This mutual bank has lofty ambitions for the future – and brokers will be central to its success, says chief digital bank officer
Hiver aims to be Australia’s most ethical digital bank – and since it is backed by Teachers Mutual Bank Limited, it has a very good chance at succeeding, according to chief digital bank officer Carolyn Murphy.
“The KPMG annual mutual industry report in 2020 said that the success of mutuals really lies in that strong customer bond and affiliation as a purpose-driven organisation providing value to the community and members alike,” she told MPA. “We really believe there is a big opportunity for a mutual entity like Hiver, by its very nature, as it is well placed to deliver ethical banking.”
Teachers Mutual Bank Limited launched the digital bank last month, the very first of its kind in the sector, in response to demand from members looking for more self-service options, said Murphy.
“We’re hoping to attract a younger membership base as well and really stay in touch with how they want to do their banking and how we can continue to evolve that over time,” she said.
Targeted specifically at essential workers in the education, emergency and health care sectors, Hiver comes with benefits for both the bank and its customers by offering a quicker time to serve at a reduced cost.
“We’ll be able to have even more competitive interest rates, low fees and that great service,” she said. “Hiver has two distinct advantages and that is that it’s developed and launched by an established and trusted player in the market. We had an authorised deposit taking institution license from APRA already, so we’ve maintained a healthy capital adequacy ratio for many years.
“The second one for us is really around that proven international recognition we’ve been able to achieve as an ethical and sustainable bank. The mutual sector itself has a natural advantage when it comes to competing in that sustainability and ethical banking space.”
Brokers will play a major role in the digitisation of lending and have already been central to the success of Teachers Mutual Limited and its growth over time, said Murphy. Over the next five years, she believes digital processes will make banking more seamless.
“As we saw in 2020, our members are really wanting more digital options, so we think that’s going to continue to increase,” she said. “There’ll be a mix of technologies to engage with each other both in a more social as well as that professional setting. From a lending perspective we’ve seen a lot of video online meetings and online verifications, certainly that digital onboarding.”
Teachers Mutual has been negotiating an agreement with an aggregator in order to distribute its mortgage products in an exclusive arrangement through the third-party channel initially. Murphy said the bank was looking at building new processes to ensure faster turnaround times for brokers.
“We are really focused on that whole digital process for our members and our partners, so we want to make sure it’s a great experience for brokers and their clients,” she said. “Hence why we want to have an exclusive arrangement to start off with.
“Our hope is that brokers will play a high role in the growth of Hiver as they have for our other divisions.”