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Major bank mortgages to go digital

by James Mitchell12 minute read

Following the 1 August deadline for paperless refinancing, one major lender has explained how technology is reshaping the way it delivers home loans.

Mortgage providers from across Australia are in the process of digitising their back-office operations. The migration to e-conveyancing has been a significant event in the evolution of the Australian mortgage market. More than 120 lenders have now signed up to exchange property online through PEXA’s network, where almost $58 billion worth of property has transacted to date.

As of 1 August in NSW and Victoria and 1 December in WA, commercial standalone mortgages will need to be lodged electronically by ADIs, while in NSW and Victoria, refinance transactions will have to be lodged electronically where both mortgagees are ADIs.

According to Marielle Yeoh, PEXA’s chief financial services officer, the best way for brokers to prepare for the change is to ask lenders if the transaction will be settling on PEXA and to share with customers and borrowers that there is now a new way of settling electronically.


NAB is at the forefront of these changes and sees the property industry moving towards 100 per cent digital settlements. The group’s general manager of customer lending operations, Gary Howard, said that digital settlements have a number of benefits for NAB and its customers.

“It gives us greater flexibility to deliver outcomes quickly for our customers,” Mr Howard said. "It also results in less duplication and cost. Leveraging technology will give our people the opportunity to focus on more personalised service, and for our customers it means increased security and real-time access to funds."

Improving turnaround times and delivering a better customer experience in home lending are key competitive advantages in a market where rate matching is common.

NAB believes that digital allows for a wide range of opportunities. “Certainly, there are a number of layers and legacy systems and processes within the mortgages process, and many of these processes are geared towards paper,” Mr Howard said.

“To digitise the entire mortgage process, end to end, we need to think differently and look for opportunities to innovate . . . and we are,” the chief said. “PEXA is a great example of what is possible and how we can progress towards delivering a better customer experience by going digital.”

Traditionally, some mortgage brokers have considered elements of digital processes a threat. This appears to be changing, with more and more brokers integrating digital solutions into their own businesses to drive efficiencies and improve productivity.

While NAB remains focused on delivering digital solutions in the mortgage space, Mr Howard recognises that not all areas need an electronic touch.

“We’re focused on delivering digital solutions that are driven by customer needs," he said, "but that doesn’t mean everything is going to be digitised, particularly where relationships and human advice counts.”

NAB recently strengthened its partnership with REA Group by announcing the sale of Choice Home Loans to the ASX-listed real estate listings giant. A fresh line of white-label mortgages has been tipped to hit the market as part of the NAB/REA deal.

But brokers are firmly on the group’s radar. Speaking at NAB's Knowledge is Everything road show in Sydney back in April, EGM of broker partnerships Anthony Waldron said that he expects broker market share to exceed 70 per cent over the coming years.

Mr Waldron explained how consultation on the ASIC remuneration review, for example, could further boost third-party share by improving trust.

“It’s the opportunity for more people to understand what brokers do; it’s the opportunity to build trust even further in what you do. And if we can do that then we won’t be talking about 53 or 54 per cent of mortgages going through the broker community. We will be talking about more like the numbers in the UK where it is already in the 72 or 73 per cent.”

Nevertheless, big banks acknowledge that the digital age is here, and NAB’s Mr Howard is confident that the property industry is moving towards “100 per cent” digital settlements.

Mr Howard said: “Within a few years, we expect the majority of transactions will be performed electronically.”

[Related: Major bank implements Sedgwick remuneration reforms]


James Mitchell


James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.

He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.

He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.

James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.


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