St. George denies channel conflict accusation

by Adam Smith13 Mar 2013

St. George has poured cold water on accusations of channel conflict following a change to its customer contact policy.

In an email from St. George obtained by Australian Broker, general manager of mortgage broking Clive Kirkpatrick has informed brokers that the way broker-introduced customers are contacted by the bank will be changed.

"In the past, broker introduced customers have received a 'welcome on approval' call from our Customer Contact Centre, these calls will now be made from your friendly local branch," the email said.

Kiran Saldanha of The Finance Professionals Sydney told Australian Broker the change represents clear channel conflict. Because the contact from the branch happens at approval rather than after settlement, Saldanha said there is nothing to deter branch workers from taking brokers' clients.

"At that point in time the client has not signed any documents with the broker. The timing is too early in the piece to let a branch person contact the client and decide they're not going to touch the deal. They're going to find some way or other to walk away with that business," he said.

But Kirkpatrick told Australian Broker the change has come following broker feedback, and is to ensure a better broker and customer experience.

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  • by Country Broker 13/03/2013 9:23:41 AM

    hands up all brokers who provided the feed back the branch was to contact the cleint on approval???

  • by Northern Broker 13/03/2013 9:38:42 AM

    Not me!! Had I been contacted, I would have been against it. In theory it's a great idea. In practice it has the potential for problems. ANZ's approach is the best I have seen, and the feedback from clients confirms that.

  • by Matthew 13/03/2013 9:39:12 AM

    "But Kirkpatrick said that branch staff contacting clients would not be home loan officers, and would only address products and services not already covered by the broker."

    So the person from the bank branch that calls the customer will actually have no training in home loans, yet will be welcoming the new customer due to their new home loan approval with the bank?

    That is a classic.

    Welcome to your home loan approval with us today, I will not provide you with any help or information in relation to your actual homeloan as im not a homeloan officer, however would you like a credit card, home insurance, a personal loan or anything else before I let you go?

    If the issues as stated surrounds the implementation of direct debits and so forth, then perhaps get it right the first time by looking at your pre-settlement paperwork and revising where needed to allow for these issues to be adressed correctly might be a better idea.