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NAB Broker - Enhancing commitment to brokers

Staff Reporter 6 minute read

NAB Broker has managed to chart a steady course through the troubled lending waters of the past eighteen months

2011 HAS been an important year for NAB Broker. The significant investment and program of improvements to the Homeside product and service platform came to fruition this year, delivering a compelling and very competitive proposition both for brokers and their clients.

“Brokers play an important role in the mortgage market and NAB Broker understands this,” says John Flavell, NAB Broker’s general manager distribution. “It is for this reason that NAB Broker has committed to working with our broker partners and improving our products and service proposition.”

The lender exceeded its growth expectations, according to Mr Flavell. “Thankfully, we are starting to see our hard work and commitment to growth in the broker channel pay off.”

The lender hopes to grow its broker-originated market share even further, Mr Flavell adds.

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“I believe we can write even more business through the broker channel over the coming year as long as we stay true to our broker partners and continue to listen to their needs and act on their requests.

“But while we are focussed on growing our broker market share even further, one thing we will never do is jeopardise the quality of our loan book. We want to make sure we continue to increase our return on equity, so that when we look to introduce new initiatives we have the investment and commitment from NAB behind us. If we can do this, then we can continue to refine and improve our broker service proposition and be a strong driver of growth for NAB.”

While NAB Broker may well have achieved all it set out to do over the past three years, the process wasn’t without its challenges, and having a strategic game plan proved to be essential.

“For the last three years,” Mr Flavell says, “we have set out to do three things: deliver a compelling proposition for the end customer; deliver a competitive and consistent service experience for our broker partners and their clients; and support and add value to brokers as business partners.”

CUSTOMER FIRST

As part of the lender’s bid to deliver that “compelling proposition for the end customer”, NAB Broker launched several initiatives, all of which have proven to be successful.

Homeside’s ‘price for risk’ structure, launched in October 2009, was one of the first initiatives that NAB Broker brought to the table.

In the following two years, the Homeside pricing structure provided brokers with a competitive advantage with Homeside being exclusively available via brokers and provided broker clients with a very compelling offer.

“Our ‘price for risk’ structure is perhaps one of our most successful initiatives to date. It is a win-win for both client and broker. It gives brokers a great proposition to take to their best clients and it gives good clients even more reasons to choose Homeside,” Mr Flavell says.

In recent months, the lender has further enhanced the pricing structure, introducing a new pricing tier for loans $500,000 and above, and sharpened some of the discount tiers for loans between $250,000 and $500,000.

Other enhancements include 60 per cent of Homeside home loan fees removed and reduced in March 2011.

“But that is not the only pro-borrower initiative that we have introduced over the last three years,” Mr Flavell says. “Late last month, we added the Qantas Gold Card to the Homeside credit card offer.”

“The NAB Qantas Gold Card is linked to the Qantas Frequent Flyer program, meaning a broker’s clients can earn points which can be redeemed for Qantas flights as well as a range of other rewards in their loyalty program,” he says.

According to Mr Flavell, the credit card further strengthens the lender’s core Homeplus home loan package.

When clients take the Homeplus package the credit card’s annual fee of $145.50 pa is waived for the life of the Homeplus home loan.

ENHANCING THE SERVICE EXPERIENCE

In addition to launching these initiatives, NAB Broker has invested significantly in the Homeside service offering.

“In the past 18 months, we have recruited more BDMs and now boast the largest field support team of any of the major banks,” Mr Flavell says. “We have also invested heavily in the capability of the team.

“In addition, we have increased the number of communication touch points we have with our broker partners. Today, outbound calls are made to the broker at every stage of the process, from loan coordinators to credit managers to the documentation team.

“This has been very well received by brokers and has provided a wonderful opportunity to capture real time broker feedback.”

The Homeside service teams are also now structured in state-based ‘pods’ in which the new business team sits side by side with the credit team and they work collaboratively to process the loans from application through to unconditional approval.

“We are constantly asking our brokers for feedback at the events we host or via more formal surveys and we consistently hear about the importance of communication – they want us to ‘over communicate’.” Mr Flavell says. “We now know that we need to pick up the phone and work together with our brokers – provide them with the ongoing, personal support they need.

“At the end of the day, we want to help our brokers provide their clients with a wide range of services and be involved in their financial life for a very long time.”

Interacting with brokers and asking for feedback is critical to the success of NAB Broker, according to Mr Flavell, who adds that some of the lender’s best initiatives have been developed on the back of broker feedback.

“It was our brokers who told us they wanted an online valuation service,” he says.

“The online valuation service has benefited brokers in two main ways: it has helped them service their clients and enhanced the value of their business.”

BUSINESS PARTNERSHIPS

According to Mr Flavell, NAB Broker is just as committed to helping its brokers build a valuable business as it is to providing quality service to customers.

“We want to support our broker partners in any way we can. After all, they are our most important business partners,” he says.

Homeside’s ramped trail structure was launched in July 2007 and was designed to acknowledge and support the efforts of brokers in retaining Homeside customers.

“In terms of helping our brokers add value to their business, our ramped trail structure has been another very successful initiative,” he says. “Every day that passes, there are several hundred broker client loans that migrate to the next commission level.

“When we first launched the ramped trail structure, some brokers were unsure. They thought it was a good idea, but how many brokers can keep their clients for five years-plus with the same lender?

“Well, as it turns out, a lot of brokers do just this. We understand that maintaining the client relationship costs our brokers money, so we want to reward that work with additional commissions.”

NAB Broker is committed to sharing margin where it makes margin, Mr Flavell says.

“We want to be the ‘lender partner of choice’ for brokers. We still have a lot to do, but we are more committed than ever to this channel and our ongoing investment in the product and service proposition is demonstration of that commitment.”

NAB Broker - Enhancing commitment to brokers
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