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Capital One Builds A Foundation for Growth Through Key Systems Integrations

The senior VP and CIO of Capital One Bank's Financial Services Division has helped consolidate and simplify the bank's IT infrastructure through a number of acquisitions.

When Dhandapani later took over as CIO of Capital One's Financial Services Division in 2010, she again found the division's IT organization needed to replace key mortgage loan systems. "Every bank we acquired came with one or more mortgage origination and point-of-sale systems. … I found that none of the systems had the ability to scale or could meet our compliance needs," she relates.

[Banking Transformation: How Do We Get There? ]

Dhandapani had to quickly find new point-of-sale, origination and fulfillment systems, and, in consultation with the head of the home loans division, found products that satisfied their needs (she declined to name the products and partners involved).

Dhandapani and her team then went into a whirlwind of activity, managing to implement a new point-of-sale system in four months, and a new origination and fulfillment system in 12 months after that. "It was one of the fastest deployments that we've ever seen [at Capital One]," she says.

The new home loans systems enabled the bank to shut off a number of legacy point-of-sale and origination systems it had inherited from the banks it had acquired, she says. Ridding the bank of those legacy systems and implementing the new ones also laid the groundwork for Capital One's next acquisition: its purchase of ING Direct U.S. last year. "We had made a path forward in terms of the products we wanted to use, and luckily it just so happened that ING had chosen a similar path," she says.

Dhandapani was responsible for integrating ING Direct's home loans technology organization into the Capital One Financial Services Division. The bank just announced that the integration was completed in August, she says. The IT team used agile methodologies in integrating the ING Direct's core home loan platforms, breaking the projects up into smaller, more manageable increments. "We were able to complete the integration of all of our core platforms within a short 15-month period," she notes.


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As if Dhandapani has not done enough work on platform integration, she says one of her key areas of focus in 2014 will be to find more ways to consolidate and simplify the bank's IT infrastructure. "We want to see how we can drive the power of one technology for one domain, so as we continue our growth aspirations for our division, we can simplify our underlying infrastructure," she explains.

Personal Snapshot

Chandra Dhandapani

Senior VP and CIO, Financial Services Division, Capital One Bank

Years in position: 1

Previous positions: Managing VP and CIO, Financial Services Division, Capital One, March 2010 - Dec. 2012; VP and CIO, Capital One Auto Finance, August 2009 - March 2010

Education: MBA, information systems, University of Texas Arlington, 1998; MBA, India (marketing and finance), 1989; BS, mathematics, India, 1987

Hobbies: She is on the board of a nonprofit that helps at-risk girls and enjoys golfing and skiing

Jonathan Camhi has been an associate editor with Bank Systems & Technology since 2012. He previously worked as a freelance journalist in New York City covering politics, health and immigration, and has a master's degree from the City University of New York's Graduate School ... View Full Bio

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Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
10/4/2013 | 10:32:30 AM
re: Capital One Builds A Foundation for Growth Through Key Systems Integrations
A good deal if the hesitancy, I imagine, comes from the complexity and massive cost associated with a core system replacement project. For a large bank, overcoming the budget and resource challenge must be difficult. I'm sure every bank is different, but it would be interesting to know what was the straw that tends to "break the camel's back" when it comes to deciding to embark on a core systems replacement project?

Can anyone who has done a core replacement (or is going through one now) share some insights?
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
10/4/2013 | 1:06:40 AM
re: Capital One Builds A Foundation for Growth Through Key Systems Integrations
There definitely seems to be growing awareness of the efficiencies that can be gained through improving the IT infrastructure in banking. I think we're starting to see in core systems, with more and bigger banks willing to switch to modern core systems. There are still a lot of banks though, especially bigger ones, that are hesitant to clean up legacy systems. I think that is one of the impressive things about the work Chandra and Capital One have done here.
Greg MacSweeney
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Greg MacSweeney,
User Rank: Author
10/3/2013 | 12:23:05 PM
re: Capital One Builds A Foundation for Growth Through Key Systems Integrations
After many years where banks and other large companies neglected infrastructure -- or worse yet, built it in the wrong way -- it seems that institutions are really focusing on cleaning up and standardizing their infrastructure. There is a tremendous amount of waste and excess capacity that can easily be rationalized.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/2/2013 | 3:03:38 AM
re: Capital One Builds A Foundation for Growth Through Key Systems Integrations
Chandra also is fortunate to have great sponsorship from Rob Alexander, Capital One's CIO -- a creative and visionary executive (and 2011 Elite 8 honoree).
Jonathan_Camhi
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Jonathan_Camhi,
User Rank: Author
10/1/2013 | 8:49:12 PM
re: Capital One Builds A Foundation for Growth Through Key Systems Integrations
Yes it was pretty clear talking to Chandra how important it was to get these big infrastructure projects done quickly to allow both the IT team and the business to get up and running on other projects that could improve the customer experience and sales. The urgency combined with attention to detail to pull off suck a big key project quickly is impressive.
Nathan Golia
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Nathan Golia,
User Rank: Author
10/1/2013 | 8:28:07 PM
re: Capital One Builds A Foundation for Growth Through Key Systems Integrations
As you and I know from covering the insurance business as well, there's little any company can do in terms of enabling the best customer experience/regulatory compliance/innovation without modern infrastructure. Companies who identified the digitalization of the financial business and the potential explosion in data and its stewardship have a major advantage.
KBurger
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KBurger,
User Rank: Author
10/1/2013 | 5:57:05 PM
re: Capital One Builds A Foundation for Growth Through Key Systems Integrations
Capital One usually gets attention for its analytics/data prowess, but Dhandapani's accomplishment underscore the importance of infrastructure in supporting any kind of data management-related initiative -- not to mention the core transactions (lending, payments, etc.) of banking. Given how critical the use of data/analytics are to competitive positioning and regulatory compliance, the ability to execute on these massive infrastructure and core systems initiatives (relatively) quickly and efficiently is absolutely critical. This is an oversimplification, but in some ways it's a kind of throwback to what CIOs/tech executives used to do, but with the very modern twists of collaboration, business unit alignment, customer experience, etc.
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