According to Mark Haron, best interests duty and lender turnaround times are the two biggest things brokers want support with as the finance industry traverses 2021. The Connective executive director said the blown-out turnaround times of some lenders were playing a key part in the best interests duty obligations of brokers.
Read more: Connective plans to launch tool to address lender turnaround times
“The conversations that brokers have been having with customers are not just about interest rates or product structure,” he said. “The key thing for a customer to save money isn’t always necessarily a straight-out interest rate, it could be the way they use their products and how effective they can be.”
Countless brokers have recently had to answer enquiries from borrowers lured by the plethora of cashback offers that are currently in the market – a factor that has, to some extent, exacerbated this problem, he said.
Read more: Does more cashback mean more clawback?
“It has created a lot more competition in the market, a lot more noise and certainly created a lot more business for brokers,” he said.
Following the implementation of best interests duty at the start of this year, there has also been continued demand for guidance and support around some of the nuances of the legislation, said Haron.
Connective ran a successful program of virtual events throughout 2020 as lockdowns and border closures made face-to-face events impossible. Some of these, such as its lender updates and the Melbourne Business School program, saw a massive take up because of their digital delivery.
“It certainly enabled us to put together a lot more content and get that content out to brokers and in a faster fashion,” he said. “With lender update information done online, we ended up reaching 400% more participants as a collective group.
Read more: Brokers flock to Connective's Lender Splendour for answers
“With our Melbourne Business School program, to do that in every state would have been a logistical nightmare. Being able to do that online and having some good tools that enabled interaction, proper questions - it was tremendous.”
Another success story was the ‘Connective Community,’ an online forum built into the Mercury CRM. The aggregator opened this up to include lender scenarios; enabling brokers, Connective staff and even BDMs to workshop potential solutions for trickier loan applications.
Despite the success of its virtual program in 2020, Haron said the aggregator was planning to bring back some face-to-face events towards the end of 2021 while continuing to deliver online content.
“Fingers crossed we can hold the conferences and leadership summits we want to do towards the later part of the year,” he said. “We’re hoping that can be the case and we can start to see the brokers in person. I know a lot of people are craving that.”