La Trobe Financial has appointed a new GM to head up origination channels and rolled out upgrades and enhancements to its broker partners, as it continues its digital transformation processes.
Under the stewardship of La Trobe Financial’s new executive general manager, head of origination channels, Chris Meaker (formerly the non-bank lender’s head of third-party operations and transformation, and previously a BDM and broker), the lender has been enhancing its digital offering to brokers.
Speaking to The Adviser, Cory Bannister, La Trobe Financial’s chief lending officer, revealed that the non-bank had appointed Mr Meaker to the role to lead the digitisation process as he had “extensive experience at the lender and as a BDM and broker, so [he understands] broker pain points really well” and had “walked in their shoes”.
“He’s been giving us a real push forward with our digitisation strategy and process enhancement, which started off with upgrading our online lodgement capability,” Mr Bannister said.
La Trobe Financial upgraded its ApplyOnline lodgement process on 25 June 2020 to include the supporting documents functionality, which enables mortgage brokers to lodge loan applications and provide supporting documentation through the platform.
The upgrade also provides brokers with a checklist for that particular loan, detailing the exact documents required for each specific loan.
Mr Bannister explained: “Because we’ve got such a wide range of products, the document requirements – for example, income verification – can vary. So, we’re trying to make it simpler for brokers by having a checklist function that automatically reminds them what they need to upload, based on the product they selected when lodging the loan. For example, having two payslips for PAYG borrowers, or an accountant’s letter for the self-employed.
“When the application is submitted, all supporting documents are automatically loaded, indexed, categorised and sent directly to the La Trobe Financial credit team for initial assessment,” he added, stating this removes the need for credit administrators to check each file.
According to the senior vice president and chief lending officer, the new process has reduced the file verification process by 30 minutes and reduced requests for more information.
“The feedback has been excellent because it improves response time for brokers and it benefits our team as it reduces the chances of documents going into an email wasteland. Instead, they are actually sorted and stacked into the right place in the file, which makes it a much neater experience for our credit analysts,” he said.
The non-bank lender also recently launched a valuation hub, which enables brokers to request a valuation of a property through the broker portal (which is then assigned randomly to a valuer on the panel).
According to Mr Bannister, more than 60 per cent of valuations are now coming through this hub as it reduces wait times (valuations reportedly take three days to turnaround) and enables the team to verify valuations before loans are submitted.
The non-bank has also produced an interactive product guide to help brokers navigate La Trobe Financial’s product suite more efficiently.
Looking forward, the non-bank lender said it was set to launch a new quote function for brokers in the second half of the year and further upgrade the broker portal so brokers can upload documents via mobile.
Mr Bannister commented: “One of the positives of lockdown has been how quickly everybody has had to digitise – not just lenders, but the whole industry having to accept new ways of operating, whether that be conducting valuations remotely, accepting e-signatures etc etc.
“For us, we were fortunate that we already had digital VOI though IDYou and ZipID, DocuSign for loan document, and Digi docs for mortgage documents, so we have been spending this time refining the broker process to make it more seamless and a better user experience.”
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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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