A trend in lending that needs to change

Aggregator MD says he would like to see greater consistency between broker and branch

A trend in lending that needs to change

Consistency – it’s quite a hard commodity to come by at the moment given the uncertainty of the past year. But, for Gerald Foley, consistency is something he and National Mortgage Brokers would like to see more of in 2021. MPA spoke with the managing director of the award-winning aggregator about a current lending trend they would like to see overturned.

A bespoke offering for brokers

As the managing director of AMA-winning National Mortgage Brokers (nMB), Foley is well poised to unpack the current challenges facing the sector. Established in 2001, the aggregator describes itself as a bespoke offering for brokers at all stages of their business journey.

“We’ve always had brokers at the core of everything we do as a business,” said Foley. “A lot of people join us as a solo broker and then over a period of time they develop into a broker business.

“We’ve got an approach which is represented through the five Ps: planning, partners, people, premises, processes. That takes them through the journey.”

He attributed the group’s success in winning aggregator of the year (up to 500 brokers) at this year’s Australian Mortgage Awards to its “very high level of service” ranging from a strong supplier platform and business platform to extensive support and guidance through a range of initiatives and programs.

He added this broker-centric approach would continue to keep nMB in good stead following the mergers and acquisitions planned by several of the industry’s larger groups.

Read more: Industry weighs in on Loan Market acquisition

“The bigger groups will have to digest a number of businesses, cultures, platforms and compliance models,” he said. “That’s a lot to bring into a business model. Off the back of that there will be opportunities for us to present another aggregation model which is a bit more bespoke, a bit closer to brokers on a day to day business model - on a day to day perspective.”

Liberty IPO

nMB continues to be in good hands as part of the Liberty Financial group, he said; Liberty’s planned December 15 IPO adding market value to an already strong offering for brokers.

Read more: Three Liberty Financial shareholders worth nearly $2 billion

“Being part of the Liberty ownership provides a lot of, not only financial strength, support and stability, but also a business that has grown through accessing the broker market,” he added. “It’s a very broker friendly business.”

The discrepancy between branch and broker needs to change

Following a year of pandemic and economic downturn, Foley said his wish-list for 2021 included consistency across lenders in accepting recent tech advances in document exchange and e-signature as well as consistency between broker and branch when it comes to credit decisioning.

“It just feels as though there are times when it’s not quite the same customer offering if I walk into a branch. That includes not only credit, but also, the delivery of answers on loans,” he said, adding that the difference between the two can sometimes be quite pronounced.

“It’s a quicker decision through a branch,” he said. Where a customer may only wait for two or three days for the bank to answer them directly, he said, in some cases, brokers have been left waiting for as long as 20 days.

There have also been inconsistencies in the credit decisioning of some lenders, where a broker is told something can’t be done, but a direct customer is told it can, he added.

“It’s not widespread, but it does seem to be creeping in a little bit more lately,” he said. “I would love to see 2021 really close the gap that seems to have just widened a little bit this year.”