One of Australia’s largest mortgage providers is using its existing branch network to strengthen the broker-client relationship and eliminate channel conflict.
Over the last 12 months, NAB has been rolling out its Customer Adviser Broker Program, which has seen dedicated bankers placed in more than 20 branches with the primary purpose of onboarding broker customers.
NAB’s executive general manager of broker partnerships, Anthony Waldron, told The Adviser that the initiative has been a major success with brokers and their customers, who are benefiting from an exclusive relationship with a dedicated NAB banker.
“It is essentially a service where we put a number of advisers into our branches to specifically work with broker-introduced customers to make sure that they get onboarded correctly,” Mr Waldron said. “We realised there was a gap in the market and in our offering just over 12 months ago.”
Since then, reports have surfaced about changes to the third-party strategies of NAB’s major bank peers. Channel conflict has been an issue for CBA, which stopped accepting broker-originated investor loans earlier in the year in favour of branch lending (however, this has since been reinstated).
But according to NAB, brokers are just as important to the group as its branch network, and the relatively new initiative was viewed as a way of using its proprietary channel to support — rather than hinder — its broker partnerships.
“Growing the broker channel is an incredibly important part of NAB’s strategic objective for NAB,” Mr Waldron said. “We want to support brokers and their customers and make sure they get the best experience they can with us.”
While the service is currently available in 20 branches, Mr Waldron explained that this will be expanded over the coming year as the group calculates how many bankers will be required to meet broker demand.
“We recognised that it is so important to get it right at that point of initiation. It’s important to get it right for the customer, but it is equally as important to get it right for the broker, who has recommended us as a bank,” the executive general manager said.
The feedback from brokers and their customers has been positive following last year’s pilot program with four bankers, the bank has claimed.
Each banker works solely with brokers and their clients to ensure that the home loan process runs smoothly, that the customer is set up with their internet banking facilities, credit cards and many of the traditional pain points associated with obtaining a mortgage with a new lender.
“We realise that this is a relationship between the customer, the broker and the bank,” Mr Waldron said.
"It is not just between two parties. It’s between three parties. If we want to support the broking industry, then we need to get that right.
“We will expand this further over the coming months and put more bankers into branches," he said.
Mr Waldron added: “We know that those customers who go through this service are more satisfied and have a higher net promoter score.
“We have also found that our retail branch staff have benefited by having a dedicated resource to make sure that they truly understand that they can build a reputation as the go-to bank for brokers in that area.”
NAB’s executive general manager of broker partnerships concluded: “It has been a real success for us in terms of making sure the broker and the customer are happy with us.
“We want to be the number one bank in Australia for brokers.”
[Related: Brokers have their say on channel conflict]
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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