CBA reveals home loan digitisation plans

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia has spoken out about its plans to harness the power of digital to improve mortgage origination.

Speaking ahead of the 10th Annual Loan Origination Excellence event in Sydney next week, CBA general manager of group lending services Dan O’Neill told the event’s organisers that digitising the loan origination process will benefit the customer, lender and broker, since they can spend more quality time on the customer’s needs rather than explaining their way through a maze of bank and industry forms and processes.

“There are multiple obstacles in Australia to reaching this goal, but that doesn’t mean it’s unachievable,” Mr O’Neill said.

“It just needs the entire industry to move together akin to the digital settlement solution we have all collaborated on with [the electronic conveyancing network] PEXA.

“Moving the home loan industry away from an insistence on ‘wet’ (physically signed) signatures to secure digital signatures is obviously a key obstacle to overcome,” he said.

CBA has already done this for asset finance and bank guarantees origination, Mr O’Neill noted.

“On a more basic level, a significant barrier to productivity across the home loan origination process is the variations of rules, forms and regulations in each territory,” he said.

“There has been a much faster uptake of the digital origination process overseas, as other countries do not have to contend with these variations.”

More than half of Australians are now covered by the country’s emerging electronic conveyancing network.

PEXA, the government agency that is overseeing the rollout of a national system, launched full online property transfer functionality in Victoria in late January.

Victorian property lawyers and conveyancers have already been using the e-conveyancing system to lodge and remove caveats since June 2014.

However, now all Victorians can use PEXA to complete online property transfers, which is something that has been available in NSW since November 2014.

PEXA chief executive Marcus Price said a national e-conveyancing platform would place Australia years ahead of other countries in terms of efficiency, security and customer service.

“The platform modernises conveyancing, improves cost efficiencies and almost eliminates the significant rework linked to mistakes made using traditional paper-based conveyancing,” he said.

Queensland and Western Australia are scheduled to receive full functionality in May, followed by the remaining states at an unspecified time.

Without a doubt, digitising the home buying process from search to settlement and maintenance will open up a host of new customer experiences which will drive and design new loan products and practices we haven’t even considered before, CBA’s Mr O’Neill said.

“We will be able to guarantee decision times for our customers, significantly reduce turnaround times and proactively offer more support and communication,” he said.

“The ability to buy a house today and pick up the keys tomorrow isn’t an idea to be laughed at anymore.”

CBA believes customers should continue to have multiple channels of choice, depending on their particular need at a given time in their life – online, branch, mobile or broker – and the bank will continue to invest to improve the customer experience in each of these, he added.

“Importantly, we consciously designed our origination process to provide the distribution channels with the same core operations and platform, which means our customers receive the same experience and service irrespective of which channel they choose, because our offers and support are consistent.”

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