When industry leader Ms Kathy Cummings joined the Bank of Queensland (BOQ) in January 2020, her remit was clear: to re-build and re-invigorate the Bank’s broking division. Almost 12 months in, the team has generated impressive momentum, from simplifying their product offering, processes and procedures, to launching a Secure Broker Portal.
These successes are the product of a dedicated program of work known within the Bank as the Home Buying Transformation Project. The project was initiated in mid-2019 under the leadership of Mr James Sheffield, now BOQ’s General Manager for Home Buying and a colleague of Ms Cummings from her time at Commonwealth Bank.
“The Home Buying Transformation Team has a mandate to design and deliver fast and simple processes that will support the kind of quality home lending experiences that Brokers and home buyers expect from us,” said Mr Sheffield.
Based on market research and feedback from their Broker network, the team has been prioritising efforts to ensure BOQ can consistently deliver the fastest possible time to the right decision for customers who are eagerly awaiting the outcome of their home lending application.
Mr Sheffield continued: “To achieve this, we’re doing away with complex and unnecessary administrative tasks and streamlining our communications to Brokers. This includes regularly reviewing our communications, policies and procedures to make sure they’re easy to understand.”
One of the project team’s most significant achievements to date is delivering BOQ’s Secure Broker Portal. Brokers can use this tool to complete their accreditation with BOQ online, access the Bank’s simplified credit policy, track the status of applications from start to finish, as well as submit and track pricing requests to support customer acquisition and retention.
Best of all, the Portal is accessible via desktop and mobile, ensuring Brokers have access to the information they need when they’re out and about or connecting with customers remotely.
“A critical part of enhancing the BOQ Broker service proposition is making it as simple and convenient as possible for Brokers to do business with us,” said Ms Cummings. “We’re delighted that our Portal is enabling us to work together more efficiently, so we can help more Australians achieve their home buying goals.”
Another step BOQ has taken to improve the Broker experience is putting Brokers in direct contact with the Bank’s Credit Assessors when an application isn’t supported or needs further work.
“Like all aspects of banking, broking is built on relationships and a key part of transforming the home buying process is creating open and productive partnerships with our trusted network of Brokers,” said Ms Cummings.
BOQ has also launched a valuations ordering hub, enabling Brokers to pre-order property valuations before submitting a customer’s home lending application, which can help deliver a faster time to decision.
The Home Buying Transformation Team’s efforts will continue into the new year, as they push ahead with a comprehensive review of the Bank’s Home Lending Terms and Conditions.
“Earlier this year we re-wrote our Home Lending Policy to make it easier for our Brokers and customers to follow. Now, we’re applying the same lens to our Home Lending Terms and Conditions. Home buyers receive so many documents when they take out a loan – we want to ensure everything is written in customer friendly language that is simple to understand,” Mr Sheffield explained.
The team is also committed to improving the BOQ experience for existing home lending customers, by simplifying common maintenance tasks and better preparing for key milestones along the lending journey. For example, the Bank will soon introduce reminders to let Brokers know when a customer’s fixed rate term is scheduled to mature, so Brokers can proactively re-connect with those customers to talk about their next steps.
“We aspire to be the regional Bank of choice for Brokers and customers,” said Ms Cummings. “James and his team are playing a critical role in helping us earn that title. I’m really proud of what we’ve achieved together and excited about all the positive change still to come.”