CBA goes on mortgage hiring spree

Hundreds to be hired as property boom sparks recruitment drive

CBA goes on mortgage hiring spree


By Mike Wood

Lenders may be making hay while the property sun shines, but Australia’s real estate boom is stress testing lenders’ mortgage processing systems – and according to some property professionals, bottlenecks are costing clients their potential new homes.

Subject to finance offers used to be processed in 3-7 days according to some agents, but now that time is blowing out to up to two weeks – meaning that some buyers are missing out on purchases. "You do feel for customers who are going to miss out on their dream home because the banks are dragging their heels," Jellis Craig Stonnington Managing Director Andy McCann told AAP.

And it’s not just estate agents - mortgage broker clients are suffering too. Reports that broker clients wait 23 days for approval while direct clients may just take a few hours to get the green light has brokers, and the MFAA, furious.

Cate Bakos, President of the Real Estate Buyers Agents Association of Australia, agrees that the current situation is not tenable, telling AAP that the current situation is “painful.”

The good news is that at least some lenders are reacting, with CBA announcing that it has hired around 400 new staff to help with the backlog, and that its current staff are clocking up vast amounts of overtime. "The exponential growth in home loan application volumes has placed considerable pressure on our support teams and operations," it said in a statement.

ANZ has also said it’s hiring (as well as speeding up its loan process automation progress): “ANZ continues to increase its processing capacity through a combination of actions,” the big four bank said over the weekend, “including increasing the number of skilled assessors to ensure strong overall coverage across assessment types and upskilling more assessors to review complex deals to reduce turnaround times for these applications."

ANZ has been spending considerable time and effort in developing its machine learning capabilities: "In today's world, using the old world techniques, we can make a decision after all those processes have been conducted within four seconds," ANZ CRO Jason Humphrey told ZDnet earlier this year.

Even though the big lenders are acting to speed up processes the question remains – is it enough to ensure that broker clients get the same level of speed and service that direct customers get?

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