A respected mortgage broking industry figure says talk of “data and digital” has failed to improve the customer experience in the third-party channel.
Former Mortgage Choice chief executive and current MoneyQuest CEO Michael Russell recently participated in a roundtable discussion for the Deloitte Australian Mortgage Report 2016, where he commented on innovation in the mortgage space.
“We’ve been hearing about the data and digital revolution for 15 years in the mortgage industry but in terms of delivering new innovative products, we haven’t seen much,” Mr Russell said.
“In terms of customer experience in the third-party, turnaround times from submission to unconditional approval remain largely unchanged,” he said.
“Brokers have certainly done their bit, investing heavily in online submission capability, process efficiencies and post-settlement customer contact optimisation. But alas, we still only achieve less than 40 per cent system-generated submission to conditional approval.”
With competition in the home lending market on the rise, turnaround times are becoming critically important for loan writers.
Several mortgage brokers told The Adviser that bank turnaround times are a significant factor when it comes to managing the customer experience.
“Clients do forget their rate. They do not forget the experience,” Warren Freeman of Cosimfree Home Loans said. “We aim to give our clients the best of both, but approving a loan quickly is what we demand of our lenders who seek our business.”
“The most exciting, but also daunting, experience people can look forward to in life is the purchase of a property. Therefore, the sooner we take our clients from anxiety to celebration, the better for them.”
Nancy Youssef of Classic Finance said consistency in service is essential to maintaining a positive brand and reputation, while Cube Central’s Scott Beattie said rate, products and services are of initial importance, but turnaround times are important when selecting a lender that is appropriate for the client’s circumstances.
However, Jeremy Kruse of Smartline said a broker’s choice of lender shouldn’t hinge on processing times.
“Being aware of turnaround times is important for managing client expectations. An understanding prior to recommending a lender is a consideration but should only be an influence if settlement is fast approaching,” he said, adding that quick turnaround times are not necessarily an indicator of good service.
“When a lender is taking eight or 10 days to pick up a file it is most likely because they are offering sharp pricing, which could be beneficial to your client,” Mr Kruse said.
“The key to success is managing client expectations and providing regular updates, even if the file hasn’t progressed.”
James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.
He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.
He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.
James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.
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