BoQ has brokers in mind

MPA hears from Bank of Queensland general manager of third party distribution, Adrienne Smith on plans to upgrade the bank's broker service offering and growth plans in the third party channel. 

MPA: What are BoQ's plans for growth/delivery in the third party channel? 
Adrienne Smith:
Historically, BOQ relied on branches as a single source of distribution. The reality is that branches are no longer the only choice for consumers. We have successfully transformed from a mono-line distribution business to one with multiple distribution channels, including our entry into the mortgage broking channel in 2013. We are now seeing between 15-19% of our home loan volumes coming through the broker channel and we are looking to grow that. We have more than 4,000 mortgage brokers accredited across BOQ Broker, and this will expand further in 2017. 

It’s fair to say that our turnaround times were not where they should have been earlier in the year. During the year we made good progress on the next stage of our retail loan origination platform and rolled out a new commercial lending platform. Both platforms will automate previous manual, paper based processes and deliver a faster time to yes for our broker partners and their customers. In addition to that, we have a number of back office initiatives underway to deliver a leaner, more efficient operating structure which will also improve our turnaround times.  We have continued to work hard throughout this year on our back end processes and we appreciate the  feedback and the support that brokers and aggregators  have shown us to date. 

MPA: What are the details around BoQ's new economy variable rate in the market?   
Smith: We’ve revamped our Economy Variable Home Loan in time for the Spring buying season to provide customers with a low interest rate, no frills product. BOQ’s Economy Variable Home Loan is perfect for home buyers who want to save money on their repayments simply by choosing a loan with fewer bells and whistles. Not only have we re-priced the product to provide our broker partners with an extremely competitive interest rate, we have reduced the application fee to $300, the LVR is 80 per cent for both owner occupied and investor loans, and we are also offering customers one free valuation per Economy loan. While some no frills products on the market limit customers with no redraw or extra repayment options, BOQ’s Economy Variable Home Loan has free redraw, a choice of repayment options and unlimited additional repayments so our customers can pay off their home loans sooner.

MPA: Any other campaigns or products in the pipeline?
Smith: In early September we launched a new campaign aimed at assisting our customers to “Make their House a Home” which has proved popular with customers. Customers who take out a new BOQ home loan – either Economy or Clear Path –  combined with the BOQ Banking Essentials transaction account and credit card, could be eligible for a $1,500 gift card from selected retailers to spend on their home. The gift card campaign runs until October 30. 

MPA: What are the latest changes/improvements to your broker service offering?
Smith: As I mentioned, we have been working hard on our back office processes and platforms to improve our turnaround times. We continue to listen to feedback from our brokers. We have grown our national BDM team over the last year. Our Broker partners go through a BOQ accreditation process which not only assists them to understand BOQ and our products, but also allows their designated BDM to fully understand their business. For us, it is a partnership; it’s about building a long term relationship with our broker partners and putting them and their customers at the heart of everything we do. 

Over the last six months we have been piloting a Broker & Branch program with some of our key broker partners which provides a post loan settlement service for them and their customers. The program assists our brokers by giving both them and their customer a personal  introduction to their local branch staff; an additional layer of support if they require it.  The feedback we get from our key brokers is that they want to ensure their customers are treated as a name, not a number. If the customer is happy with BOQ this serves to only strengthen the broker/client relationship. 

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