Following the release of its full year results, a non-major bank has addressed the slowing growth evidenced in its lending portfolio over the last year and committed to improving its relationship with the broker channel moving into the future.
Suncorp’s net profit after tax of $175m was down 83.5% from FY18, the majority of which was due to the $910m loss on the sale of its Australian Life Insurance and Participating Wealth Business.
The bank’s banking and wealth profit after tax was down 1.4% year on year.
“Lending growth has fallen across the industry, so we’re no different to the rest of the industry in feeling that impact,” said acting CEO Steve Johnston.
While the home lending portfolio grew just 0.4% over the year, Johnston expressed cautious optimism regarding the bank’s future residential lending.
“We have a solid base for growing our…mortgage lending books. We’ve seen an improvement in momentum through the latter part of the financial year and into July,” he said.
According to the acting CEO, it’s Suncorp’s interaction with its broker community that has the potential to get the bank back to system, or even ahead of system, over the next six to twelve months.
“It’s a priority for us to improve the way we service, deal with, and make commitments to our very trusted and supportive partners in the broker community,” he said.
“One of the key requirements a broker has in dealing with an organisation like ours is having firm commitments around turnaround times for loan applications and having us meet those requirements to the best of our ability. So that in their interaction with the customer, they can be confident that they’re delivering to customer expectations,” he said.
“We need to do better at making sure we can bring down our processing times. We’ve got to be as dependable and committed as we can to delivering to the commitments that we made to the broker community.”
The upcoming financial year will also see Suncorp focus on improving the performance of its core businesses, embracing regulatory change, leveraging digital investments and data capability, and improving operational efficiency.
“We’re going to try to change the mindset of the organisation to be one of embracing regulatory change, adopting it in the best interest of the customer, and accepting the fact that all the channels coming through from a regulator standpoint will improve the outcomes for customers. We need to get those programs in place as quickly as we can,” said Johnston.