Segmentation not in the stars for NAB

by Adam Smith07 Feb 2012

NAB has revealed it has no plans to move back to a segmentation strategy after abolishing its ‘outdated’ broker star rating program in November.

The bank last year extended the perks given to its four star brokers across its broker network, drawing praise from aggregators for removing what Connective principal Mark Haron at the time called a "negative segmentation process". NAB Broker general manager of distribution John Flavell has now said it is unlikely a new segmentation program will take its place.

"We got a lot of feedback, and we talked specifically to brokers on the VIP programs of some of our competitor lenders. What they said is, 'A lot of the wining and dining is kind of by the by, and they're not offering us anything from a service perspective that you aren't,'" he said.

NAB Broker moved to change its star rating system because Flavell said changes in the market such as education requirements had rendered the program "outdated". When announcing the changes, Flavell initially said NAB Broker would go back to the market to identify new opportunities to reward volumes. However, with an aim to provide equal levels of service across its broker network, Flavell has now said the idea of segmentation itself could be irrelevant.

"Realistically, I'd like to offer that level of service to all our brokers, which is what we're doing. If you can do that, there's not really a whole lot of need to turn around and create a branded whatever it is. We'll continue to review that, but that's the strong feedback we've gotten and that's from the brokers themselves," Flavell said.

NAB Broker's announcement in November saw its broker network given access to online valuations and LVRs above 90%, as well as 65bps upfront commission. Flavell said there are early indications the move has driven more volumes for the bank.

"To actually use the [valuation] tool, you need to do a training piece with us. We've had something in excess of 2,000-odd brokers who have signed up to use that tool. That to me is a good precursor of brokers doing business with us," he said.

"It's early days, but certainly the feedback we've gotten from the aggregator CEOs and the brokers has been very positive. We've created a favourable environment to go out there and continue to grow," he added.

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