Speaking to Mortgage Business, Suncorp’s head of intermediaries, Steve Degetto, said the bank’s primary focus is being seen as a genuine alternative for brokers.
“We really want to send the message that we are absolutely open for business,” Mr Degetto said.
“We want to fill that mantle of being the genuine alternative to brokers at the busiest time of the year.”
Mr Degetto has worked in the banking industry for 20 years and says he can’t remember the mortgage market being more competitive.
“Customers are more informed than ever before, brokers are looking for a point of difference and lenders on occasion will pull the big levers, one of which is price,” he said.
“We are looking to build longer-term relationships with brokers, longer-term relationships with customers, and for us it is really the start of a campaign to position ourselves as that genuine alternative.”
Aiming to be the best bank for brokers, Suncorp sees its high quality broker support service as a key point of difference and has aligned its mortgage services to ensure quick settlements and open communication between the bank and the third-party channel.
“We are one of the only lenders that measure the success of its processing team,” Mr Degetto said.
“A large part of their performance is measured on settlements. So we are all aligned from the top right down to the person who decisions the loan and the broker,” he said.
“It is all about alignment and getting customers and their transactions through in a positive way.”
Mr Degetto observed how brokers have become increasingly professional in recent years, placing customer needs ahead of commissions by pushing lenders for better service, rather than higher commissions.
“I have been in the third-party space for 15 years and the message brokers consistently send is if the product or deal is not right for a customer, they won’t put it to a lender,” he said.
“Commissions are absolutely secondary to looking after a customer’s best interests.
“The bank is looking for customer-centric brokers. At the end of the day, I have met a lot of successful brokers in my time and there hasn’t been one who hasn’t put their customer before commissions.”
In the 12 months to 30 June, Suncorp managed to reduce its non-performing loans by 18 per cent, helping the bank deliver an after-tax profit of $228 million.
The lender’s net interest margin increased from 1.64 per cent to 1.72 per cent in the year to 30 June.
Residential mortgages now account for 78 per cent of the regional bank’s lending portfolio, with commercial and SME lending contributing 12 per cent and agricultural lending contributing 9 per cent.