The FSA regulations mean that all mortgage providers in the UK must now adhere to new rules designed to tighten up mortgage lending by offering better advice to consumers, greater documentation of procedures and tighter verification of customersâ ability to meet repayments.
This has necessitated major systems upgrades at all mortgage providers across the UK â which has carried a degree of risk in terms of disruption to business processes. Alliance & Leicester opted to use ZEDAâs expertise to test changes to its pre-authorisation and post-authorisation systems, which have been substantially enhanced to help it better assess lending risk, and to give customers improved documentation and visibility into their dealings with the bank.
The ZEDA team devised the structure for a major testing programme for Alliance & Leicester, which encompassed all aspects of system, user and final acceptance testing, and provided a number of specialist professional resources. This was a significant challenge for both companies, requiring six months of round-the-clock checks on upgrades to key IT systems to ensure the further reliability of Alliance & Leicesterâs technology infrastructure, in order to meet the 1st November deadline.
Peter Duffell, Head of Business Systems Delivery, Core Systems at Alliance & Leicester, explains: "It doesnât get any more critical than this - we had to meet the requirements of the new FSA regulations, as mortgages are obviously a central part of our business. As we have a number of other regulatory changes in development (such as International Accounting Standards), we have had a significant demand for testing resources, especially for complex updates such as those needed for FSA mortgage regulation. ZEDAâs involvement has, therefore, been very important to the success of these initiatives as it has given us the flexibility to meet these challenges."
Commenting on the reasons for ZEDAâs selection, Duffell continues: "ZEDA is already a trusted supplier. Weâve found it has a compelling blend of technical expertise, with inside-out knowledge of testing tools such as Mercuryâs TestDirector, combined with the ability to work seamlessly and flexibly with Alliance & Leicester staff. We had no hesitation in appointing ZEDA to such a key project and have subsequently been proved correct, as it delivered on time and on budget."
Paul Landers, Head of Managed Services at ZEDA, adds: "Using an outsourced managed testing service allows companies to offset risk, concentrate on their core business and bring in the niche testing skills particularly important in such a genuinely business-critical project as this. This is one of many assignments ongoing at Alliance & Leicester and we look forward to continuing this highly successful collaborative working relationship into the future."