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Auswide Bank eyes third-party channel to grow loan book

Having achieved its strongest-ever loan book growth in the financial year 2023, the ASX-listed lender is now focusing on third-party banking for its next period of growth and development.

Non-major lender Auswide Bank Limited (Auswide Bank) has revealed that it will look to focus on third-party and private banking moving forward, as it shifts to a period of “growth and development”.

In its FY23 annual report, released yesterday (23 October), the lender stated “the next three years will be a period of growth and development at Auswide Bank”.

As part of that strategy, the lender confirmed that it would focus on four pillars moving forward:

  • A focus on third-party and private banking for loan book and deposit acquisition.
  • Actively pursuing inorganic growth to improve its ability to scale or step change its capacity.
  • Providing “exceptional” customer experience across all channels to grow and ensure retention of customers.
  • Investing to grow and “keeping the promise” by ensuring growth is aligned to financial metrics for stakeholders.

After achieving its strongest-ever loan book growth in FY23, taking its book to $4.4 billion, the non-major bank stated that its broker network “represents an important distribution channel”.

The lender’s annual report revealed that the bank will continue to “build [its] broker capability through investment to improve both the broker and customer experience”.

It read: “Our broker relationship managers focus on building a strong rapport with brokers and aggregators, which we believe differentiates us from many of our competitors.”

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The bank stated its broker flows contributed to it achieving “significant growth” outside its core market of South-East Queensland.

It revealed the channel helped it achieve 112.5 per cent growth in its loan book (reaching $389.2 million) across Western Australia, South Australia, the Northern Territory and Tasmania in FY23.

The lender is also reportedly continuing to invest in digital capabilities to “improve the broker digital experience”.

Auswide Bank stated it had implemented an artificial intelligence machine – Eula – that had learning capabilities to help improve customer home loan retention, while investment in data and robotics capabilities were ongoing.

As part of focusing on the pillars of its corporate plan, the non-major bank will also continue to review acquisition opportunities that the bank feels could add diversification, capability and profitable growth to the business.

It stated it would look to mergers and acquisitions as well as partnerships as it looks to “actively pursue inorganic growth up to $4 billion”.

Furthermore, the lender said it would “monitor opportunities to acquire loan books or suitable institutions as the opportunity presents itself”.

Managing director to retire

The non-major bank’s annual report also confirmed that the bank’s managing director Martin Barrett will retire at the end of the year (31 December 2023).

Having commenced as chief executive of Wide Bay Australia Limited (now Auswide Bank) on 4 February 2013, Mr Barrett was subsequently appointed managing director in September that year.

The bank thanked Mr Barrett for his contribution over the past 10 years.

Writing in the annual report, Mr Barrett said: “I am humbled and honoured to have worked with our wonderful staff and customers that have contributed to the bank’s success.

“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Auswide Bank, and I look forward to continuing to watch the bank’s success.

“I have appreciated the experience, capability and support of our board led initially by John Humphrey and, in more recent times, by Sandra Birkensleigh. We have worked hard together to develop the bank we have today. I appreciate the guidance, the necessary challenges and the support.”

[Related: Auswide celebrates record loan book increase]

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