After a five-year hiatus Bluestone is in business-as-usual mode and plugged into the broker network through a partnership with Australian Finance Group (AFG).
The specialist lender is demonstrating its fresh commitment to the third party channel by enabling electronic lodgement of applications via the innovative NextGen.Net online portal, ApplyOnline.
Bluestone ‘mark 1’; renowned for its focus on sophisticated IT, developed its own mechanism for electronic lodgements in 2005.
But as Peter Wood General Manager Bluestone Asset Management Australasia notes, the past five years have seen a marked shift in the technology solutions market.
“As we started chatting to people it became very apparent that the majority were filtering their electronic lodgements through ApplyOnline,” Wood says.
Keen to build on his company’s technology-driven image, Wood recognised the importance of tapping into the right technology, “particularly through the third party distribution network”.
“In the years to come this will become even more significant,” he says.
“We’re heading towards the ability to upload documents straight into the system. Moving forward you’ll see less and less paper, which from our perspective as a lender is fantastic.”
NextGen.Net Sales Director, Tony Carn agrees. “Lenders and brokers are fast recognising that processing efficiencies are critical and need to be incorporated in their processes, and ApplyOnline is well recognised as the standard for lodgement.
“And we are now at the point of delivering significant enhancements to brokers and lenders through ‘ApplyOnline+’. This includes comprehensive tools to measure and manage quality at the point of submission, and thus radically reduce requests for more information and achieve significantly higher straight-through-processing rates,” he says.
The substantial depth and breadth of the market penetration of NextGen.Net was a key issue for Bluestone (over 40 different lenders have signed up to the NextGen.Net ApplyOnline electronic lodgement service), another was the “simplicity” of ApplyOnline.
As of July, Bluestone is live on ApplyOnline with AFG. This means that brokers accredited with AFG can offer Bluestone loans to their clients.
Bluestone’s launch of ApplyOnline brings the specialist lender’s process for dealing with brokers in line with industry best practice.
“This investment in ApplyOnline lodgement tools, which provides integration with all major broker groups, makes it easier for brokers and reflects Bluestone’s genuine commitment to the broker market,” Carn says.
Re-educating brokers about the specialist market is “challenging” Wood admits: “It feels like 2003 when there was a lot of education occurring about writing specialist loans.”
Back in their heyday Bluestone was writing in excess of $100 million a month settled business. With regulation brokers have tended to pull away from this part of the market.
“It’s now about us saying, it’s okay to write these loans as long as you inject a sense of responsibility into the process,” says Wood.
Carn views Bluestone’s re-entry into the mortgage market as an exciting development, “a growing and broadening of diverse options available to consumers through the broker channel”.
Developed by NextGen.Net, ApplyOnline® is the premier electronic lodgement system in Australia.