Online real estate giant REA Group is currently exploring opportunities to work with mortgage brokers after announcing that it will soon offer home loans through a partnership with NAB.
Both NAB and realestate.com.au have established dedicated teams to collaborate on the development and rollout of the project, which will include a NAB-funded white-label home loan product.
Speaking to The Adviser, REA Group’s executive director of financial services, Andrew Russell, said the new business will allow users to apply for mortgages online and continue the fulfilment process via a number of channels.
“One is the digital experience. They can continue with the fulfilment process using phone, online and face-to-face channels,” Mr Russell said.
“As part of our strategy we assessed the way consumers liked to purchase home loans in this country and it is very clear that the broker channel is very strong, with 50 per cent or more currently applying through that channel,” he said.
“We are exploring opportunities how to best bring a broker offering into our experience. We recognise that choice is very important and will be setting up an option to be able to deliver that to those that choose a broker channel.”
Mr Russell is no stranger to the third-party channel, having previously held the general manager position at Mortgage Choice. However, he notes that the mortgage industry is changing and that digitally-savvy operators like REA Group are now well-placed to launch a financial service offering by leveraging new technology.
“We recognise that the broker channel is extremely large and want to be playing in there to meet our customers’ needs. But we also want to explore and grow and develop our capabilities in phone and digital fulfilment,” Mr Russell said.
“All of us in the industry are saying the industry is changing, technology is improving the way we conduct our business. Part of the fundamentals of our strategy is recognising that and leveraging both technology and new channels to create a very successful financial services business that meets consumer needs.
“If we can lead some of this change in the way people apply for loans and even the way brokers engage with their customers, that would be a big tick for us.”
Mr Russell said it is still too early to say whether the group will engage with specific aggregation groups or brokerages.
REA Group has an existing lead generation partnership with AFG.
[Related: REA Group to roll-out white-label home loans]