The Westpac group has launched “industry-first” platforms for brokers that provide “educational and thought-provoking information on the trends, challenges and opportunities facing [the] industry”.
The new Ideas Hub for Westpac and the Learning Lab for its subsidiaries (St. George, Bank of Melbourne and BankSA) have been launched for brokers in a bid to help deliver educational materials on what is happening in the lending industry, as well as training and development and best practice material to help brokers “grow and add value to their business”.
Available 24/7, the free online platforms feature videos on technical help (such as how to submit pricing requests) along with business strategy and lifestyle articles that aim to improve the efficiency and health of brokers.
For example, the Ideas Hub has several workplace health articles referencing the importance of sleep and "switching off", while the Learning Lab includes articles on overcoming "bad leadership habits" and improving customer satisfaction.
Speaking to The Adviser, Westpac’s general manager for third-party distribution, Tony MacRae, said that the hubs were launched off the back of broker surveys.
He said: “In March of this year, we were getting messages that [brokers] wanted to have better access to training and development and wanted some form of interactive media to be able to address that and common pain points. [But] they also wanted best practice, not only in their own specific professional perspectives, but also from a personal front and a self-development front.
“As a result of that direct feedback, we thought that we’d bring this together in the Ideas Hub and Learning Lab to be able to deliver a whole range of interactive information for them.”
Mr MacRae said that the hubs include a Virtual BDM section, which incorporates videos answering common queries and product launches, but that these could also be extended to include “webinars on particular product segments, niches, or even broader interesting tools such as HR recruitment and self-development”.
He said: “The role of the business development manager (BDM) is absolutely critical for us and we’re continuing to invest in our BDMs, but this is an opportunity for brokers to be able to get access to get this sort of information and a wide set of information where it makes sense for them to look at it 24/7, anywhere, any time, through the Virtual BDM.”
By partnering with a range of educational institutions, such as McKinsey, Ashridge Executive Education and the Australian Institute of Management, as well as utilising "Westpac experts", the hubs also aim to provide brokers with “access to real thought leaders out there in the marketplace that are looking at items beyond just mortgages”.
Mr MacRae noted that the hubs were made to be tailored specifically for brokers, and highlighted that the hubs provide brokers with the opportunity to provide feedback, which he encouraged them to do.
“We really encourage and want that from brokers, to help us shape what makes sense for them. Because this should be a tool that makes their jobs easier and also helps them grow in themselves and their business."
He concluded: “We want this to be a tool that makes sense for them. We want to understand what they want from it ... the things that they want addressed.”
[Related: Bankwest launches new online mortgage portal]
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