Brokers and aggregators have called for a greater uptake of technology in the sector, arguing that those who aren’t on board “need to be”.
Heartland CEO Andrew Ford told The Adviser that as Heartland is a specialist provider of reverse mortgage and equity release products, the use of technology has been an "essential driver" in the business' growth.
He explained: "[Our] use of technology has focused primarily on lead generation and education. For lead generation, digital advertising has enabled us to precisely target a narrow but growing demographic in a cost-effective manner. Our investment in education has been focused on connecting with customers and influencers, such as brokers, to show them how reverse mortgages work and how they can help seniors live a better retirement. This has included social media, YouTube, a broker portal and an e-book.
"These initiatives have been a key factor in increasing our new business generation by 500 per cent in the last two years and establishing Heartland as the leading provider of reverse mortgages in Australia."
Sarah Farrugia, director at SAF Finance, echoed Mr Ford, saying that technology is an essential element of SAF Finance processes and that more brokers should be implementing technological innovations and services into their businesses.
She added that aggregators have an important role to play in assisting brokers to make the leap. “I do think that aggregators need to support it and put their money in to provide that platform.”
AFG is one aggregator that has had a focus on technology, using it for tracking and integration. Keiran Evans, general manager of AFG commercial, said that the group's alliance with US-based Biz2Credit, AFG Business, was a game changer and an "industry-first" for Australia.
"It will satisfy a need in the SME community that has been largely neglected. The platform’s patented analytics and financial services technology will provide small business borrowers with access to a much broader range of finance options to align borrower needs with lender risk and product appetite, delivering a faster and more efficient access to the appropriate capital.
"The platform enables AFG brokers to prepare a single commercial application that, prior to submission, can provide a list of suitable lenders with a high likelihood of approval, satisfying a wide range of commercial market segments. It will see our existing commercial writers attract, fulfil and service market segments sub $1m that historically may not have been an efficient avenue of growth. It gives our non-commercial writers the opportunity to play in this space for the first time. The key aim here — AFG broker business growth and exceptional customer outcomes in the SME space."
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