Further changes in lender policy on the cards

With lender policies changing on a regular basis, many brokers are finding themselves stuck on the phone and waiting for answers before they can lodge a loan application.

According to executive director of Connective Mark Haron we can expect to see a number of further changes across policies in the coming weeks – something that the aggregator is well equipped to inform its members on.

MPA spoke with Haron off the back of Connective’s virtual Lender Splendour sessions that saw more than 4,100 brokers get up to speed in the space of four days.

The challenge of staying on top of things

It has been a challenge to stay on top of the fluctuating lending environment over the past couple of months.

While lenders generally send out correspondence to brokers who are accredited with them, the ones who aren’t tend to miss out on this information – which could actually be quite important for these brokers to know about, says Haron.

He adds that while many lenders have been open in communicating the details of their latest changes in policy to brokers, some others haven’t been as forthcoming – making it difficult for many brokers to stay in the loop.

“We are finding that there seems to be changes happening behind the scenes for some lenders,” Haron says.

“That’s something that happens in these environments when changes are being made rapidly.”

An example is the way some lenders are dealing with certain industry types – in particular, those impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. While some lenders have been quite transparent about the changes they have made, others have been less so.

“They don’t want to be going too public in terms of some of the conservatism, but you can tell in the decisions they are making that they are looking at certain industry types a lot harder than they are other industry types.”

Dealing with longer turnaround times

Due to lender resources being stretched thin, many brokers are experiencing longer turnaround times for loan applications. Haron says the lenders that communicate the reasons behind this can better help brokers manage their customers’ expectations.

Having to constantly check in on the updated policies of lenders is also leading to a longer recommendation and application process, with many brokers spending hours going through emails, visiting multiple lenders sites and waiting for return phone calls from BDMs.

While it is important that brokers contact BDMs in order to run scenarios past them, Haron notes that the changing policy environment has seen both lender and aggregator BDMs run off their feet.

“The challenge has been that BDMs with some lenders are, as such, inundated with calls from brokers to escalate deals that might have been in their systems for some time,” he says.

“Our Connective BDMs and state managers are also quite busy taking calls from brokers to help them get deals escalated with some of the lenders as well, because some of the lenders resources are stretched a bit thin.”

How Connective is helping its members

Recently the aggregator held the first ever virtual delivery of its Lender Splendour sessions, which enabled brokers from across the country to learn firsthand about the policy changes of 44 different lenders.

“Over those four days we had over 4,100 brokers attending one or all of the updates and presentations from the lenders,” Haron explains.

These presentations were also recorded and are now available to Connective members to view on-demand via the Lender Library.

According to Haron, Connective is receiving a lot of positive feedback from brokers, who appreciate being able to access the information in a video format.

“We also gave time for a bit of Q and A as well and that’s been very, very useful.”

Strengthening the lender/broker relationship

Having a platform for lenders to speak directly to brokers is helping to humanise the situation and strengthen the relationships between lenders and brokers during this challenging climate, says Haron.

“We have noticed a lot of lenders reflecting on and appreciating what brokers are doing in their communities with their customers,” he adds.

“There’s been a fair amount of good will that continues to generate between lender and broker.

“Sharing that information through things like the Lender Splendour and other regular updates that our team are doing is much better than just getting emails and reading information.

“It reminds both lenders and brokers that there are real people on each side of these transactions.”

Further changes to policy

Connective is regularly updating its Lender Library to reflect further changes to policy as they happen.

Haron says he believes more changes are likely to occur over the next fortnight, such as changes to LVR structures, changes to the way lenders treat certain employment types and the acceptance of certain types of income.

Connective aims to launch another virtual Lender Splendour and is putting together a lot more educational content in an online format, including 90 minute webinars focused on business development in conjunction with Melbourne Business School, and a livestreamed Broker Champion series.