ING has announced the consolidation of its direct and third party business units with the bank’s broker head taking on broader responsibilities.
, formerly the head of third party distribution, will now step into the newly-created role of head of distribution in a move the bank hopes will ensure a smooth, seamless customer experience regardless of channel.
“We have customers who have come to us directly for their everyday banking, but they may have a mortgage with us through a broker, and there should be no difference in how these customers experience our brand, whether through direct everyday banking or their broker-introduced home loan,” Woolnough said.
“By bringing together these two areas of our business we are aiming to create a ‘centre of excellence’ for mortgages, ensuring all our customers get the same consistent and great experience of our brand.”
ING currently has 1.7 million customers with brokers helping the bank bring in 90% of its home loans.
“If you look at the broker market, it currently represents 55-60% of the mortgage flows in Australia. Therefore, this gives us an indication that there’s a segment of the market – the other 40-45% – that chooses to go online, direct-to-branch or through other channels for their mortgage that we believe we can assist customers with.”
By focusing on both channels, broker and direct, ING could give the client great service and their channel of choice, he told Australian Broker
“If they come direct, they generally take on a lot more of the tasks or administration themselves. They’re mostly being the pilot of their own home loan experience, whereby if they decide to come to ING by a broker, they are getting that specialist support and guidance.”
Woolnough joined ING in 2000 as a relationship manager and headed up the former direct mortgages team prior to becoming head of third party distribution. The move to the new role was a pat on the back, he said.
“For a number of years, we’ve delivered a strong proposition to mortgage customers through brokers. We’re the fifth largest lender in the country so with a strong brand, we’ve proven to be a more-than-capable partner for brokers.”
This was recognition that the expanded team could build a strong mortgage distribution and proposition for existing ING customers as well as those new to bank, he said.
Brokers will remain a very strong channel for the bank with the consolidated roles being around greater efficiency, streamlined processes, economies of scale, and support for mortgage customers.
“The broker channel will continue to grow and go from strength to strength. We’ve seen this through growth in the market and also in our books. We believe we’ll provide the broker customer an even better experience and breadth of service.”
There was also an opportunity for ING to refer more complex direct-to-bank customers onto the brokers as well, he said.
“That can help build broker businesses. This is not to say that all we want are the simple deals and transactions. It’s more of an acknowledgement of the value that brokers bring to the borrower over an extended period of time.
Brokers are well experienced and deal with a number of transactions, customer segments, lenders and policies. Whereby at ING Direct
, we’re limited to one policy, one appetite, one set of products. If customers don’t meet our product or if we can’t help them from a risk appetite, then there’s an opportunity for us to refer them to the brokers or aggregators who we know have access to products or services that best suit that customer.”
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