The Australian mortgage market is set for a fresh boost of competition as a new lender gears up to launch its third-party offering later in the year.
Bank of Sydney will test its offering through the broker channel with a soft launch through selected aggregators in the fourth quarter of this year.
A full launch is planned for Q1 of 2015.
The lender has been operating in Australia for over 20 years, and originally was a representative office of the Greek-owned Laiki Bank.
In May last year it rebranded as Bank of Sydney and now has its sights set on challenging the market as “Australia’s only true relationship bank”.
“When I came into the role a little over 12 months ago, we agreed that Australia doesn’t need another big bank lookalike – there are enough of them,” Bank of Sydney chief executive Julie Elliott said.
“We have set ourselves the goal of being Australia’s only true relationship bank,” Ms Elliott told Mortgage Business, adding that brokers will see an immediate difference when dealing with the lender.
“Brokers have got a very important role in the market and that has to be respected,” she said. “They will be an important part of our distribution channel.
“Because we are a smaller lender, brokers will be the bigger fish in a smaller pond, which should give everyone assurance that this is going to be important for us and for them.”
Ms Elliott started her career at KPMG before moving to NAB and then Westpac, where she was the first woman to run a business banking centre.
After taking the reins at Bank of Sydney just over a year ago, Ms Elliott hired broker specialist Steve Sampson to consult on the opportunities of third-party distribution.
When it launches into the broker market later in the year, Bank of Sydney will work with brokers to avoid channel conflict, provide a compelling product suite and commission structure as well as minimising clawbacks.
“Our bank managers will work together with brokers – we are not looking to undercut,” Ms Elliott said.
“We are making the delineation very clear: we will be working with the broker, not against them,” she said.
“From the broker side, we are conscious that clawbacks are a very hot topic and our offering around that will be a competitive and interesting one for brokers.”
Bank of Sydney currently has 16 branches across Australia that will work intimately with brokers to assure the best outcome for customers.
“Our bank managers will be intimately involved with our broker team,” Ms Elliott said.
“When you work with us, either as a broker or as a customer, you are part of the family.”