Brokers “equally” important as borrowers at neobank

by Madison Utley10 Jun 2019

A neobank on the brink of securing its official licence from APRA has structured its home loan operations around giving brokers “the respect they deserve.”

At 86 400, when it comes to borrowing, there are “two customers – the person taking out the mortgage but, equally, we have as a customer the intermediary,” explained chairman Anthony Thomson.

He continued, “The great malaise in Australian banking amongst the big four banks is that they lost sight of the customer. They think they’re in business to make money. I believe that making money is important, but it is absolutely a by-product of giving the customer – in this instance, the mortgage broker – a better product, service, or experience.”

While banking in the UK, Thomson came to realise that the bigger institutions viewed intermediaries as a necessary evil and would have preferred to solely provide mortgages directly.

However, he said, “I’m really clear about the importance of the role of mortgage intermediaries. It’s not, ‘We’re the big bank with all the money. You’re the supplicant.’ It’s, ‘We know you as a broker have got a job to do. We know you’ve got a lot of choice. Our task is to make sure we’re the best choice.’”

“A big part of what I do is going out with our guys talking to brokers to make sure we really understand their market, their pain points, what works for them, what doesn’t work for them,” he added.  

While technology may be the cornerstone that enables neobanks to disrupt the market in a meaningful way, Thomson stressed that at the end of the day, it’s a relational business.

“People aren’t applying for a mortgage, they’re buying a home. If it’s to be your home for you and your family, this is a very emotional thing,” he explained.

“That relentless focus we have on our customer – be it the end consumer or be it the intermediary – really does make a difference. It’s as important a differentiator as the technology in my eyes,” the chairman concluded.