Project profile: Automation of mortgage application system for banking group

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Johan Steenkamp was Program Manager of the FNB Home Loans project, which entailed transitioning the company’s paper-based, largely manual mortgage application system to an automated, electronic system.

The existing system could not carry the high volume of home loans and applications processing approval took longer than was acceptable. In addition, manual filing meant that information sometimes got lost or misfiled. A large portion of the process comprised the filing and multi-year storage of hard copies of securities documents, as required by law. This made the South African document storage company, The Document Warehouse, one of FNB’s largest service providers.

Ultimately, the system required a large workforce, which increased the potential for occurrence of human error.


FNB selected the business process management application AWD® (Automated Workflow Distributor) from DST International, which ran on an Oracle platform, as its new commercial credit application management system. Johan was responsible for the overall project of integrating AWD® into the existing system of FNB, including processing of mortgage applications, credit checking, valuations, and securities documents filing. This involved hundreds of staff members, whose job descriptions and functions had to be changed.

As a result, a dedicated Change Management Manager, a training team for testing of competency on the new system, and work health experts to help staff with the transition, formed part of the team reporting to Johan. Experts on coding were brought in from Europe to assist, and a dedicated Project Manager dealt solely with the issue of transferring securities documents to electronic format.


The end goal of the new system was that applications would be processed in a turnaround time of 12 hours from start to completion. This involved:

  • Applications submitted by fax
  • Applications received
  • Documents scanned and entered into AWD®
  • Data verified
  • Credit evaluated
  • Decision made for approval or rejection
  • Response communicated to the client

This objective was achieved once the initial backlog of applications was dealt with. An additional outcome was that many FNB Home Loans’ staff members were retrained or had their skills upgraded, and there was a reduction in overall staff numbers. Nevertheless, processing time decreased and, concomitantly, the quantity of processed applications increased significantly.

Download the project profile: FNB_Mortgage application automation

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