Unlike the big four, non-major lenders such as overseas, regional and customer-owned banks do not have strong enough branch networks to allow them to compete with the majors in the direct channel.
Smaller lenders are therefore becoming increasingly reliant on mortgage brokers to not only distribute their products but market their brand to customers.
Luckily, there is a large proportion of Australians seeking an alternative to the majors, according to CUA general manager, products and marketing, Jason Murray.
Speaking to Mortgage Business, Mr Murray said competitive pricing is an enormous part of that.
“People are going to brokers looking for competitive pricing and they are going to be comparing you against a whole range of providers,” he said. “So that is really the entry point.
“Ultimately a broker has to be satisfied to promote you on the full suite of what you offer.”
Mr Murray said brokers are a gateway for customers discovering non-major brands like CUA.
“It is a really important part of the extended network,” he said. “It is almost a marketing channel. We have been putting a much greater emphasis on the channel in terms of how we market and communicate to the brokers themselves so that they can pass on our core messages and our brand proposition to the customers.”
CUA chief executive Chris Whitehead and others have recently returned from national roadshow where they spoke to brokers about the bank and received feedback on what brokers want from their lender partners.
CUA rebranded in May with the aim of bringing the focus back to customers, Mt Murray said.
“Sure, every bank will say that customers are important,” he says. “But when you are customer-owned and that is your only stakeholder, you don’t have shareholders that are external to your organisation, then we should be excellent at it – we should be the pinnacle of customer centricity.”
Mr Murray believes this is essential for all non-majors.
“You’ve got to differentiate and be true to what your purpose is,” he said.
“Clearly as a member-owned organisation that has to be your purpose.”
CUA has experienced 15 per cent growth on its mortgage book over the past 12 months.