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NAB’s main tech spend ‘has been on brokers’: Phil Waugh

by Reporter11 minute read
NAB’s main tech spend ‘has been on brokers’: Phil Waugh

The broker channel has been the focus of the major bank’s main investment in technology this year, according to NAB’s executive, broker distribution.

Digitally transforming and automating the loan writing process for brokers has been the main source of focus and investment for National Australia Bank (NAB) this year, it has been revealed.

While releasing the “Market megatrends 2022: Uncovering the opportunities for brokers” report on Friday (21 October), the bank’s executive, broker distribution, Phil Waugh, outlined that the bank expected a key trend moving forward to be a “digital revolution”, as automation and technology make the end-to-end home lending process “quicker, simpler and smarter”.

The report noted that the rapid acceleration of digital technology adoption — triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic — is expected to continue moving forward, as consumers become more comfortable transacting online.


Indeed, the report noted that the economic value of digital trade in Australia is predicted to grow to $192 billion by 2030 (according to the Export Council of Australia), with technological workforce employees forecast to rise by 5.5 per cent from 2021–27.

Mr Waugh noted that NAB had been moving more than 60 per cent of its banking applications to the cloud, which has reduced critical incidents by 87 per cent since 2018.

Speaking at the report launch on Friday (21 October), Mr Waugh added that NAB’s largest investment in technology this year has been in the broker channel, as it aims to make the end-to-end process for broker-introduced loans “as seamless as possible”.

“We have been focused on moving as much as possible to the cloud, while also automating the broker origination platform,” he said.

“That’s the enterprise’s largest investment at the moment… we’re building out a new origination platform and process and as we broaden out the capability within that platform, it will increase the percentage of applications that flow through from end to end.”

The time to unconditional approval for NAB brokers has reportedly more than halved to an average of 5.3 days (down from 15.6 days a year ago), while Advantedge customers receive unconditional approvals in an average of 3.8 days (down from around 7.8 days a year ago).

The executive, broker distribution, told The Adviser that the investment in broker tools and digital transformation forms part of the bank’s aim to be “market leading” on making the origination process “just flow through the system”.

He outlined that it was “really important” and “increasingly important” for brokers to be able to have approvals within a day, adding that chief executive Ross McEwan has an aspiration of having broker-originated applications receive unconditional approvals “within an hour”.

Part of this ambition is hinged on the technology of the Simple home loan, which has started rolling out to the broker market and will be expanded to increase the percentage of applications that flow through from end to end. 

NAB has suggested that it will continue roll out improvements for this that will enable great use of technology, minimise the potential for errors, and provide faster processing times.

He said: “We understand that brokers do a really good job of making the complex simple. So, while the complexity within the loans is still there, our goal is to make that process simple. And I think that we, as an industry, have not done a very good job of that.

“So we want to be market leading on making that process.”

[Related: FHB, investors ‘in prime position’: NAB report]

phil waugh nab ta


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