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Farewell to Citi’s mortgage distribution team

Matt Wood, the head of mortgage distribution at Citi, and several members of the third-party channel team have been made redundant following NAB’s acquisition of the banking business.

Several long-serving members of Citi’s mortgage operations have been made redundant and left the company last week (26 April), as National Australia Bank (NAB) transitions Citi into the major bank following its acquisition.

Given the cessation of Citi mortgages in the Australian retail market, several members of the third-party distribution team (believed to be approximately 17 people) have been made redundant. (However, Mortgage Business understands that six Citi staff have taken on positions at NAB, including business development managers Sunny Cheng and several relationship managers.)

Among those who have left NAB are Citi veteran Matt Wood, the head of mortgage distribution, who had been with the bank for the past 26 years.

During his tenure at Citi, Mr Wood held a range of senior positions, including national head of credit operations, national head of direct sales, and state manager of commercial mortgages.

He had been heading up the broker distribution team for the past seven years.

Mr Wood thanked Phil Waugh and the NAB broker distribution and leadership team for their support during the transition, commenting: “NAB were extremely welcoming of the Citi business and treated us with absolute respect from day one. They were fantastic.”

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He added that the Citi distribution team had been “very focused on managing the final few Citi customers through the pipeline over the past few months” as well as wrapping up any remaining broker deals.

Reflecting on the end of the Citi brand in retail mortgages, Mr Wood thanked brokers for their support over the years.

Speaking to Mortgage Business, Mr Wood said: “My final words to brokers would be: thank you. Thank you for your support. They have been very kind to us [Citi] and knew that we were very heavily reliant on them.

“We embraced the broker channel as we were never a big player in the direct channel.

“Without our broker partners, we didn’t have a mortgage business at Citi, and so we brought a great deal of passion to the broker channel.”

Mr Wood noted that Citi had been one of the first banks to support the broker channel and start paying broker commissions and was among one of the first lenders to support aggregation company Australian Finance Group (AFG) when it first started out.

“We have really enjoyed being a champion of the broker channel... Brokers were a business partner and we are very proud of how we looked after the broker from start to finish,” he said.

He noted the rapid growth of the broker channel over the past two decades, adding that he believed broker market share would continue to grow over the next few years.

Reflecting on his two decades at Citi — and his time heading up the bank’s mortgage distribution team — Mr Wood said he hoped the brand would be remembered for its “great people”. He highlighted that the average tenure in the mortgage broker sales/BDM team was over 10 years.

Mr Wood concluded: “I would like to think we achieved a lot at Citi. We have had some incredibly talented and loyal people working at the bank and we have had some amazing relationships with the channel — from brokers, to aggregators, to vendors.

“We may have only had 1 per cent of market share but we were always given a voice and were well [supported], which was fantastic.”

Looking to the future, Mr Wood said he hoped to remain in the third-party channel and help ensure that the broker channel was “healthy” and “continuing to grow”.

Background to the Citi-NAB deal

While the $1.2 billion acquisition of Citi’s retail banking business was finalised in June 2022, the subsumption of the Citi brand is being integrated into NAB in stages.

Citi’s Australian banking assets and liabilities were transferred to NAB last year (when Citi’s banking licence was also revoked), with Citi personnel moving across to NAB to manage the handover.

Over the past few months, the major bank has been subsuming Citi’s retail business and will be continuing to move its customers onto the NAB platform and product suite over the next year.

While the Citi brand will remain for corporate clients, the integration of Citi into the NAB business will take approximately 30 months, underpinned by a transitional service agreement.

Indeed, applications for new Citi-branded mortgages closed on 31 March 2023, with all applications accepted prior to this date needing to be settled before the end of the financial year (30 June 2023). It is believed that only a handful of mortgages are left in the pipeline, with Citi’s Broker Assist helpline remaining active until all deals are completed.

Mr Waugh, executive for NAB Broker said: “NAB’s broker team has launched a new operating model, introducing new relationship manager roles to provide even greater levels of service to our customers.

“We always have and always will be a relationship-led business which is why each of our brokers each have a dedicated and accredited Citi and NAB Broker to support their business.”

[Related: Citi licence revoked following NAB merger]

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