Bank recovers after turnaround blowout

by Mackenzie McCarty28 Jun 2012

A key Australian lender has managed to drastically reduce its turnaround times after special pricing offers caused its response times to increase earlier this year.

St. George told brokers attending its Sydney road show yesterday that its turnaround times were back in the black after competitive fixed and SVR rate offers caused a surge in applications earlier this year.

Applications being submitted to St. George by brokers increased by 1000 per month during the period, while calls to its Mortgage Central call center experienced waiting times up to 13 minutes.

The surge caused conditional approvals to increase from a targeted one to two day turnaround time, to up to four days.

General manager of mortgage broking, Clive Kirkpatrick, said although the upsurge had caught the bank 'flat-footed' initially, the hiring of 80 back-office staff had mitigated the turnaround problem.

Mortgage Central call waiting times are also back down within a targeted one minute waiting time.

Kirkpatrick said St. George was now well positioned to cope with any future upsurge in demand, promising that it would continue to roll out innovative products and pricing offers.

The bank announced this week that it had appointed a new NSW state manager to oversee its NSW BDMs, and brokers nationwide could now all access BDMs regardless of their segment.

Kirkpatrick said the bank was continuing to innovate with technological improvements such as its newly released broker iPad app, which includes a serviceability and LMI calculators.

As a result of the spike early in the year, St. George has also implemented a minimum requirements checklist, which ensures brokers have the basic documentation in place after an application is made and before it is passed on to loan assessor.

St. George said 35% of deals still miss key information, and this was partly because the bank had increased its accredited broker numbers who were still becoming familiar with its policies.

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