The major bank CEO has also now confirmed that “time to yes” is different depending on channel, outlining that it takes between 10-12 days in the broker channel but can be as low as an hour when direct.
In his appearance at the economics standing committee hearing for the Review of the Four Major Banks and other Financial Institutions on Friday (16 April), ANZ CEO Shayne Elliot was asked by the committee about the bank’s turnaround times for home loans.
Following a similar line of questioning to the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), Westpac and the National Australia Bank (NAB) last week, committee chair Tim Wilson asked: “What’s the average time for a standard mortgage product at the moment (‘time to yes’ for ANZ)?”
Mr Elliott responded that this would depend on a range of factors.
He said: “If you’re an ANZ customer and we’ve known for a period of time and you walk into an ANZ branch, you will walk out of that meeting with a ‘yes’. You will know within, literally an hour or so, within that day if you come in with the right documents and everything is in order.
“If you’re a new-to-bank customer, we don’t know you, and you come through the broker channel for example, [that’s a] little bit more distance.
“If you come with all the correct documentation, the payslips and all the bits and pieces, you will typically get an answer in 10 to 12 days. Those are averages, and there will be a tail that’s a bit longer. There will be others that will be a bit shorter.”
According to Momentum Intelligence’s Broker Pulse survey for March 2021, brokers said that ANZ’s turnaround times stood at 16.4 days, down from 18.2 days in December 2020, 19.7 days in January 2021, and 16.7 days in February 2021.
When Mr Wilson asked if turnaround times vary based on the level of demand, Mr Elliott said 10 days would “mostly” be an accurate estimate for pre-approvals for new-to-lender customers who provide the necessary documentation.
The ANZ CEO outlined that there has been a shift in turnaround times recently, adding: “In fact, if you look at over the long term, over the last five, six, or seven years, it’s actually even longer. It’s drifted up. That’s particularly for the new-to-bank customers,” Mr Elliott said.
“If you look through... over the last year, it bounces around and largely because the processes are, today, largely manual. Therefore, we still have a lot of people needing to look at documents etc. And so, depending on volume, when there’s lots of demand for home loans, as we’ve seen over the last year, those times can blow out.”
Mr Elliott added that the lender saw periods over the last year where turnaround times extended to over 20 days, while in other periods it was six or seven days.
Calls to move on e-signature law reform
The ANZ CEO also backed the call for changes to be made to the law to enable digital signatures. According to Mr Elliott, this could result in a “material improvement” on turnaround times for business loans.
Mr Elliott was responding to a similar line of questioning directed at the other major banks by Mr Wilson, who asked: “CBA said the absence of e-signatures takes approvals for business lending from six days to 24 days, Westpac said about 10 days.”
Adding that NAB CEO Ross McEwan suggested that these could be “five to six days minimum”, Mr Wilson asked for ANZ’s position on the matter.
Mr Elliot said that while every situation differs, five to 10 days for approvals of business loans “would not be unexpected”.
Explaining the drivers of these approval times, Mr Elliott said: “The reason I say that it’s really all about: ‘I’m going to send you documents’ and then they go backwards and forwards.
“It depends on where you live, the postal system, all sorts of things,” he said.
Mr Wilson then posited that the “failure” to enable digital signatures on documents delays economic activity “significantly”, particularly in the current “critical period”, when small and larger businesses require capital to invest into their business.
“There’s a week or two, you multiply that by the scale of the Australian economy and this is actually significantly delaying the extent of recovery. Is that fair?” he asked.
Mr Elliot responded by stating that in order to service customers and enable faster access to funds, “we should move forward on this reform”.
Longer turnaround times and a perceived lack of consistency of credit decisioning have resulted in broker satisfaction with all lenders dropping to new lows. The March 2021 Broker Pulse survey of 199 mortgage brokers revealed that the average Net Promoter Score (NPS) hit -10.18 in March 2021, the lowest point since the inception of the survey in 2019.
Find out more about the turnaround time issue in The Adviser's short explainer video, below.
Malavika Santhebennur is the features editor on the mortgages titles at Momentum Media.
Before joining the team in 2019, Malavika held roles with Money Management and Benchmark Media. She has been writing about financial services for the past six years.
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