The needs of brokers, bank customers and the broader community are “changing rapidly” as technology develops and lending evolves, the head of third party at a non-major lender has said.
Speaking to The Adviser after the announcement that CBA subsidiary Bankwest would be closing nearly 30 branches and “prioritising” broker and digital channels, the bank’s head of third party, Ian Rakhit, said that the move was made “in order to meet changing customer needs”.
“We’ve made this decision to allow us to prioritise investment in broker and digital,” Mr Rakhit said, adding that bank customers “increasingly expect seamless digital services”.
Mr Rakhit said: “We can’t match the major banks’ nationwide footprint and also deliver world-class digital services, so we are prioritising where we invest.
“We looked at our network through a customer lens and identified those branches that continue to generate stronger demand, balanced with the need for an even geographical spread to minimise customer impact.”
Bankwest’s head of third party said that customer expectations are set by varied experiences, so the bank was looking to examples such as Uber, Spotify and the emerging fintech sector to “see how [it] can provide the best experience for customers”.
Likewise, Mr Rakhit said that the bank was also looking to digital innovation to support the broker channel, highlighting the bank’s online broker portal as an example.
“Brokers’ needs, and the needs and expectations of our customers and the broader community, are changing rapidly. As a result, we’re evolving and improving the digital services and products we offer and we will continue to listen and respond to broker and industry feedback,” Mr Rakhit said.
However, the head of third party added that education was also a key component in continually improving the lending experience.
Emphasising that the bank had recently announced changes to its accreditation protocols for brokers in support of the recommendations from the Combined Industry Forum (CIF) and off the back of broker feedback, Mr Rakhit said that it has also been “implementing additional training for new-to-industry brokers”.
As part of this commitment to broker education, Bankwest has partnered with The Adviser to help deliver the inaugural Business Accelerator Program next month.
The hands-on workshop event will visit three cities — Brisbane on 18 September, Sydney on 20 September and Melbourne on 27 September — and is a jam-packed, deep learning program designed to equip brokers with the knowledge to increase volumes and expand their client base.
Delivered in a hands-on workshop environment, the Business Accelerator Program aims to help brokers reduce administration and increase productivity.
Mr Rakhit said that The Adviser’s Business Accelerator Program 2018 “aligns with Bankwest’s focus on building relationships with quality brokers and delivering better consumer outcomes”.
“As the principal partner, I feel this collaboration will help cement Bankwest’s position as the preferred bank for ambitious brokers who are invested in building high-volume, high-quality brokerages.
“By adopting a leadership position with this initiative, Bankwest will be synonymous with being an innovative and supportive financial institution dedicated to providing market-leading education and training for brokers.
“This commitment to raising the standards of the broking industry will elevate Bankwest as an institution that delivers exceptional service for brokers and, ultimately, better outcomes for their clients.”
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Find out more about The Adviser’s Business Accelerator Program 2018.