ING Direct has come out in opposition to existing tiered broker service models, arguing that current bank policies are causing some consumers to play ‘double jeopardy’.
As the bank today announces the launch of its Broker Partner Program – an enhanced service model it has been rolling out since late last year – it has argued against increased moves towards segmentation.
“We believe in a service model that provides better service for the broker no matter how often they deal with us,” Woolnough told Australian Broker. “Those that have a segmentation strategy usually have clear rules and criteria around it, and a lot of that comes back to value from dollar-perspective,” he said. “We feel that that disadvantages the consumer.”
Woolnough said a consumer or their broker should have equal opportunity in dealing with ING Direct, regardless of the volume a broker is directing to the bank.
“Our Broker Partner Program is not a tiered service proposition. From the point of application through to settlement, the service is the same for all brokers and for all customers – we don’t believe that clients should be put in double jeopardy with regard to which broker they use to put them into their home or refinance their existing mortgage,” he said.
Woolnough suggested that such a segmentation approach - currently championed by a number of banks - could impact on the end customer, and tarnish the bank’s brand.
ING Direct has been implementing a series of changes to its service proposition since the second half of 2011, when the bank faced a broker backlash after head of delivery Lisa Claes urged brokers to submit more business to second tier banks or face becoming irrelevant.
Since then, Mark Woolnough has repeatedly outlined the bank’s efforts to respond readily to broker feedback, and has detailed measures such as putting in place a team of skilled desk-based relationship managers to deal with broker loan queries over the phone.
The bank has also committed to upping the visibility of its BDM presence in the market, by visiting all broker partners at least twice a year regardless of volume.
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