Heritage Building Society is coupling its rebranding as a bank with widespread mortgage broker distribution.
The mutual has announced it will begin distributing through mortgage brokers nationwide from 1 February of next year. The move will follow the mutual's rebrand as Heritage Bank on 1 December.
Heritage general manager of retail services Paul Francis conceded that the company had - like many mutuals - pulled away from broker distribution during the GFC. However, Francis said Heritage had maintained relationships with its broker network, and had eyed a return to the channel as soon as it became economically viable.
"The high costs of funding during the GFC meant that a number of financial institutions abandoned the broker network. We faced the same situation, but Heritage decided to scale back rather than pull out entirely, because we recognised the importance of maintaining our broker relationships. We subsequently ramped up our broker channel offerings as soon as we could after the GFC, and we are now expanding our reach across the country," he said.
The mutual previously distributed through brokers in Queensland, NSW, Victoria and SA. In broadening its distribution nationwide, the company said it was responding to "significant demand". Heritage said it would add extra staff to manage the expansion.
Francis commented that the expanded distribution would help Heritage ramp up lending outside its Queensland "heartland".
"We are keen to grow our lending and improving our geographic reach through our broker channels will do that," Francis said.
'Heritage Bank' means more broker business