Industry gathers to discuss online channel

Eight financial institutions including two major banks have shared their thoughts on the opportunities available in online mortgage distribution.

A roundtable held in December last year included executives from ANZ, CBA, Macquarie, ME Bank, Pepper, Resimac, AFG and Mortgage Choice. Their input formed The Deloitte Australian Mortgage Report 2015, released yesterday. 

Within the report, ME Bank group executive Angela Middleton noted that more than 80 per cent of consumers now research mortgages online, yet fewer than 5 per cent proceed with an application online due to difficulties with the process.

“That just shows the opportunity there for banks,” Ms Middleton said.

“Those that improve their online services, including the automation of some of the loan application process, making it simpler and appealing, will stand to capture some of that market."

If lenders are to provide an online mortgage offering, they will want to minimise human interaction as much as possible and ideally, allow consumers to get approval on the spot, Ms Middleton said.

“To that end, the process should be simple and easy to use,” she said.

ANZ's head of home loan product management, Bill Armour, believes the key to providing online mortgages is to consider the ‘straight through’ or end-to-end online mortgage process, alongside the ‘omni-channel’ experience.

“In a straight through home loan you can do every part of the process online,” Mr Armour said. “But when you combine it with omni-channel it means that you can do any part of the process online."

Frank Ganis, executive director at Macquarie Bank, noted that consumers expect funders to have the ability to service and support them through technology.

Consumers are now basing their decision on post-settlement events, Mr Ganis said. “At least being able to access their account online, manage it, and perform other functions online. That’s the real test.”

CBA has significantly ramped up its technology offering over the last few years and has recently completed research to show that consumers are looking for more control around their decisions when it comes to home loans.

“What you are seeing post-settlement is consumers wanting to control their account and manage their money,” CBA’s James Sheffield said. “To be able to put more money in and then take it out when needed, or redraw it.

“That is being facilitated by mobile technology and the expectation that lenders will enable the consumer to control their finances.”

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