Danske’s Danish-Lithuanian developers help clients get a mortgage without leaving their couch

Sep 27, 2018
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Danish home-buyers have become the first in Europe to be able to choose a home and then secure a mortgage for it without the need to leave the comfort of their couches. The digital solutions by Danske Bank which make this possible – www.Sunday.dk and the mobile application Sunday.dk – have become popular in the country even before the start of the product’s official promotional campaign. And citizens of other Scandinavian countries should soon be able to use it too. The digital solution, whose success has captured the attention of UK financial organizations, has been created and developed by a joint Lithuanian and Danish team.

Sunday.dk, which has rapidly gained popularity in Denmark, is the only solution in Europe to cover the entire customer path towards buying a home. The solution is attracting more than 10,000 unique users every month, resulting in over 200 loan guarantees being issued per month.

The international team behind Sunday.dk is made up of members with a variety of skill sets. Its role is to ensure that all the business and IT solutions proposed to Danske customers are carefully considered, verified, and address a real customer need. Both customers and employees of Danske Bank have tested the website and the application, with encouraging results. The solution helps not only to save customers’ time, but also to make the bank’s internal processes more efficient.

Dankse makes decisions regarding further product development based on analysis of the customer experience and consumption patterns, and by combining huge amounts of data on home loans already available at the bank. And according to Ramunė Šabanienė, Manager of Advanced Analytics at Sunday.dk and head of the Lithuanian team, this thorough process has ensured a successful end product.

Loans issued in record time

The main advantage this game changing product brings is a dramatic reduction in the amount of time it takes to confirm a mortgage application. On Sunday.dk, about 60% of home loan applications are confirmed within 48 hours, with a loan guarantee issued to the customer shortly after. Similar solutions available elsewhere in Europe provide preliminary confirmation within half an hour or an hour, but then require at least 2 to 3 weeks before final approval is given.

For Ms Šabanienė, the whole project was driven by an ambition to accelerate and further simplify the process of acquiring a mortgage. “We were encouraged to develop a solution which allows loans for real estate to be issued quickly because of the prevailing opinion that it takes a very long time to conclude such transactions,” explains Ms Šabanienė. “We started with very clear objectives: to reduce the period of time needed to issue a mortgage to our customers, and to provide the greatest possible financial planning transparency. Ten years ago Danske Bank was seen as the slowest when it comes to issuing loans, but today we are the fastest.”

Dankse makes decisions regarding further product development based on analysis of the customer experience and consumption patterns, and by combining huge amounts of data on home loans already available at the bank. And according to Ramunė Šabanienė, Manager of Advanced Analytics at Sunday.dk and head of the Lithuanian team, this thorough process has ensured a successful end product.

Loans issued in record time

The main advantage this game changing product brings is a dramatic reduction in the amount of time it takes to confirm a mortgage application. On Sunday.dk, about 60% of home loan applications are confirmed within 48 hours, with a loan guarantee issued to the customer shortly after. Similar solutions available elsewhere in Europe provide preliminary confirmation within half an hour or an hour, but then require at least 2 to 3 weeks before final approval is given.

For Ms Šabanienė, the whole project was driven by an ambition to accelerate and further simplify the process of acquiring a mortgage. “We were encouraged to develop a solution which allows loans for real estate to be issued quickly because of the prevailing opinion that it takes a very long time to conclude such transactions,” explains Ms Šabanienė. “We started with very clear objectives: to reduce the period of time needed to issue a mortgage to our customers, and to provide the greatest possible financial planning transparency. Ten years ago Danske Bank was seen as the slowest when it comes to issuing loans, but today we are the fastest.”

And as Ms Šabanienė points out, Sunday.dk has the additional benefit of freeing up financial consultants to spend more time working with customers. “It facilitates and accelerates the work of our financial consultants,” she explains. “This means that instead of entering figures into a computer, they can spend more time communicating with customers, clarifying their expectations, and assisting in financial planning. The outcome is reflected in the figures. Prior to the development of the application, it took 800 minutes for a bank employee to issue a loan. Today they need half that time, and the aim is to reduce the figure to 80 minutes in the future. Furthermore, this year Danske Bank plans to automate the loan issue process, so that most loans are issued digitally.”

Particularly popular with first-time home buyers

Any Danish citizen can use Sunday.dk to see what’s on the market and get an assessment of their possibility of buying a home with Danske Bank. As the product becomes increasingly popular, the number of customers is increasing, with the digital solution proving particularly popular with first-time home buyers.

“Each customer can see their eligibility for acquiring a home based on their income and expenditure,” says Ms Šabanienė. “They also receive advice on how they should plan their finances in order to be able to afford the apartment or house they want, plus tips on the likely home maintenance costs of particular properties. The application contains a map of potential homes filtered according to the customer’s budget. Properties are marked in traffic light colors, so customers can easily see which option is the most financially viable for them and will fit within their future budget.”

A rapidly expanding team

For Ms Šabanienė, Danske Bank is able to offer such a fast and high-quality solution for loan issuing because every function of Sunday.dk software is handled by a global team of professionals, each with different specialisations and unique skills and working methods. “To find a candidate for certain functions we meet with dozens of candidates until we find the right member for our family,” she comments.

Currently, Sunday.dk employs a team of over 80 specialists, 34 of whom are based in Lithuania. Since last autumn the team has increased by 40%, and in the nearest future the company plans to increase it again by at least 30%.

“We use innovative working methods in our global team,” explains Ms Šabanienė. “Different specialists work on each product function – experts in customer experience, process consultants, designers, data scientists, business analysts, programmers and testers – both in Denmark and Lithuania.”

Having a global team allows the company access to the best specialist skills, wherever their physical location. “Working in this way allows us not only to develop a product at a fast pace while maintaining the best possible quality, but also to apply employees’ competences broadly, providing them with new career opportunities and the opportunity to develop new skills. By creating a global working culture we encourage diversity, flexibility, engagement, respect for every member of the team and better communication,” the manager of the Lithuanian branch said.

Team members located in different countries can communicate with their colleagues in a range of traditional ways – email, Skype, zoom or private telepresence rooms. But they can also connect with each other via the “telebridges” in their offices. These are live broadcasts from their colleagues’ offices which enable team members to instantly discuss matters with colleagues hundreds of kilometers away, or simply give them a quick wave or a thumbs up. Every six weeks the whole team meets in person either in Denmark or in Lithuania.

“One of our major changes this year is the new Sunday.dk mobile application development team in Lithuania, so we are actively looking for IT talent in this area,” Ms Šabanienė notes. “We are looking for professionals who not only understand the specifics of the product and are curious, but who are able to work in a multicultural environment in a flat organizational structure.”

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