Leeds Building Society embarks on major tech & ops transformation
Leeds Building Society, the UK’s fifth largest building society, has embarked on a major technology and operations transformation.
Based in Leeds, West Yorkshire, Leeds Building Society has its history dating back to 1875. Today, it serves around 719,000 customers across the UK and has assets of £24.1 billion. It is also the largest shared ownership lender in the UK.
The transformation initiative is currently at an early stage.
Last year, the building society went to market to find a new core banking solution, FinTech Futures understands. Among the evaluated companies are Temenos and Finastra, it is understood.
Finastra won a core banking tech deal at another UK building society (albeit a considerably smaller one than Leeds), Teachers Building Society, in 2021. The society opted for the vendor’s Fusion Essence platform, deployed on a hosted basis in partnership with Microsoft Azure. It is the only known building society taker of the system in the UK.
Temenos clinched a large core banking software deal with Coventry Building Society in 2018 – the vendor’s first building society deal in the UK. With 1.5+ million customers and total assets of more than £51 billion, Coventry is the UK’s second largest building society and double the size of Leeds. Accenture was the implementation partner for this project, but the society chucked it out the following year and Temenos’ implementation was subsequently halted, too.
At Leeds, it is understood the legacy core system is the MSS suite – a long-standing offering to the building societies sector in the UK (the aforementioned Coventry and Teachers were also on its user list). The system currently resides with French banking tech provider Sopra Banking Software/Sopra Steria.
Around ten years ago, Leeds also became an early adopter of an outsourced lending tech proposition from a joint venture between Yorkshire Building Society and HP Enterprise Services.
The solution, called Libra, was developed by Yorkshire Key Services, hosted by the HP Enterprise Cloud Services, and offered to banks and building societies in the UK. Yorkshire Building Society and Leeds Building Society were the two known takers at the time.
Leeds has recently gone to market with a number of technology and transformation vacancies, including for a solutions architect; head of technology, corporate and infrastructure; and senior finance business partner for change and transformation.
The society’s current tech stack includes C#, VB.Net, SQL Server and Oracle, and it will be adopting Azure Cloud in the near future.
The transformation budget is £30 million, according to the job postings.
“This is an exciting opportunity to be part of a new high-profile programme to help shape, plan and architect a new off the shelf SaaS core banking platform and wider technology ecosystem for the society,” Leeds says in the job posting for a solutions architect.
It describes the project as a “major complex transformation programme” and hopes the successful candidate will play a key part in defining and managing the IT roadmap, including the selection and implementation of the solutions “that will lay the foundations for future business transformation”.
The head of technology, corporate and infrastructure role will have a vital remit of delivering operational and transformational change of technology infrastructure and IT services, including colleague services, corporate systems, network and hosting, and service management teams.
“The role provides breadth and scope to deliver positive improvements transforming the way in which we operate by taking a hands-on approach and being future focused, elevating and leveraging the resources we have to drive the function forward,” the society says.
At the end of last year, it appointed a director of operations and infrastructure, Kate Erb. Previously, she was chief operating officer (COO) at Aspinall Financial Services for nearly two years, a challenger bank in the UK gearing up for launch (this, however, did not happen), and before that she held a similar role at another banking hopeful, Vive (this project was also curtailed). Erb had also spent over a decade at the UK arm of a US banking heavyweight, Capital One Bank.