Bank seeks broker feedback at roadshow

by Miklos Bolza28 Aug 2017
Heads from the non-major lender ING Direct have sat down with brokers in a nation-spanning event series to gain real feedback on the bank’s products, service levels and mortgage policies.
 
Australian Broker attended the final of these events on Friday (25 August), the ING Direct 2017 Sydney Broker Roadshow, where the highlight was a Q&A Panel with executive director of operations Adriana Sheedy, chief risk officer Ulrich Heitbaum, head of products Tim Newman, and head of distribution Mark Woolnough.
 
Questions were fielded from an audience of around 80 brokers on topics including how ING is improving apparent inconsistency around pricing and discounts, pain points around loan switching for brokers and customers, whether the bank would extend its recent $1,000 home loan cashback offer to the third party channel, and future product enhancements scheduled over the coming 12 months.

Sheedy also talked about how the bank was reviewing its entire commercial offering to ensure the loan process was efficient and effective.

“From now until the end of the year, we will be defining what the technology requirements are for us and for those types of customers and building it into our development and delivery roadmap until the end of 2018.”

When asked about extended call times and broker staff waiting for an hour over the phone, Woolnough said that 74% of broker loan applications had problems at submission.

“The system’s not set up to accept applications that aren’t signed, that have financial information missing, where the ID’s not there, etc so it slows along the process.”

While he acknowledged that the broker’s main role was to keep the client informed and comfortable throughout the loan application process, the eagerness of support staff could cause problems, he said.

“Generally what happens … is that a lot of support staff jump on the phone straight away to find where something is at, where it’s going to be, and how long it’s going to be,” he said. “We receive a number of repeat phone calls on a daily basis from the same office asking the same thing from different people.”

Woolnough said that ING needed to be more efficient with how it managed the call flow. However, he stressed that the solution involved more than just throwing additional resources at the issue.

“When you get new staff in, you’ve got to sit them with another staff member for a period of time to bring them up to speed and to bring them up-to-date with all the compliance. Then you’re actually narrowing your window.”

While Woolnough said the key to solving this issue is the technology supporting the system and applications, he also asked brokers to help as well.

“We get applications without any financial information. We get applications where the broker says, ‘I know. I just want to get it in a queue.’ It’s a challenge for us because we’ve obviously built the reputation in the last period of time that it’s going to take a bit of time with ING Direct.”

In recent months, ING had actually got to many applications before brokers had sent through the information despite this reputation, Woolnough said.

“We can continue down this road and [improve] slowly, slowly or we can start to hard gate and say ‘We won’t accept an application unless the minimum requirements are met’,” he added

The roadshow also featured a number of other speeches including an opening address from ING CEO Uday Sareen, an economics update from ING treasurer Michael Witts, and a keynote address from futurist Steve Sammartino.

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