Contact Us


New core banking system, Vilja, comes to the UK from Sweden

Vilja, a Swedish core banking software vendor, is entering the UK market via a partnership with local mortgage origination platform, Mast.

The two firms are targeting the UK’s building societies sector with an integrated, cloud-native, “end-to-end mortgage experience offering” that combines Mast’s mortgage origination solution and Vijla’s platform for deposits and mortgage servicing.

Mast already has a couple of building societies on its client list, such as Melton Building Society and Cumberland Building Society.

Fredrik Ulvenholm, CEO of Vilja, says the two fintechs “share the same mindset” and have solutions that “complement each other perfectly”.

He adds: “We believe now is the right time to enter the UK market, and we are here to stay.”

UK building societies and their tech

There are currently 42 building societies in the UK.

The largest one by far is Nationwide, with over £272 billion in total assets, 16 million members, 17,700 staff, and a network of 600+ branches across the country. In comparison, the entire building societies sector has £483 billon in total, making Nationwide larger than its remaining counterparts combined.

The smallest building society is Penrith, with £138 million in assets, one branch, and 26 employees.

The majority of these building societies (with the exception of Nationwide, which is in a league of its own) run legacy core banking systems from long-standing suppliers such as Unisys with its Unisys Financial Services System (UFSS) and Sopra Banking Software with its Mortgage and Savings Suite (MSS).

Over the years, there have been attempts by various building societies to modernise their core solutions, with varying degrees of success. Leeds Building Society was in system selection mode last year. Coventry Building Society embarked on a technology transformation project in 2018 with Accenture and Temenos but abandoned the project the following year.

In 2021, Teachers Building Society became the first among its peers to select Finastra’s core banking systemMelton Building Society and Loughborough Building Society followed suit.

Cambridge Building Society migrated to a solution from DPR (now known as Finova) in 2021.

Vilja’s journey

Stockholm-based Vilja was founded in 2007. “Five seasoned IT and banking experts thought there was a better and more cost-efficient loan and deposit system waiting to happen,” it says on its website.

“We’d eventually built a new banking system from scratch, free of legacy baggage. And we realised that we’d made something unique to the market.”

The company has installations in the Nordics and is now building out its presence across Europe.

Its first client was a Swedish digital bank for consumers, SevenDay Bank. The vendor built the core system for the bank’s savings account business in 2007.

In 2017, SevenDay Bank was acquired by BNP Paribas Personal Finance but has remained Vilja’s client. Furthermore, BNP Paribas Personal Finance is now in the process of standardising its software across its entire Nordic operations – known as the One Nordic Platform initiative – which will see its deposit accounts moved to Vilja’s system from the bank’s custom-built legacy solution. The migration commenced in summer 2023, with Sweden as the first country.

Other regional clients include:

  • Hoist Finance, which specialises in debt purchasing and receivables management;
  • Lantmännen Finans, a financial services arm of agricultural cooperative Lantmännen Group;
  • Fedelta Finance, a banking services provider for SMEs;
  • finance company Nstart;
  • mortgage company Borgo;
  • consumer and business financing firm OPR-Finance;
  • Serfim Finans, which provides lending and savings products;
  • fintech Froda;
  • sustainable personal finance provider Moank;
  • mobile banking service Rocker; and
  • Bosam, which specialises in housing co-operative loans.

Mast on a mission

Mast is a London-based start-up founded in 2020 with “a mission to make lending better and faster for everyone”.

In mid-2022, it raised £1.2 million in a round led by Antler VC, with additional participation from angel investors including founders of, Monzo, ThirdFort, and senior executives from Pivotal, VMWare, Jones Lang Lasalle, and Airwallex, among others.