Brokers’ voices being heard: Aggregators hail NextGen.Net technology workshop

by 16 Oct 2015
“There are times when it works in our favour to collaborate,” said Aussie Home Loan’s Head of Projects, Richard Hilliard reflecting on the recent NextGen.Net instigated Broker ‘Executive Technology Workshop’.  

“I found it enormously beneficial to be in a room with industry peers,” continued Hilliard.

“It became clear that we face similar challenges and we’re all after similar outcomes from technology.

“Sure we’re competitive across our offerings. But when it comes to technology and making the lodgement process more efficient, we can get much better outcomes by working together and sharing experiences.”

In February NextGen.Net facilitated the first biannual roundtable workshop with technology owners from broker groups .

The aim was to bring together some of the best minds and lateral thinkers in the business and prompt conversations that would leverage the collective knowledge of the attendees.

Hilliard was so impressed he has urged NextGen.Net to hold the workshops more regularly.

“We need these forums more frequently because there’s a lot of detailed content that requires time to get into the meat of it. We need to engage beyond high-level discussions.

“It’s great that our input is being sought,” he said. “The majority of ideas generally come from discussion with lenders, which we’re not party to.”

From NextGen.Net’s perspective, these industry technology gatherings, which Sales Director Tony Carn says are purposely designed to be informal, are an opportunity to listen as well as contribute.

“We want to understand common grassroot issues from the viewpoint of the broker and aggregator and devise our technology roadmap accordingly,” said Carn, echoing Hilliard’s sentiment that too often ideas come from discussion with lenders only.

“We’re thrilled with the feedback on these workshops and are happy to be able to help to create a sense of community in the industry,” he said.

The concept is to establish an open forum with SME's from each broker group to discuss current and upcoming industry challenges and proposed solutions.

Participating in the second ‘Executive Technology Workshop’, held over lunch, early August, were Aussie, Mortgage Choice, AFG, Smartline, Connective, FAST, and Finsure.

Included on the agenda at the last get-together was the Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorism Financing Act (AML) and its potential impact on brokers.

Carn noted: “These AML changes are coming in and we want to ensure we approach data capture and broker experience in a standardised way”.

Adopting a standardised approach is at the core of NextGen.Net’s intent to make the process easy and smooth for everyone – lenders, brokers and aggregators - to undertake.

NextGen.Net technological innovations are now across the majority of lenders and an increasing number of broker groups; and ensuring that protocols are on track is critical prior to release. So from Carn’s viewpoint, these workshops are invaluable.

“Getting feedback from broker groups regarding our innovations to ensure we haven’t missed anything, or under or over-estimated some aspect, is critical if we want to play our role properly and service all our clients,” Carn said.

NextGen.Net also took the opportunity to seek feedback on its recently rolled out tool, that accommodates online resubmissions of loan applications; and advise that online equipment finance applications is now an ApplyOnline option. But essentially Carn said he enjoyed the “think-tank” element.

“The second workshop was even better than the first because we’d established the platform for discussion and were able to build on that,” he said.

“It’s something that the industry’s needed and has been missing,” said Hilliard. “It’s definitely been a welcome addition to my calendar.”