Bank of Sydney's extreme makeover

by AB20 May 2015
Bank of Sydney’s rebranding and recent entry into the broker channel are outward signs that the bank is undergoing a dramatic transformation.

But dig deeper and a fundamental shift in strategy and ideology reveals the key change.

“We’re focused on achieving streamlined processes while retaining all the benefits of a boutique bank,” according to Steve Sampson, the bank’s newly appointed head of Third Party Distribution.

Streamlining processes has entailed a significant shift of transitioning from manual to electronic lodgement.

“We’ve listened to what brokers want and tried to meet every one of their needs,” Sampson said.

“One of our first considerations was a sophisticated process that will help us deal with the anticipated increase in application numbers.

“We chose NextGen.Net as our provider because we’re now in a position where we’re going to grow steadily; and we need an innovative provider that is forward thinking and can supply us with the best in market,” he added.

The bank has been operating in Australia since 2001. In May 2013 it rebranded as Bank of Sydney, with the vision to be “Australia’s only true relationship bank”.

In August last year it announced its entry into the third-party channel, promising brokers generous commissions (upfront 0.70% plus GST and trail from year one of 0.20% plus
GST) and a favourable clawback policy (75% of upfront and only applicable in the first year). NextGen.Net’s trailblazing and continuously evolving electronic lodgement service, ApplyOnline, has introduced Bank of Sydney to centralised processing.

The lender is now converting from processing loans through its branch network (16 branches) to centralised processing.

NextGen.Net sales director Tony Carn sees ApplyOnline “revolutionising” Bank of Sydney systems.

“It’s a tool that delivers automation into processing,” Carn said.

“ApplyOnline introduces not just distribution to Bank of Sydney to tap into the broker market, but as a lender it provides an enormous number of benefits and potential benefits.

“Our software is a service, a web-based application, that gives them the ability to allocate loan processing to anyone anywhere.”

ApplyOnline provides an ‘Application Centre’: a portal that allows lenders to view applications regardless of where the applicant is located, plus check to see whether the loan meets their serviceability criteria.
Choosing ApplyOnline was an easy decision, maintains Sampson.

“ApplyOnline is setting the standard, it’s captured the market and it doesn’t phase brokers which helps us with our implementation process.”

Declaring that Straight-Through Processing is very close to his heart, Sampson goes on to say that ApplyOnline will establish a crucial seamlessness within the bank’s systems.

Sampson has been on board at Bank of Sydney since June 2014, consulting to bring the bank to market in the third-party space.

“It’s a really exciting adventure because it’s meant starting the whole thing from scratch, including IT, engaging in negotiations with brokers and aggregators, and implementing systems.

“I know we can make a difference,” he said, then laughs. “But because most brokers know more than we do about how ApplyOnline works, we’ve had to learn from them!”

ApplyOnline represents a whole document management solution.

“So, for example, when a broker is sending payslips and bank statements, they go into the online system, a confirmation is received that all requirements have been met and if anything is missing that gets communicated to the broker,” says Carn.

“Certainty equates to efficiency,” he said. “The lender can proceed with assessing and processing an application having the certainty that it meets the quality standard necessary for them to process the loan.”