Broker focus spurs Bankwest victory

Lender thanks channel after being named Bank of the Year

Broker focus spurs Bankwest victory


By Antony Field

After winning the Most Effective Digital Strategy – Lender title at the Australian Mortgage Awards for the second year running, Bankwest can now add MSA National Bank of the Year to its trophy cabinet.

Bankwest is powering ahead with its goal of being the best broker bank in Australia. With its focus on partnering with brokers to deliver the best customer experiences, and its investment in technology and staff to meet the growing demand for mortgage finance, Bankwest’s efforts are paying off.

Australian Broker caught up with Ian Rakhit, general manager third party banking, (pictured) to talk about Bankwest winning the coveted Bank of the Year title, as well as the award for Most Effective Digital Strategy – Lender at the AMAs.

“It was a fantastic evening celebrating our industry with the Australian Mortgage Awards, and I’m very proud of the recognition received by Bankwest,” Rakhit says.

“The evening also coincided with the first Friday of some restrictions easing in Sydney, so I was enjoying my first trip to a pub in two months watching the awards on my iPad, which made the evening even better!

“To be rated so highly by brokers means a great deal to me and my colleagues who work every day to support brokers.

 “Bankwest strives to be the best broker bank in the country, and we are as committed as ever to backing our brokers to deliver the services, tools and support they want and need, to make their jobs and dealing with us as easy as possible.”

Rakhit says Bankwest’s commitment to collaborative relationships is central to its broker model, “so a big thank you” must go to its teams supporting brokers, and to brokers themselves.

 “To win the best digital strategy two years running tells me about consistency and how we are continuing to update and evolve our digital tools to make brokers lives easier.

“Bankwest wants this to continue into next year and aim for a hat-trick of wins. We have more digital enhancements planned for this year – watch this space.”

2021 has been a wonderful year for Bankwest, Rakhit says, as it was able to help record numbers of customers move their loan or purchase a home.

“That’s a tremendous privilege and one Bankwest takes seriously. We experienced volumes above our capacity, and we’ve taken some big learnings on how to cope better going forward. The plans we made and implemented are already showing value, with our processing capability at record highs.”

Rakhit outlined what’s behind Bankwest’s AMA wins.

“Bankwest has a clear value proposition for both its customers and brokers,” he says. “We aspire to make every customer experience and interaction brilliant – no matter if it’s in-person or digitally, whether our customers are self-serving their everyday banking or making a life-changing purchase like a first car or a place for their family to call home.”

Bankwest’s broker value proposition is backing brokers to deliver brilliant customer experiences.

“Our strategy is driven by a desire to truly partner with brokers and work together for mutual benefit. We view brokers as business customers in their own right, and we seek opportunities to make them successful and perform well in front of their customers.”

Rakhit says to achieve this vision means:

  • sharing new data and insights with brokers (leads, flight risks, back book)
  • sharing the work (making brokers’ lives easier, not harder, through automation and digitisation)    accelerating the process (removing rework, automating manual steps, providing better information
  • for brokers)

“We have openly declared our relationship with our crucial broker network one of our major strategic priorities and set our ambitions on being Australia’s best broker bank.

“This is not simply because  the vast majority (80%) of Bankwest’s home loan customers have chosen us through their broker, but also because of the authentic, collaborative relationship we’ve developed with our 12,000 accredited brokers.”

Rakhit says further strengthening that relationship forms a critical part of Bankwest’s strategy for the future, because only together can they deliver “brilliant customer experiences every day”.

Technology is also a vital part of Bankwest’s success.

“Our investment in technology, specifically through our dedicated Broker Portal, has helped to refine our service and brought together features such as live chat, live application tracking, and our learning library that supports brokers in running and growing their business.”

Brokers are also able to access the Pricing Tool via the portal to provide immediate reprices to new and existing customers, delivering the best possible price without delay.

“The case ownership model designed to ensure single-person responsibility for the processing of an application ensures that  we can resolve problems quickly, thus leading to an expedited customer experience.”

Rakhit says to support the development and mental health of brokers, Bankwest’s BDM teams deliver various virtual learning and development training sessions, policy updates and meditation/wellbeing sessions.

Brokers receive complimentary access to Bankwest’s Health and Wellbeing Assistant program, a confidential service connecting brokers with trained coaches for when they need extra physical, mental, social or financial support.

Rakhit says 2021 has been challenging for the industry due to additional market volume affecting turnaround times.

“Bankwest took a continuous improvement approach in managing application volumes, in addition to increasing the number of colleagues in the processing team.

“Our Australia-based mortgage processing and national BDM and BSM teams worked tirelessly to provide support to brokers and their customers, be it on the phone, digitally or via our dedicated online Broker Chat functionality.”

Recognising technology’s crucial role in helping brokers provide great customer service, Bankwest’s new digital initiatives and improvements to support brokers include a fully automated solution for repricing existing customer loans. This enables the best possible rate to be automatically applied to an existing customer home loan at the click of a button.

“Our digital home loan process means customers can now sign their contracts digitally, from any device, within minutes, reducing time to settlement,” says Rakhit. 

“The technology also enables us to send documents to brokers for review 12 hours prior to the customer, allowing them to pick up and correct errors and to contact the customer with the good news, which we know is important in the broker-customer relationship.”

Bankwest also uses comprehensive credit reporting to validate data whenever possible, improving the customer experience and enhancing customer safety by reducing the requirement for manual documents.

“We have re-evaluated and simplifi ed how we validate a self-employed income,” says Rakhit.

Following broker feedback, Bankwest’s Complete Home Loan Package has been amended, moving the off set and card products to optional.

“This was welcomed by brokers who see the benefi ts of the package in terms of flexibility and rate.

We also made our upfront valuations free for all brokers, helping to widen our appeal and give brokers certainty at a critical moment.”

Bankwest is also planning a number of new tech features.

“We are looking to expand the number of valuations capable of being sourced through the Bankwest Broker Portal using our automated valuation model; introduce dynamic LVR features into our Pricing Tool; and expand DocuSign functionality to home loan transfers. Further details to be announced as we build additional capabilities.”

So what does a post-pandemic world look like for Bankwest?

“The global pandemic has cast a cloud of uncertainty over Australians for 20 months, and we know

from previous research, as well as property market figures, that people have a strong drive to feel secure, with a roof of their own over their heads,” Rakhit says.

“We have an opportunity to support customers in realising their dream of owning their own home – to provide the experience and guidance that helps them navigate one of the most signifi cant purchasing decisions they’re likely to ever make.

“The opportunity ahead is to help customers – and to provide support to brokers so they can help customers have the best possible experience as they begin to forge the rest of their lives out of the uncertainty of the pandemic.”

Rakhit says brokers are critical to Bankwest’s success.

“We will continue to support brokers help customers buy a home or save money on their existing loan. The past few years with regulation and a pandemic has shown how important our health and our connections are. We’re looking forward to growing as our brokers’ lives and businesses grow.”

Keep up with the latest news and events

Join our mailing list, it’s free!