When it comes to giving a loan application the best chance at approval in the COVID-19 environment, taking a common sense approach is key, says Stuart Moore.
Working as a BDM with ING for more than ten years, Moore has seen the ups and downs of the industry as well as the changing expectations placed on both brokers and BDMs.
MPA spoke with the AMA’s 2019 Best Non-Major Bank BDM winner about how the industry has changed over the past decade and how brokers can navigate the uncertainty of COVID-19 when submitting loan applications.
Why common sense should prevail
With lenders changing loan application criteria due to the economic and employment fallout caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it can be challenging to know how to proceed with certain customers.
Moore says in order to ensure every loan application has the best chance at approval, brokers should exercise common sense while investing more time into researching the lender’s current criteria.
“No-one knows exactly where things are going to land,” he says.
“I think really the key would be common sense. Is this a deal you would see every day of the week? Or are you really asking for something that, at the best of times, would be marginal?”
“We’re clearly not in the best of times, so it’s got to be a strong deal and it’s got to be meeting the current criteria – and the current criteria obviously can be changing, so, I think there’s a lot more research and education for the brokers.”
Staying on top of the changing environment
He says by talking to their BDMs and reading the bulletins sent out by lenders, brokers can put their best foot forward when helping clients with new applications.
He says it’s also important to stay on top of all the extra paperwork requirements that have come into place with different lenders.
As a BDM, he too is dealing with the uncertainty brought on by the virus.
“As a BDM, I’m doing heaps more scenarios.”
“For me, I might get through a week without emailing credit risk at all to ask about a scenario, whereas now, I’m doing two or three a day.”
Meeting responsible lending guidelines
Moore says brokers can continue to meet responsible lending guidelines by probing a bit more with the client to make sure they fully understand the importance of confirming their current job and income status.
If the broker is aware that a customer’s income is already compromised due to the Coronavirus, then they shouldn’t work on the assumption that things will go back to normal and that they will get a job again, he says.
“It just comes back to that real reality check – is this a deal that makes sense right now?”
“Should this person be refinancing and cashing out to do a new kitchen or bathroom right now?”
Eighteen years at ING and still going
Moore says despite the tech advancements of the past ten years, it actually takes longer to get a loan application approved now than it used to. He recalls the bygone years in which he used to be able to get a deal in and out the door before lunch by simply walking up to the assessor and handing them the application.
“There’s a lot more involved now,” he says, explaining that the changes put in place have been a good thing overall.
“There’s a lot less discretion now and a lot more consistency.”
“Brokers, for better or worse, I think, had a different reputation ten years ago when I was starting.”
“It’s obviously tougher now for them to find business and maintain relationships with referrers.”
Starting out with ING at its call centre in 2002, before moving to the direct mortgages team and then the broker channel, Moore says the work environment at the bank is “super supportive.”
“I wouldn’t have been there that long if I didn’t love the place – it’s a fantastic environment.”
“I get a lot of satisfaction out of my role. I love the interaction with people and at the moment, obviously via video and phone, it’s not quite the same. But, I think it’s been great that we can all still stay in contact and stay connected.”
He says he has noticed that there have been a lot more compliments coming through from brokers to the bank’s credit staff during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I think everybody’s trying to be a bit kinder to each other.”
“That’s nice and I hope that remains; that we’ve all kind of realised that we’re all human and we’re all in this together.”