Online variations key to processing efficiencies

by BN10 Jul 2012

ING Direct says pivotal to its renewed focus on commitment to its broker channel has been enabling brokers to lodge variations electronically to better engage their customers.

Executive Director of Distribution Lisa Claes views the NextGen.Net ApplyOnline® Variations Module as icing on a service-enhancement cake that the lender is investing in heavily for its third-party partners.

ING Direct joins a growing list of lenders including Homeside and AMP Bank, adopting the innovative NextGen.Net variations service.

Head of Sales and Marketing at AMP Bank Stephen Craig says: “Electronic lodgement saves time and cuts down on errors for everyone, so it was an important step for AMP Bank. It also made sense because you can simply clone the existing application to do the variation - cutting out a lot of form filling.

“Electronic lodgement has allowed us to speed up the variation process reducing errors and making the broker and customer experiences better,” says Craig.

The implementation of the ApplyOnline® module is in response to broker frustration with the previous manual process, referred to by Claes as “time consuming and messy”.

“When I came into the business I found it (the manual process) hard to defend given our commitment to customer-centricity.

“It stood out as being counter-intuitive to our proposition.

“Now anything we could do under the manual system we do online,” Claes declares.

“There are a number of components to a pleasing customer experience; ease, transparency, speed and turn around time. The ApplyOnline® Variations Module ticks all the boxes.”

“Existing variations processes can often be seen as disjointed and confusing to brokers,” NextGen.Net Sales Director, Tony Carn says. “A variations module provides a clearly defined process and helps alleviate broker concerns about referring their customers directly to a lender. It also provides brokers with greater incentive and opportunity to better engage with their clients to provide quality service.

“It’s great to see a growing number of lenders invest in the provision of tools to drive efficiencies, whilst vastly improving the customer experience, which is reflective of the maturation and growth of the broker market,” says Carn.

An earlier adopter of the ApplyOnline® Variations Module AMP Bank’s Stephen Craig says the bank has aimed to achieve: “A simpler, easier, more efficient and more accurate process that benefits everyone in the chain - bank, broker and customer”.

ING Direct switched on the ApplyOnline® Variations Module in April and feedback from brokers has been extremely positive.

Claes admits that the decision to acquire the module was not entirely altruistic and that a crucial benefit is that it gives brokers and borrowers another reason to stay with ING Direct.

“We have experienced and continue to enjoy a strong appetite for variations and the last thing we want is for a borrower to refinance with another lender.”

The ApplyOnline® Variations Module introduces pro-active backchannel messaging reducing the need for brokers to follow up, produces quality data, and displays and explains clear business rules at the front end of the process which means brokers only need to input the information for the specific variation they are requesting.

“But let’s not say we’re being too charitable,” laughs Claes. “From the bank’s perspective we now save on calls, double handling and being on the receiving end of angst.”

Powered by NextGen.Net, ApplyOnline® is the premier electronic lodgement service in Australia.