New broker franchise promises digital revolution

by Julia Corderoy11 Sep 2015
Leading aggregator Connective’s new retail broking franchise, iConnect Financial promises a digital revolution for those brokers who come on board.

Speaking at the soft initial launch in Sydney yesterday, Connective’s general manager of strategy distribution & digital, Steve Heavey said the next wave of growth in the mortgage industry is going to be digital disruption.

“One thing we do know is that 80% of consumers looking to refinance or looking to take out a loan get online to get some form of information. Two thirds of those consumers actually use tools, like product comparison sites. They look at how much they can borrow and all of the other tools that banks and other broking businesses provide.

“People are using technology far more than they ever have and the rate at which it is being taken up is astronomical. There is a belief within Connective that the organisations that marry data capture through technology and digital means with a really good customer experience are the businesses that are going to be able to take hold of that next wave of competition. So what we did was build a range of digital platforms.”

As a part of iConnect’s promise to capture the next wave of competition through a digital revolution, Heavey announced the launch of a new comparison website, RateWatchers, which will generate leads for its iConnect brokers.

“We know that there are a large number of people that go online and do product comparison. So RateWatchers.com.au is another digital platform which we are launching, which is our product comparison site. There will SEO campaigns and SEM campaigns and social campaigns all across the digital platforms to try and engage with those consumers who are looking for product comparison information.

“One of the things we will do differently with RateWatchers is that because we know people are time poor, we are going to actually capture some information and tell them that we will look after watching the rate for them. As soon as the rate hits below where they are at, we will let them know. And any of those leads coming out of that will go to our brokers who operate under iConnect.”

The second way in which iConnect plans to be a digital disruptor is to launch an online lender, OnlineHomeLoans.com.au, which will also link back to its iConnect Financial brokers.

“…[T]here is a large number of consumers online who are really, really rate driven. You only have to look at loans.com.au, or the take up that UBank has had. Lots of people go online thinking they can take out an online home loan and get a 3.99% rate and that sounds fantastic," Heavey said.

“But we all know that a couple of steps into the process they are on the phone and they want to talk to someone. So the whole thing around online home loans isn’t what it has all cracked up to be... But we know the consumers are online looking and we need to provide a platform for them to engage with us so hopefully when they get to the point in the process of clicking on a button where they need to talk to someone, those leads go across straight to iConnect Financal brokers.”

Finally, consumers will be connected to iConnect brokers through an online broker search engine, BrokerFind.com.au.

“The last platform is a little bit like that real estate one where you find the best agent. It is for time poor people who don’t have a relationship with a broker and want to talk to someone, but also want to deal with someone really local. 

“We will have all the iConnect brokers, wherever they’re positioned across the country, in a search engine where consumers will be able to go and find them really easily. It is once again, a lead generator.”

Connective announced its new retail aggregation business, iConnect Financial in August. The aggregator just wrapped up its initial launch phase in Melbourne and Sydney, with a national rollout planned for early 2016.
 

COMMENTS

  • by Jason 11/09/2015 9:00:06 AM

    Simply sounds like that Connective can't make a buck and they are trying to go down the Aussie/Mortgage choice branded route, which took them a lot of years and would've cost a fortune.

    Be careful not to lose the brokers on the ground from your aggregator heartland, whilst you build the online channel which may wipe us out!

  • by John 11/09/2015 9:34:03 AM

    I disagree. I think Connective have hit the nail on the head. Online integration and lead development is the way to go.

  • by Harold Spencer 11/09/2015 12:58:10 PM

    I hope Mr Heavey is right however Connective don't have a strong or robust IT platform at the moment so it is hard to see this NEW strategy coming off as they hope. Mercury 5 has been in Beta for over 18 months and with a list of 20+ fixes just the other day it has a long way to go. They have had to outsource their qualifier as the internal team can't handle it and they need to invest in their back end as all Mercury users will tell you that it is so slow, couple that with a help desk that has one of my queries still waiting for an update 3 weeks after lodgement and you can see there are some issues already without something new. Oh and if you have a help desk issue sent to "the developers" that's code for black hole as you will never ever hear again. As I said at the start all the best but I feel you could be pushing it uphill with a rake.