CUA could expand beyond franchises

by Ben Abbott02 Mar 2012

CUA has said it may consider expanding beyond existing relationships with Mortgage Choice and Smartline, after its announcement this week it would kick-start broker distribution.

Speaking with Australian Broker, group general manager Darrin Northey said while franchise brokers fit the business best for the moment, it was open to other opportunities to growth in future.

“We had a relationship [with Mortgage Choice and Smartline] in the past and maintained that, and it is a lot easier to maintain service to brokers and customers when it is someone you are used to dealing with,” Northey said.

“We will continue to look at the different opportunities available. We are keen to get this bedded down and provide the right service and look after those broker channels, and over time we will look at other opportunities to expand,” he said.

Prior to the GFC, CUA obtained between 20 and 35% of business through brokers at any one time. Northey said any expansion would depend on the ability to maintain its levels of service.

Northey said  mutuals were critical to competition in Australia. “There needs to be competition in the Australian market – the industry needs it and customers need it,” he said. “We are massive supporters of driving competition. We have the opportunity to stand up and be that genuine alternative.’

Northey said the problem was that the mutual sector was “largely misunderstood”, and that it was important that customers realised they were customer owned, were there for customer benefit, and provided the same products and services of any of the major banks.

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