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Judo Bank Drives Innovation and Growth Using AWS Flexible Architecture

2021

Purpose built to serve Australian small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs), Judo Bank (Judo) needed a highly secure and flexible infrastructure that could scale automatically, support innovation, and reduce development time for new products. To avoid the costs of purchasing and maintaining hardware, Judo did not want an on-premises solution and was looking for a more flexible architecture than a traditional data center would provide. After assessing a number of cloud solutions, Judo chose to use Amazon Web Services (AWS) to build its infrastructure. Using a combination of AWS solutions, the company was able to reduce development time by months and create a resilient infrastructure, achieving competitive uptime with 99.999 percent reliability.
Judo employees working in the office
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From our early days as a startup to becoming a high-growth challenger bank, our use of AWS infrastructure has supported our purpose, which is to bring back the craft of relationship banking.”

Niko Bielovich
General Manager of Service Management, Judo Bank

Finding Security and Elasticity Using AWS

Founded in 2016, Judo differentiated itself as a challenger bank for SMEs. In November 2021, Judo became the first fully licensed Australian bank to list on the Australian Securities Exchange in 25 years. The company’s founders, who are experienced bankers, believed that SME businesses were receiving neither the funding nor the service they needed to grow and prosper. In response, the purpose of Judo Bank is to bring back the craft of relationship banking, and Judo’s relationship bankers focus on spending quality time with SME customers. However, their time is finite, which means it’s important that they also rely on near-real-time data and streamlined infrastructure.

Furthermore, because Judo handles a large amount of private and confidential data, it must be confident its infrastructure is highly secure. “How well protected will our data be, and how can we deliver the availability that our customers and employees need and expect?” says Niko Bielovich, general manager of service management at Judo. “These questions are constantly top of mind.”

Judo began to assess cloud services from some major vendors and found AWS to be actively invested in a broad range of solutions, particularly virtual desktops and serverless computing. Judo asked for a proof of concept from Itoc, a long-standing, experienced AWS Partner in Australia and a cloud managed service provider. In 3 days, Itoc developed a proof of concept that Judo’s management was able to access and assess even while traveling. After the successful proof of concept, Judo continued working alongside Itoc on the development of its production, DevOps, and backup solutions on AWS. Because Itoc had extensive experience in building AWS infrastructures for financial institutions, it was able to automate the initiation of core services such as Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. As part of the solution, Judo relied on Amazon EC2 alongside Elastic Load Balancing, which automatically distributes incoming application traffic across multiple targets and virtual appliances in one or more Availability Zones (AZs)—discrete data centers with redundant power, networking, and connectivity in an AWS Region. As a result, Judo can operate production applications and databases that are more highly available, fault tolerant, and scalable than would have been possible using a single data center.

Building Secure Loan Origination Solutions

Together, Judo and Itoc built a loan origination solution running on AWS, saving months in development time by building it entirely in the cloud. As the “front door” to access data and business logic, Judo uses Amazon API Gateway, a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale. That’s just part of a highly secure and flexible environment that enhances the efficiency of the entire loan workflow for Judo’s relationship bankers. For example, to access data on customers and loan applications, the company uses Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS), which makes it simple to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.

Using AWS solutions provides Judo an efficient and cost-effective funding application process, freeing up the time of Judo relationship bankers to serve customers. For serverless computing solutions between Judo and third-party services for loan originations, the company set up AWS Lambda, a serverless, event-driven compute service that lets developers run code for virtually any type of application or backend service without provisioning or managing servers. “By using AWS, we have avoided the overhead of owning and managing an on-premises solution,” Bielovich says. “Our AWS architecture is highly extensible, so we can change our AWS solutions and adopt new ones without affecting our operations.” Judo’s relationship bankers are also able to control the loan origination process from start to finish using Amazon WorkSpaces, a fully managed desktop virtualization service for Windows and Linux that lets users access resources from any supported device.

Judo’s architecture on AWS is also highly secure. As a core solution, Judo uses AWS Identity and Access Management (AWS IAM), which provides fine-grained access control across all of its AWS solutions. “We designed our AWS solutions with security and privacy in mind,” Bielovich says. “Access to information and processes is tightly controlled using AWS IAM, and we can automatically counter ever-changing security threats. We have also been highly satisfied with the reliability and network latency of AWS.”

Supporting Judo’s Purpose

The use of AWS solutions has not only saved Judo time and money but it also helps to sustain the bank’s fundamental mission. “From our early days as a startup to becoming a high-growth challenger bank, our use of AWS infrastructure has supported our purpose, which is to bring back the craft of relationship banking, providing Australian SMEs with the funding and service they need and deserve,” Bielovich says.

About Judo Bank

Founded in 2016, Judo Bank is a challenger bank in Australia. The company focuses on small and medium-size enterprise lending with a personalized level of service.

Benefits of AWS

  • Saved months in developing architecture in the cloud
  • Operates with 99.999% reliability
  • Simplified access to customer data
  • Improved security protocols


AWS Services Used

Amazon EC2

Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides secure, resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale cloud computing easier for developers.

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Amazon RDS

Amazon Relational Database Service (Amazon RDS) makes it easy to set up, operate, and scale a relational database in the cloud.

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Amazon API Gateway

Amazon API Gateway is a fully managed service that makes it easy for developers to create, publish, maintain, monitor, and secure APIs at any scale.

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AWS IAM

AWS Identity and Access Management (IAM) provides fine-grained access control across all of AWS. With IAM, you can specify who can access which services and resources, and under which conditions.

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