Brokers have reported that branch networks are losing their appeal, although regional borrowers may still value bricks and mortar.
According to a recent poll on The Adviser, 77 per cent of respondents said their customers value branch networks less than they used to.
Another 14 per cent said clients value branch networks the same as before, while nine per cent said they value them more than ever.
Citiwide Home Loans chief executive Patrick Marion confirmed that his customers don’t consider branches to be as important as they once were.
“Generally when we’re setting up a loan for a client, we’ll have the discussion about how they want their banking, and most of them are receptive to internet banking,” he told The Adviser.
Mr Marion said this trend was likely to favour brokers because it would allow them to position themselves as a local community’s finance choice rather than the bank branch.
However, Robert Trewin from Robert Trewin Mortgage Broking, who is based in the small Victorian town of Bairnsdale, said regional customers still value local branches.
“I’ve got good relationships with the majority of banks in town and the branch managers, and we try to work together to look after our clients,” he said.
“If I talk to a client in relation to a lender that doesn’t have representation locally, it doesn’t cause any major issues, however you’ll find they probably still have their branch banking with a major bank that’s in town.”
Mr Trewin told The Adviser that his close ties with the local branch managers allows him to minimise channel conflict.
“I’ve got to keep a close eye on how clients are treated. Sometimes you might have set something up and know it’s the right thing for the client because you’ve spent two hours with them working out their needs, but then you’ve got a teller telling them they’ve got the wrong product after seeing them for three seconds,” he said.