CBA finalises ownership of Aussie

The bank's CEO has affirmed its hands off approach to the franchise and its overall commitment to brokers in general

CBA finalises ownership of Aussie



Aussie Home Loans founder John Symond has finalised the sale of his remaining 20% share in the company to Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), which now has complete ownership of the franchise. The deal was completed last Friday (25 August) with Symond remaining as the chairman of Aussie

Both Symond and CBA CEO Ian Narev spoke about the acquisition at Think, Aussie Home Loans’ 2017 sales conference on the Gold Coast, yesterday (28 August) with Narev promising that even though CBA now had complete ownership of Aussie, nothing would change in the franchise.

“The people here work for Aussie,” he said, addressing an audience of around 600 franchisees and mobile brokers affiliated with the firm. “We’ve had a wonderful relationship with John, which has progressed a bit further in terms of ownership over recent months but the people here work for Aussie. Nothing changes and that is what has made Aussie so successful.”

Despite Narev soon leaving his post as CEO of CBA, he still gave assurances that Aussie Home Loans would be left to run on its own in the future.

“The relationship between Aussie Home Loans and Commonwealth Bank has been built over the last decade and is entrenched in the organisation,” he said.

“The reality is it’s not about the chief executive. The bank’s been around for over 100 years. Chief executives come, chief executives go. I’ll be the fish and chip wrapper in a few months’ time and someone else will be around in the meantime.”

The best for Aussie

Symond backed CBA’s ownership saying that in the franchise’s 25 years, he had “never ever made a decision that wasn’t best for Aussie”.

Since CBA first bought up part of Aussie in 2008, it had taken a hands-off approach, with Symonds remembering how the then CEO Ralph Norris had given assurances that the further the bank stayed away from Aussie, the more successful it would be.

“We sat back and the bank delivered. We had a broker model. We had to be impartial and equal to all our business partners including all the other banks. To CommBank’s credit, they followed through,” he said.

Brokers good for customers: Narev

Australian Broker met up with Narev after the panel to ask how CBA was building up trust in the broader broker channel, dealing with matters such as channel conflict and long turnaround times.

“The starting point is we want to do our own business too – our own branches and channels. We’ve never shied away from that. But, a large number of Australians want to go through a broker. That’s why we deal with brokers and have a relationship with Aussie because it’s good for customers. We’re very committed to the channel.”

He acknowledged that there was still ongoing work and investment to be done around CBA’s processes to make it easier for brokers to deal with the bank. 

“That’s something we listen to very carefully and we’re aiming to continuously improve because you’ve got to be good at it to be competitive in the channel.”

Speaking about maintaining balance between the proprietary and broker channels, Narev said it was important to make both as good as they possibly can be and then let the customer make the final choice.

“At the heart of this in my mind is making sure you’re customer-focused and the choice is to help the customer in whatever way he or she wants. If that’s through our branches or through our website, that’s fine. If it’s through a broker, that’s also fine.”

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