A sustainable future awaits, but only for adaptive brokers

by Miklos Bolza03 Apr 2017
While brokers and their influence on the market are here to stay, there is a need for the industry to adapt in order to produce a sustainable future, new research has found.

The Deloitte Australian Mortgage Report which was released on Thursday (30 March) revealed an overwhelmingly positive response to brokers’ place in the market, James Hickey, financial services partner at Deloitte, said.

However, he added that there needs to be an evolution of the broker model and the way that it engages with the customer.

At the launch of the report, Hickey led a panel consisting of a number of key lending and finance industry professionals who gave their views on the future of the broker channel.

“I think you have brokers who are very much into the customer journey,” said Meg Bonighton, general manager of home lending at National Australia Bank (NAB). “The ones who ask how do I be there in the right place at the right time? Who is the aggregator I work with who can help me do that best?”

There are two types of brokers, she said: those to whom face-to-face is king and those who consider broking as a financial concierge concept.

Malcolm Watkins, executive director at Australian Finance Group (AFG), predicted that consumers will be the driving force behind what they want and how they interact.

“At the end of the day, brokers will need to become more digitally enabled and capable of providing the consumer an experience that fits with the number of steps they want to manage themselves versus being broker assisted.”

Peter Andronicos, chief executive officer of eChoice, warned of the dangers of this evolution, sayind that the jump to digital and creating a social media presence could become detrimental to some brokers.

“The reality is that all of a sudden you’re public. Previously you haven’t been. And if you aren’t educated as to how social media works or you expect somebody else to manage your page once a month or once every two months, you suddenly have users being able to make public reviews about your service.”

While this can be either good or bad, education is definitely required so brokers don’t fall on this double-edged sword, he added.

AFG provides training around media training and social media content provision, Watkins said.

“But we’re also very aware that if brokers do not monitor what’s going on, they can get themselves into more trouble than if they were not there at all.”

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