The chief executive of Suncorp is intent on bolstering the bank’s revenue performance by restoring the confidence of the broker channel.
Suncorp Group CEO Steve Johnston has told investors that the bank’s efforts to improve its cost-to-income ratio would partly hinge on its performance in the third-party channel, which originates approximately 70 per cent of its loans.
Mr Johnston said Suncorp has taken steps over the past six to 12 months to improve its service position and reduce the bank’s processing times.
However, the Suncorp CEO conceded that such efforts have been disrupted by the COVID-19 crisis.
“Obviously, COVID has got in the way of that a little bit and created a bit of noise around system levels of growth and performance of various institutions through that period of time,” he said.
“But I’m very comfortable [that] the steps that we’ve taken to improve the way we service brokers are starting to take effect.
“Our turnaround times are not at industry-leading levels, but they have improved significantly, and the feedback that we’ve been receiving from brokers is significantly more positive then it might have been six to two months ago.”
According to Momentum intelligence’s Broker Pulse data, Suncorp’s turnaround times have steadily improved over the course of 2020, from an average of just over 12 business days at the close of 2019 to just under seven business days as at 31 May 2020.
However, the improvement in Suncorp’s processing times is yet to translate to an increase in broker usage, with the share of brokers lodging applications with the bank increasing by just 1 percentage point over the same period, from 13 per cent to 14 per cent.
Accordingly, data from the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) has revealed that Suncorp’s mortgage portfolio has remained relatively stable over the past six months at approximately $43 billion.
Mr Johnston said Suncorp would look to lift volumes by further expanding its presence in the Queensland market, where approximately half of its loans are originated.
“We do have an opportunity in Queensland overtime to grow in the market where our brand is strongest,” he said.
New CEO appointed
Mr Johnston’s comments follows the news of Clive van Horen’s appointment as Suncorp’s new banking and wealth CEO, effective 4 August.
Mr van Horen replaces Lee Hatton, who stepped down in May after just months at the helm.
The new appointee joins Suncorp from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), where he has held several senior roles in retail and business banking over a 10-year period.
Mr van Horen currently serves as CBA’s executive general manager, business customer solutions, responsible for business products across lending, deposits, merchants and payments, as well as analytics and customer strategy.
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Charbel Kadib is the news editor on The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
Before joining the team in 2017, Charbel completed internships with public relations agency Fifty Acres, and the Department of Communications and the Arts.
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