Automation is something MyState Bank has harnessed as the digitalisation of lending picks up pace throughout the pandemic. MyState Bank general manager of banking Tony MacRae told MPA about its robots and the way automation has removed bottlenecks in the bank’s approval process.
Speed to answer a major concern
According to a survey of 200 brokers conducted by MyState Bank late last year, the two biggest concerns identified were speed and frequency of change around credit policy requirements and lender turnaround times. In the study, eight out of 10 brokers listed changing credit requirements as being the biggest challenge they faced, while three-quarters of brokers said turnaround times were a cause of major concern.
The issue of turnaround time is something that MyState Bank has addressed by streamlining its processes and communicating with brokers, said MacRae.
“Brokers constantly tell us consistency of that service delivery and speed to answer is absolutely critical in decision making as to who you place the loan with,” said MacRae. “Being able to give customers, in what is often a big decision point and certainly a major investment, the comfort that this will happen within this time and abiding by it [is vital].”
He explained that MyState Bank is adding more staff to its lending support and assessment teams while working to simplify the way it processes lower risk applications in order to speed up assessment time.
“We are working really closely with our brokers to ensure that we’ve got a really strong focus on file quality and eliminating reworks, because you just can’t underestimate getting the application right the first time,” he added.
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A digital lending process
Digitalisation was another big focus in the survey, with more than a quarter of brokers (27%) predicting lending would be wholly online within the next six- to 12 months, while a further 22% believed the process would migrate online in the next one to two years.
MacRae, however, believes there is still some way to go in the digitalisation of the Australian lending industry.
“Quite frankly we’re still scratching the surface on this path,” he said. “As far as digital processes, it’s good to see that customers are positive and brokers are really positive. Things like digital documentation and e-signatures have been really well accepted by customers and that hasn’t always been the case.”
The role of robotics
COVID has allowed customers to feel more comfortable operating through digital means, however, it is important to recognise that some customers prefer the old ways of doing things, he said.
“Getting the balance between digital and physical will be absolutely key but I do see from a customer perspective, doing more things remotely through digital-means will become really important,” said MacRae. “Then, from a lender’s perspective, digitalising our process and automating our process becomes critically important.
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“At My State we’re looking for opportunities where we’re able to deploy robotics.”
The bank already has a couple of robots performing back office tasks, such as delivering instructions to its conveyancing and legal firm. Not only does this shrink the time it takes, it also expands the hours available to perform these tasks and thus removes significant bottlenecks in the end-to-end process.
“We only expect to see more opportunities as we move further forward with the robotics project we have here at MyState,” said MacRae.
When asked what the lender’s main focus was for 2021, MacRae pointed to a better broker experience.
“Key to that is simplifying the requirements and the amount of documentation, particularly in the lower risk loan areas, that customers and brokers need to provide us, streamlining those processes and then deploying automation or robotics wherever possible so that we can be more consistent with our turnaround,” he said. “We’re also looking at our product, policy and pricing offerings and are going to make sure that we’re in the market but delivering simplified products that meet customers’ needs day in, day out.”
He added that MyState Bank aimed to add value to its customers’ everyday banking and had recently deployed artificial intelligence within its mobile banking app. This functionality helps customers with their savings goals by alerting them to opportunities to adjust their spending patterns. It also notifies them if they haven’t met their requirements on Bonus Saver interest, “so that their financial dealings with MyState are simpler and beneficial to them,” said MacRae.