Phil Waugh: NAB to ensure 'clarity, consistency and speed' with turnaround times for brokers

by Mike Wood21 Oct 2021

NAB’s broker chief Phil Waugh has set out the Big Four bank’s proposition to the broker channel on the all-important issue of turnaround times, telling Australian Broker that it is his ‘number one focus’.

In an exclusive interview, the Wallabies legend turned broker industry favourite told AB that NAB was making turnaround times its priority, hiring 70 full time credit assessors and focusing on clarity of communication with brokers to better manage relationships.

“Our number one focus for the broker channel is to ensure that our turnaround times and servicing is as fast as possible,” said Waugh, who joined NAB as executive, broker distribution, back in March.

“Obviously, in doing that, we need to ensure that we have the appropriate clarity: being clear to brokers around turnaround times, setting expectations and then consistency, both a consistent answer and also consistent turnaround times.”

“We’re in a strong SLA position currently, which is largely on the back of ensuring that we have the appropriate resourcing conversations with our operations team, so we forecast the right number and then resource accordingly.”

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“We’ve put an extra 70 full time employees into our credit assessors and, while we always like more, the power of forecasting to ensure adequate resourcing is why we find ourselves in a reasonably competitive position at the moment.”“There’s always improvement to be made, and pleasingly, the trajectory that we’re on in terms of turnaround times. We’re setting ourselves up to be very competitive in the market. It’s our absolute commitment to the industry that we continue that focus on clarity, consistency and speed with turnaround times.”

Manpower is only half of the issue with turnaround times. Tech is the other half, and on that front, NAB’s acquisition of digital bank 86 400 and investment in software is now set to pay off.

“The acquisition of 86 400 diversifies NAB’s offering in the market,” said Waugh. “Strategically, it’s a powerful acquisition. If we think about the NAB Broker side: a question I asked when discussing this opportunity with NAB was ‘what is the investment in the third party channel?’”

“I think that large organisations in particular can get confused in channel strategy and channel conflict, and the messaging from us is that it’s customer choice and we should serve the customer consistently no matter which channel they come through.”

NAB’s Phil Waugh on 86 400 and how tech is moving the bank forward

“That’s pricing, process, credit decisioning: whatever the channel they come through, they should get a consistent experience. When the organisation says that the broker channel is a genuine growth channel, it’s really important to invest in technology.”

“Pleasingly for us, within NAB broker distribution, we’re getting significant investment into an end-to-end origination platform which will use all of the available technology that will allow us to turn simple deals.”

“As we build it out, we’ll then be able to widen that funnel to originate more complex deals through the new platform as we get more sophistication. It’s something that we’re really excited about.”

“If you look at things that our competitors have, whether start ups or larger competitors, and some of the origination platforms that they have and the tech that they’re using for verification, I think that we’ll be very competitive reasonably soon, and looking to launch to market before the calendar year is out.”