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Creating simplicity and transparency

Amid regulatory change and advancing technology, NAB’s Phil Waugh has his eyes set firmly on delivering consistency and clarity to brokers through strong relation ships and smarter digital solutions.

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Phil: [00:00:17] You know, I started on the 7th of June last year. So as you say, almost a year. And I think a week after I started, lockdown occurred. So I would love to been out and about amongst our aggregators, our brokers and customers, but had a good opportunity to do that since since the restrictions have been lifted. And I'd say the most pleasing aspect of my role so far is it's definitely the people. And I think being out spending time with aggregators, brokers and customers as well as internal stakeholders here at NAB, it's been it's been great to to experience, you know, what are really, really good people. And I think that that's largely reflected I think in the recent Government announcements from Minister Sukkar in the fact that the remuneration review for the broker industry won't occur this year. And and to me that suggests and recognises the maturity and the sophistication more broadly across across the broking industry and that's, that's really pleasing. And then we overlay all of that with, with the growth of, of brokers, the growth of the percentage of customers, which is almost up to 70% now, customers choosing a broker for their home lending needs. So, you know, a really strong industry to be part of and as I said, good people and a really, really strong proposition for end customers, which is ultimately the best thing for, you know, for the industry.

Phil: [00:01:51] Well I think firstly obviously joining a new organisation is a little bit different and I've really enjoyed the people here at NAB and and the people brought through from board, you know, throughout the 31 thousand employees and just great people throughout the organisation. I think that, you know, whenever you start a new job it's about working out what the best operating model is. And one of the first things I did was brought together, together what's the NAB broker business and our white label offering in the advantage business. And so bringing those two businesses together and the combination of both of them and the different value propositions is absolutely critical for NAB in delivering the broker proposition. And, and so we've been working hard to ensure they've got the best operating model to support, to support brokers. And then I think like anything when you're, when you join a new organisation is obviously have more responsibility, but what's the actual end to end stakeholder and value chain looks like? And so spending a lot of times across time, across the organisation to ensure that we've got strong relationships. But if we have a strong end to end value proposition and I'm managing that internally, that's felt then by, by our brokers and so spending a lot of time on that. And then finally I think when I first joined, I talked about, you know, two main things being around clarity and clarity to to our brokers around what NAB offers and then consistency and consistency around everything from the time to decision through to the actual decision and the and the credit process. And then the end to end experience for brokers and customers. And so a lot of time spent on clarity, consistency and then that all leads to then predictability for our brokers. So pretty simple philosophy, but you know, just trying to embed that discipline and integrity across our business.

Phil: [00:03:56] Well, I think it's critically important to to NAB. And I think the importance of the industry is is never more obvious and felt as when you have a chair, a board, the CEO, Ross McEwan, the group executive of personal bank Rachel Slade, endorsing the third party channel and the broker channel. And that that really gives everyone within my business a huge amount of confidence, but also out in the market that we have a leadership team that's genuinely invested in the broker channel. And now we're quite overt in the fact that we want to be the bank behind the broker. And, and, you know, we, we put our, our, our thoughts out into the media just recently around Minister Sukkar's comments on the broker remuneration review. And we think that's a great outcome for the industry, but also a real recognition of the advancement that the industry has made, the sophistication, the maturity, the learning and development that's occurring across the industry. And I guess in NAB we get a lot of confidence from that sophistication and, and that maturity. And and that's why it is critically important to, you know, obviously not just the personal bank, but when you think about the NAB enterprise more broadly, it's absolutely paramount that that we support this industry and we work with our broker partners to to maximise that partnership. I think it's a it's a fascinating time right now. I think the the commentary around rate rises is obviously, you know, very, very loud. I think that everyone's seen cost of funds come through into the market far quicker than anyone predicted, even 3 to 4 months ago. So so obviously managing the impact that has on brokers and and customers is very important. You know, almost two years ago, we saw a huge shift into the fixed rate product. And so, you know, just coming up in in May and June is is this huge number of customers that have their two year fixed rate expiry occurring. And so really important to ensure that those customers transition smoothly into into their next rate. And we have a similar bubble coming through in mid-way through next year. So, so really important both for brokers and for customers that that transition occurs, occurs smoothly. And then and then for me and the broader team, it's around it's still on the same agenda on on simplification and digitalisation. And so we're working really closely with our technology teams to ensure that what we're delivering into the market from origination process right through to settlement is as convenient and simple as possible. And, and we'll keep driving that through. And and it just goes back to the things I talked to earlier around being really consistent in that space as well and not pushing change through too quickly so that it's actually not then embedded across across the channels. So a lot a lot in that answer. I know that you know very much around what's happening in in the in the market, the speed of change in the funding market, and then ultimately ensuring that our brokers and our customers are managed through that speed of change. I think that it's not just what's happening in the financial markets and and globally, but obviously the impacts of natural disasters across the country is also very important for brokers and for the broader customer base across the country. But if we look at just the sheer number of customers choosing brokers to go to for their home lending needs suggests that the industry's really matured an enormous amount. And even if we look at NAB's growth and you know, our growth is almost 11% through the broker channel. And when you then compare that to the actual proprietary channels, that more around 3 to 4%. So yeah, really, really important channel for for the group. I think the biggest challenge is the continual sophistication of the industry through learning and development, through the standards that that we expect and the growth in standards that that the industry needs to ensure that regulators are comfortable. But also the fact that customers continue to to choose brokers to be their choice of expert for home lending. And, you know, there's been great growth in the last period of time, but how does that sophistication continue to ensure that that growth is maintained? I think secondly would be around the rate environment, and I think that we've seen the cost of funds come through far faster than anyone predicted. And so then how do brokers manage that for customers? And from a lending point of view, how do we ensure we manage that for brokers and customers? And so I think that's that's going to be a really interesting path to navigate as we see the funding markets change and change at quite, quite a speedy rate. And then the last one on our mind is around debt to income. And we've seen a lot of commentary, particularly on New Zealand, around debt income six times and above. And we're seeing we're starting to hear and feel that same sort of commentary here in Australia. And so ensuring that our brokers are managing customers as best they can, but as a lender also managing the balance of our our business as well, just to ensure that we've got the right mix of, of lending for debt to income less than six times and above six times. So they're probably the three themes that that I'd say are the most important. Well, we've seen a significant trend in the last few months or almost a year in the fact that almost 70% of customers are now choosing brokers for their home lending needs. And I'd expect that to continue and and grow. The second one would be around automation. We're working at NAB around automating as much as we possibly can to make things simpler and easier for our brokers and for our customers. And we're seeing new entrants bring in new technology. So I think that that automation shift will be material. And then the third one will be just around the use of open banking. And I think that as everyone matures across their businesses and they can embed that into their origination processes, then open banking will become more prevalent and and more normal across across the industry. So that'll be the the three big ones for me.