank Corporate Banking & Financial Markets and First Active. Both First Active and Ulster Bank retain their own brands, branch networks and distinctive customer propositions through 265 outlets (92 in NI & 173 in RoI).

Branch Automation Made Easy

netvoyager provides a complete branch automation solution in all of the bank’s branches, implemented on time and within budget during a 12-month implementation project.

netvoyager’s involvement began after the bank had completed a business process re-engineering exercise covering front and back-office branch operations and interactions with clearing and cash centre functions. While the bank knew how they wanted the branch to operate at a conceptual level, they didn’t have a means to rapidly express and refine these concepts into the optimum branch processes.This is where VoyagerExpression came in.

Through our robust development framework and methodology, we worked in partnership with the bank to provide early visibility of the processes through rapid first-cut prototypes that would evolve into the final solution. This empowered the business representatives to provide feedback that refined the processes in an iterative approach. Together with seamless integration to the core banking system for online account enquiry and update, this approach delivered a solution that met the critical objectives of providing same day value and at the same time, reducing costs.

Tangible Cost Savings

Ulster Bank has quantified the cost savings as significant delivered by the implementation of the branch solution throughout the Republic and Northern Ireland. This can be attributed primarily to a reduction in transaction processing costs and daily cash surplus and shortage along with increased revenue from fees and commission.

The cost reductions were achieved by the ability to implement a new process for paper truncation at the teller window that was unique to the bank’s needs, as well as cash handling and balancing rules to ensure better cash management. The bank also wanted to increase revenue from fees and commissions. This was achieved by integrating once-off commission charging and account-based fee capture rules into every transaction.

Continuing Return on Investment

Our relationship with the bank did not end with the successful branch rollout, rather it flourished as the branch network was supported by the ability to rapidly deliver change in a robust and secure environment. The branch environment is consistently under pressure to respond to legislative and market needs in a timely and cost-effective manner. netvoyager has partnered the bank through a myriad of incremental operational improvements as well as strategic and legislative change.

The prime legislative example over the last few years is Economic Monetary Union. The netvoyager framework has facilitated a smooth transition for branches in the Republic while ensuring that those in Northern Ireland were unaffected. The flexible Business Logic Server allowed the same business rules to support both regions without system upgrade through all stages of transition. Of course, the bank is now perfectly positioned to reap the benefits of this expertise if or when EMU becomes an issue for Northern Ireland and the UK.

VoyagerExpression  has also allowed the bank to respond to group-wide strategic initiatives such as the implementation of Account Management Centres. These centralised processing units required many of the same transactions as the branches but with different business rules. The powerful configuration ability of the framework allows the same software to run in both AMC and branches thus supporting business change and minimising operational costs.

Web Services Opening the Door to Enterprise Systems Integration

netvoyager has recognised the immediate potential for enterprise systems integration and is already offering this service to customers.

The next phase of development for Ulster Bank proposes a distributed workflow system to provide straight through processing of foreign drafts and remittances from origination in the branch through central clearing and on to international funds transfer. The benefits are that it will significantly reduce costs by removing manual processing in the branch and re-keying in the centre as well as providing automated rate validation and a subsequent reduction in errors.

Site last updated on March 20, 2008