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NAB to accelerate unconditional approvals

The big four bank has confirmed that it is rolling out a new program of work to increase the speed in which it provides unconditional approvals.

The new program comes as the major bank seeks to increase its capabilities in online and telephone banking, following the COVID-19-induced acceleration of remote banking.

Among the new program of work is an overhaul of its system to unconditionally approve mortgages.

In June of last year, National Australia Bank (NAB) told brokers it was bringing in a number of changes to its submission standards for loan applications in a bid to “achieve unconditional approval at first touch”.

The bank has now confirmed that it is working on further streamlining its approval process by consolidating its multiple origination systems into one and reducing touch points.

According to Momentum Intelligence’s latest Broker Pulse survey (undertaken in November 2020), the major bank is, on average, taking 7 days to reach an initial credit decision on broker-introduced loans.

NAB has now told Mortgage Business that it aims to provide unconditional approvals in under an hour for 30 per cent of its loans by September, as part of this new program of work.

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Andy Kerr, NAB executive home ownership, commented: “We know the home loan process can be complex, and we’ve taken a number of steps to simplify and speed up the time it takes for approval.

“For a small number of customers, we have been able to provide unconditional approvals within 60 minutes, giving them the confidence to act quickly in the market.

“We will continue to expand this capability to more customers across all our channels as this year progresses. 

“By the end of September, we anticipate providing unconditional approval in under an hour for around 30 per cent of our home loans.”

Mr Kerr concluded: “We want to make the experience of buying a home simpler for all our customers and support them with the confidence of an approval as quickly as possible.”

The major bank’s move to expedite and digitise its approvals process comes amid an increasing focus on meeting “changing customer needs and expectations”. These changes include catering to the new generation of customers that expect to be able to transact digitally and quickly, as well as the increased need for remote banking services due to movement restrictions brought about by COVID.

To help meet these expectations, NAB recently introduced a no-interest credit card targeting younger customers and competing with the burgeoning buy now, pay later sector. It has also been reducing some of its physical branch presence, reskilling and redeploying bank staff to digital or phone banking support.

Speaking last year, NAB’s group executive personal banking, Rachel Slade, commented: “It is clear the face of banking is changing, especially in the way customers want to interact with us…

“[O]ur customers’ needs and expectations are changing, and we want to change with them,” she said.

[Related: NAB launches no-interest credit card]

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