The main theme for the year 2020 will be “customer, customer, customer”, which will provide a prime opportunity for brokers, Pepper Money’s director of sales and distribution for Australia and New Zealand has said.
Speaking to The Adviser, Aaron Milburn, the non-bank lender’s director of sales and distribution for Australia and New Zealand, said that while the broking industry had been through an incredible amount of upheaval and uncertainty in 2019, one of the positives that came out of it was the collaboration and unification of the industry – which he believed would continue into 2020 as the finance industry continues to be more focused on the end customer.
Mr Milburn elaborated that he was encouraged by the lobbying and work that the industry undertook on the best interests duty, as it helped “direct some of the change” that was included in the final draft.
He commented: “We really took it on as an industry to direct some of the change that was [included]. We didn’t take a ‘woe is me’ approach; we came together in a way that I’ve never seen this industry come together and – in a considered, professional manner with no emotion, playing into it – really directed how we felt that the legislation should play out.
“And I do believe that it was listened to. I think that some of the work that a lot of our industry leaders did, really helped what came out at the back end,” he said.
Mr Milburn added that this collaboration and proactiveness will continue into the next year.
Looking to 2020, Mr Milburn said he “genuinely believes it will be the year for this industry to shine”, as continued focus on the lending space will play into the hands of brokers.
Pepper’s director of sales and distribution for Australia and New Zealand commented: “The unintended positive of all of the work around [this new] legislation, best interests duty and all of the media attention is that it is actually opening up more people’s eyes to what a broker does in a positive way. So, I think that is a real going to be a real groundswell to brokers more so than there is at the moment.”
Noting that recent MFAA data showed a “small dip” in broker market share, Mr Milburn added the industry had seen a lot of activity over November and December, which was traditionally a slower time of year for mortgage lending, and that this – coupled with rising home valuations – would see broker share quickly recover and rise into next year.
He continued: “I actually think we’re seeing this groundswell [to brokers] starting to come through already.
“We normally see a slowdown at the back end of November into December as an industry, but we’re actually getting busier week on week, and so that’s a real positive to go into quarter one calendar 2020.”
However, Mr Milburn did echo other industry predictions around the potential for more consolidation of the industry.
He said: “Will we see consolidation of brokers? I think so. I think some brokers will say: ‘This is this is not for me anymore.’ Will we see consolidation of aggregation groups? Potentially – we’re already seeing some of that happen now.
“But I do believe we’ll come out of 2020 far more customer focused, customer orientated and be an industry that has more and more share of wallet through customer mortgage selection than we do this year.
“So, if I think about the whole year 2020, I think that brokers will have to reassess their processes and how they do things and make sure end-to-end that everything that they are doing has the customer front of mind.
“So the biggest thing, I think, for 2020 is: Customer, customer, customer.
“If you do not have a complete focus on the customer – from a process, policy, heart, desire and enthusiasm point of view – you will not survive 2020. And that is because this is all about delivering for that front-end customer.”
If you would like to learn more about how to better service the changing needs of your customers, make sure you attend the Better Business Summit 2020, the peak event for the mortgage and finance broking community.
Taking place in five states across February and March, the theme of the summit is “Customer 20:20” and will have you walking away with practical ideas you can implement to reinvigorate and update the customer-centric offering of your business.
Showcasing big ideas for the year ahead, the client-centric conference agenda will provide you with the tools you need to navigate the consumer power shift; build smarter, long-lasting relationships with clients; and position your business for growth and prosperity – inspiring you for the new year and new decade.
Tickets are selling fast, so make sure you secure yours before they sell out!
[Related: 2020 Vision: Predictions for the year ahead]
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.
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