A loan on the spot

The SKOK-Kopernik implemented a scoring engine to streamline and speed-up the evaluation of loan applications. Today, an automatic decision on granting a loan is issued in two minutes.

The Nicolas Copernicus Savings and Loan Cooperative Fund from Ornontowice [SKOK-Kopernik] provides financial services to its members. One of its functions is to provide loans. It has branches in the southern part of Poland – in Zagłęb, Małopolskie, Opolskie, Łódzkie and Górne plus Dolne Śląskie voivodeships. A scoring engine is a very useful tool in such a dynamically growing institution with an increasing number of customers. It facilitates decision making in terms of whether to grant a loan on the basis of a given customer’s characteristics such as income, number of family members, etc.

SKOK-Kopernik uses a scoring system not only to evaluate its customers’ credit rating but also to create offers for its customers. After analysis of a customer’s attractiveness, the engine helps to assess whether the customer should be granted a loan and if so, on what conditions. If the customer does not want to fulfil these conditions, the system enables creation of another offer for the customer which is safe and acceptable for SKOK-Kopernik.

-Prior to the scoring system’s implementation, the decision-making process was largely based on “manual” analyses, it was relatively time-consuming and absorbing for employees – the evaluation of one application took on average 12 – 15 minutes. At present, the system automatically processes data and a decision is made in 1 – 2 minutes, depending on the number of processed applications at the given time. What’s important is that employees receive a ready answer without having to perform additional analyses – claims Wojciech Zając, the project manager at SKOK-Kopernik responsible for the implementation of the scoring system.

A well-thought out choice

The implementation of the scoring engine at SKOK-Kopernik was part of a bigger project of introducing a scoring system in the company such as this one. The choice of appropriate support software was one of the most important issues. -We considered three offers: programs offered by Comarch, SAS and Bonair. We chose Bonair because it fully met the objectives we had set for the scoring engine and also because of the clarity of the service documentation – the possibility to visualize the entire decision process thanks to graphs – tells us Wojciech Zając.

Before SKOK-Kopernik chose Bonair’s engine, it had an opportunity to verify its capacities during preliminary talks of rather unusual, almost workshop-like character. A management board representative from SKOK-Kopernik would present an operation or function idea and Bonair consultants had to show that they could implement it in the scoring system or describe how the system would perform the given task.

Efficient implementation

The implementation agreement was signed at the end of August, in early September 2007. The implementation itself was to commence from the time of the SKOK-Kopernik team’s preparation of an environment for this implementation, i.e.: servers with basic software. Bonair programmers also had a tremendous amount of work to carry until that time – they had to prepare a scoring system version that would work with the MS SQL 2005 database. In the initial version, the system was adapted to an Oracle database.

At the end of November 2007, a test version of the scoring system was installed at SKOK-Kopernik. Already in March 2008, it started operating in the real environment. The efficient and fast implementation was possible due to the fact that it was well thought out and SKOK-Kopernik’s team was super organized.

-Implementation of the scoring engine itself was not very laborious. However, the conception of it all had to be very well prepared in order to fully use the program’s capacity – notes Wojciech Zając. –On our part, more work had to be put into the preparation of data, development of scoring tables and decision trees.

Bonair’s system is part of the loan application processing program operating at SKOK-Kopernik. Consequently, integration of both systems was a must. – We had to adapt our system to service Bonair’s engine interface, determine the means of communication and information display. These tasks were also time consuming – evaluates Wojciech Zając. – Implementation of the scoring system by Bonair went smoothly. The only big problem that came up towards the end of the implementation was relatively quickly resolved and most importantly – it was completely eradicated after the installation of another overlay – confesses Wojciech Zając.

Detailed testing

Three people participated in the implementation from Bonair as well as three employees from SKOK-Kopernik: the project manager, an administrative officer and a credit analyst responsible for definition of strategies, namely usage of the scoring strategy editor. Nonetheless, the team also relied on help from other employees during the implementation. Bonair thoroughly tested the scoring system in its own environment but as this was the first implementation of the new version working with an MS SQL database, the system’s functioning within the client’s environment was also closely monitored.

-Tests of the scoring system at SKOK-Kopernik consisted of several stages. Above all, tests verifying compliance of the program’s operation with the set premises were carried out, followed by tests verifying the correctness of particular functions of the program. Another important element constituted tests verifying integration of the engine with our application processing system. The third type of tests concerned verification of the correctness of decision trees and scoring boards – lists Wojciech Zając – The first two stages were independently executed by the risk department, which was then helped with the last tests by selected sales departments.

Training workshops

During the implementation training was conducted on system administration for three people and also on scoring definition and system use for five people. The training sessions were concerned with presentation of all mechanisms with which system users might have to deal as well as practical exercises. Training participants were asked to define scoring algorithms for specific problems. After the training, they developed strategies compliant with SKOK-Kopernik’s rules for granting loans.

The small size of the training group should not be surprising. Only risk department employees at SKOK-Kopernik responsible for the creation of loan strategies work directly on the engine. However, the effects of the program’s functioning benefit all sales representatives.

Post-implementation

We find the current functionality of the system fully satisfactory. The tasks set for the system are well executed – concludes Wojciech Zając.

If any doubts or small set-backs appear or if something works differently to how it is supposed to then Bonair provides consultations or removes the flaw. The distance between Warsaw and Ornontowice is irrelevant as an authorised person at Bonair can remotely observe how the system functions at the client’s end then after discussion over the phone or email, introduce a change or a modification.

Implementation facts

What:
Implementation of a scoring engine in a newly created version adjusted to work with MS SQL 2005 database, training sessions

Where:
SKOK – Kopernik in Ornontowice

When:
end of August – early September 2007 – agreement conclusion
November 2007 – installation of a test scoring system
December 2007 – February 2007 – tests in a test environment and at the client’s seat, training sessions, creation of test and production scoring strategies
March 2008 – launch of the scoring system in its production version

Implementation benefis

  • automation of the loan granting process
  • elimination of additional, time-consuming “manual analyses”
  • reduction of the time of verification of loan applications and preparation of offers for customers

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