NAB explains how brokers can embrace digital innovation

Experts share technology tips, including cybersecurity

NAB explains how brokers can embrace digital innovation

This article was produced in partnership with NAB

NAB executives and industry experts share their tips on making the most of technology – and protecting businesses against cyberattacks.

Digital technology and innovations are providing opportunities for brokers to attract customers and build their businesses in an increasingly competitive market.

At NAB Broker’s digital innovation-themed Forward View webinar, NAB executives and industry experts shared insights into how brokers can use technology to futureproof their businesses.

Speaking live at the recent online event, Google’s Melbourne director of customers and government Sean McDonell (pictured above right) said Google’s research and analytics showed customers were feeling uncertain about the current home lending environment and were looking for help.

“To overcome uncertainty and feel more confident about the decisions they are trying to make, they’ve been searching for more information,” McDonell said.

Customers seeking assistance from mortgage brokers

Home loan searches on Google increased by 23% year-on-year in 2023 compared with 2022, while searches for mortgage brokers increased 20% year-on-year from 2022 to 2023 and 23% month-on-month to the end of November 2023, suggesting the trend is accelerating.

McDonell said brokers could use Google’s free analytics tools themselves to help better understand customer behaviour and preferences in an evolving environment.

“I found it interesting that 64% of Google searches related to home loans happened outside of the 9 to 5 workday. So for anyone advertising, you should certainly consider how you time those ads,” McDonell said.

One of the top Google searches for mortgage broker-related terms was “broker near me”, with 15% of such searches featuring those key words.

McDonell said the message for brokers was to make sure their Google My Business Profile and location details were up to date to have the best chance that local customers would be able to find their business. My Business Profile is a free Google listing which provides an entry-level web presence.

How to protect your business against cyber threats

While online engagement creates opportunities to build businesses, NAB Group Security Advisory and Awareness manager Laura Hartley-Quinn (pictured above centre) said brokers needed to protect their businesses and customers against cybercrime.

The average cost of cybercrime to businesses was up 14% in 2023 compared with the previous year, according to the latest Australian Signals Directorate Cyber Threat Report, with mid-sized businesses losing almost $100,000 on average.

“It can have a huge effect on a business or an individual person to be impacted by cybercrime or scams,” Hartley-Quinn said. “Not only is there the financial loss, there’s also the psychological stress that comes with that.”

The biggest threats for broker businesses include remote access scams and business email compromise.

Remote access scams involve cyber criminals impersonating a bank, a telco or another business to gain remote access to a business computer to steal funds from bank accounts and customer data.

Business email compromise occurs when a cybercriminal gains control of a business email account, allowing them to alter invoices and request customers send money to a different account, for example.

“If your computer has been compromised, disconnect from the internet to limit the damage. Call your aggregator and contact the Australian Cyber Security Centre if you suspect there has been a data breach. Also, contact your bank in case there has been activity. The faster we know about it, the more we can do,” Hartley-Quinn said.

Brokers can protect their businesses by being alert to cybersecurity threats; not giving out information on incoming calls; and taking simple actions such as turning on multi-factor authentication, which is another layer of security to email, bank accounts, and accounting software.

NAB has taken actions including removing links from text messages and placing NAB phone numbers on the telco ‘do not call’ lists to mitigate risks for brokers and customers. NAB has also set up the NAB Business Security Hub, which includes guides and toolkits to help business owners understand how to protect themselves.

Speed and service are key for NAB, brokers

Brokers are doing a great job of guiding customers through the dynamic home lending landscape and NAB is supporting them with faster, simpler processes, said NAB executive – broker distribution, Adam Brown (pictured above left).

“As the bank behind the broker, NAB has consistently been driving initiatives to provide simpler and more digital banking experiences to brokers and their customers,” Brown said.

In 2023, this included updates to the instant pricing tool, which streamline the pricing process for existing customers, and the rollout of NAB’s Simple Home Loans to the broker channel.

As of late November 2023, 25% of NAB broker home loans were going through Simple Home Loans, with some applications submitted having loan documents issued in under an hour.

“We’re listening to broker feedback and in 2024, we’ll be continuing with our simple and digital agenda,” Brown said.

“The less time brokers have to spend on operational tasks, the more time they have to build relationships with their customers – and relationships are at the heart of everything we do in the mortgage broking business.”

By using available technologies to their full potential while mitigating cybersecurity risks, brokers can make the most of digital innovations to future-ready their businesses.