TSB unveils new banking tech platform, Proteo4UK
“We have created a more digital, agile and flexible TSB,” stated Paul Pester, CEO of TSB, at the unveiling of the bank’s new technology platform, Proteo4UK.
The core originates from Proteo, the platform of TSB’s Spanish parent, Sabadell. In turn, Proteo’s roots are in the Alnova retail core banking system supplied by Accenture. Sabadell has been developing the system under its own steam for a number of years and owns the IP.
The project to build Proteo4UK has been underway for two and a half years, and some components are already in production, such as the new mobile banking app (launched in March this year) and the platform for mortgage brokers.
Customer migration is yet to come – the bank will be working on this in 2018.
Carlos Abarca, CIO of TSB, says the new system is “customer centric by design” and “enables the open banking revolution”.
“Proteo4UK was built in close co-operation with world-class companies, and has very few legacy systems,” he states. “It is a brand new core banking system for us.”
Proteo4UK is running “in a very active mode” out of two new data centres in the UK. In case of a disaster in one of the centres, all critical services will switch “with no interruption or loss of customer data, transactions or services” to the other one, Abarca explains.
Pester says the new set-up is going to save TSB over £100 million a year. At present, the bank continues to rely on Lloyds (the two were one entity until four years ago) for its core banking software, which is provided on a hosted basis and costs £220 million a year.
“We are liberating TSB by moving to the new platform,” Pester states. In addition to significant cost saving, it enables flexibility in choosing providers and partners, he explains. For example, the bank is moving all of its current account debit cards to Mastercard (farewell, Visa) in 2018 as part of a new seven-year agreement.
There are also plans to move into the SME banking segment, which will be supported by Proteo4UK. TSB is bidding for a share of the £750 million fund set up by Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) to boost business lending in the UK (the fund replaced RBS’s failed attempt to shed 300 branches and carve out a separate bank under the Williams & Glyn brand). Pester says TSB is aiming to get three grants worth £60 million, £100 million and £20 million.
Abarca highlights the benefit of launching new products and services “at a speed that has not been seen in this country”. The bank was the first in Europe to launch the iris scan technology for its mobile app (the project is on the Banking Technology Awards 2017 shortlist); first in Europe to enable Samsung Pass for login and payment authentication; and among the first in the UK to introduce the facial recognition technology, Face ID, for Apple’s iPhone X users (for login and payment authentication).
“It’s the technology journey that we are on together with our customers,” Abarca says.
The platform was built with a great deal of input from TSB’s employees – or “partners” (as the bank calls them) – says Helen Rose, the bank’s COO.
The team was careful to minimise the impact on the customer side, she says, e.g. no changes to sort codes, account numbers and so on, but for the “partners” the change was monumental.
All channels systems, all back office and internal systems (e.g. HR, ERP etc) and “every single piece of IT kit in all offices” were replaced, Rose says.
“It was a massive effort – 300,000 hours of partner training, 80,000 tests so far.” The bank has also introduced a new digital workplace solution, with video conferencing and other remote working capabilities, as well as a bring your own device (BYOD) policy. “We want to attract the best talent – and thus we are creating a work environment and culture that enables greater flexibility and productivity,” Rose states.
As mentioned above, TSB launched a brand new mobile app, based on Proteo4UK, in early spring this year. It is hosted on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud.
Genevieve Kangurs from TSB’s digital transformation office says the app boasts “the speed, adaptability and flexibility unheard of before”. New features and enhancements are launched every month, based on customer feedback. “We listen to what our customers want,” she states.
For example, navigation has been simplified further and merchant logos have been added to transactions so a user can easily see where they spent the money.
The year 2018 and beyond will be the “humanisation of digital” for the mobile app: more use of artificial intelligence (AI), money management capabilities, a digital passport as well as other useful features (e.g. advanced transaction view and spending insights).
Thanks to agile methodology, TSB can bring to market new mobile app features in just four to six weeks, Kangurs says. In the previous environment, this took up to six months. “We have a great partnership with Sabadell and the development team in Barcelona,” she notes.
TSB describes data as “the life blood of banking”. The bank has transformed its data environment to “build a foundation to respond to customer and regulations quicker”.
The previous set-up had a complex architecture, resulting in duplicate technologies, multiple data sources and heavy reliance on end-user computing (EUCs).
The new structure has simple architecture, is centralised and offers single version of truth. For example, change of address – a point of frustration for both customers and employees, as it had to be done multiple times in multiple systems – can now be done just once across all systems.
Teradata’s tech supports data acquisition, IBM Infosphere provides data integration and MicroStrategy enables data exploitation.
TSB has also invested in data quality tools and has created a data catalogue about its data (meta data).
“We can now meaningfully apply and use the data for our processes, customer services and new products,” says Kate Gallego, head of business intelligence at TSB.