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Southeastern Europe


Mortgage Lending

First Bank – Digital Transformation Without the Investment

First Bank offers a wide range of financial products and services to clients of individuals, legal entities and small and medium enterprises. First Bank is headquartered in Bucharest and operates through 52 branches, with over 130,000 active customers.

First Bank cut their Time To Yes by 89% in weeks using FintechOS’ High-Productivity Fintech Infrastructure (HPFI), boosting their mortgage product conversion rate to 25%.

An Ambitious Innovator

FintechOS identified First Bank as the perfect client for us due to their reputation for customer-centric innovation in their local market. Yet, like so many creative lenders in the mortgage space, their spirit of innovation was being held back by legacy systems and offline technology.

First founded in 1995, as Pater Bank, First Bank was renamed in 2018 as it was taken over by its new parent company, private equity investment firm, JC Flowers and Co. The US firm intended to offer local customers banking “the American way” – putting customer service and personal choice at the core of everything it does.

Never was this ambition more important than during the last few years, when access to banking was restricted for customers locked down at home. They needed remote and online loan and banking services to allow them to continue to live their lives in safety while being out in public was a risk.

Mortgage customers, particularly, found it a trying time. Locked down at home, many found themselves struggling with the limitations of their homes and sought new accommodation. Yet, modern, online options were required to support relocation during lockdown.

FintechOS determined to empower First Bank with the technology it needed to offer truly exciting, personalized customer experiences and modernize its service to accommodate customers who couldn’t be present at the bank, both during lockdown and beyond.

Overcoming the Challenge

First Bank challenged FintechOS to create an end-to-end digital mortgage journey for their customers. They wanted to empower them to acquire mortgages without ever having to visit a branch.

First Bank customers could previously acquire mortgage services through three channels:

  1. In-branch
  2. Direct sales
  3. Call centre

Each of these manual mortgage processes involved large amounts of human effort to complete steps of the workflow at various points along the journey. This led to bottlenecks and delays, creating a slow, unpopular service.

The old workflow took nine days to agree a mortgage rate with customers, then more than 30 days further to provide them with their loan. As such, conversion rates were lower than 20% across mortgage products.

Not to mention, due to the amount of human resource involved, costs for mortgage onboarding were high and beginning to eat into First Bank’s mortgage profit margins.

In May 2020, First Bank contacted FintechOS about using our innovative retail mortgage platform to create a fourth channel for their customers.

Less than six months later, First Bank launched an end-to-end digital self-service mortgage channel, empowering their customers to acquire mortgages rapidly online with an automated delivery of authorization and final cash.

The FintechOS platform is easily configurable with a low-code/no-code interface and templated products, known as Accelerators, ready to go out-the-box. Still, our team were on hand to support and guide First Bank in their digital transformation through our FintechOS Academy.

Our Solution

Implementing the FintechOS platform at First Bank took a main team of just four people, but the wider company has been delighted with the result.

Using FintechOS, First Bank were able to release their siloed data from their legacy systems and employ it in the cloud through our evolutive data tools.

Employees of First Bank now have complete oversight of a transparent process. Each step of the customer journey is visible on a single dashboard screen.

First Bank customers are delighted with the process too. Time To Yes is now less than 24 hours. As Time To Cash is still adjusting to the new process, it’s getting ever-shorter, but is already catering to consumer need for near-instantaneous results.

This fourth, self-service channel is now a customer favourite, with over 30% of First Bank mortgage customers choosing to use the new digital self-service option for acquiring their mortgage. With rapid results, the new products have over a 25% conversion rate.

Future Innovation

First Bank’s digital mortgage solution is live and thriving, but this isn’t the end.

First Bank intends to use the FintechOS platform to continue to improve and develop its employee experience and digital customer journeys across its mortgage offering and all its other services.

Mihai Simionescu, Transformation Leader, First Bank, adds:

Working with FintechOS, we’ve learned even more that we need to make everything we do customer-centric. The customer experience needs to be our sole focus and we want to offer the best customer journeys on the market. With the FintechOS platform, I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t be achievable.

Implementing the FintechOS platform has been such a success that First Bank is targeting consumer loans as its next product set to get a digital self-service upgrade.

The end-to-end digital mortgage product that First Bank has developed using the FintechOS platform has acted as proof-of-concept for our toolset and digital self-service as a whole, and First Bank has determined to exploit this space based on their experience.

“Working with FintechOS is always a very nice experience. The team are helpful, quick to respond, and implement our requests rapidly.

“They understood, and shared, our philosophy of putting our customers first, and offered a simple, clear, and easy-to-use tool for accomplishing that.

“They also, however, understood First Bank’s needs, as well as local regulation and security requirements. They knew what we needed better than we did.

“Under their guidance, we look forward to innovating in the system ourselves.”


Mihai Simionescu
Transformation Leader, First Bank

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