Q&A with Steve Kane

Steve Kane, general manager of NAB Broker, shares his perspective on key industry issues.

What’s the greatest challenge, and the greatest opportunity for brokers in the current market?

The greatest opportunity in the current market is to know your customer, and the greatest challenge is keeping in touch with them. The changing regulatory environment has really created a challenge for brokers, as well as an opportunity, with greater complexity for customers getting a loan.

With this complexity, comes an even greater need for advice. Customers are seeking more than a recommendation around housing lending, rather looking for holistic solutions for all their financial needs.

How do you rate the current market in terms of lender competition in the low interest rate environment?

“This is the most competitive market we have operated in for many years, driven by a low-rate environment, ongoing regulatory change and more lenders seeking an increase in housing lending.

These factors, combined with a very hot property market in New South Wales and, to a lesser extent, Victoria continue to fuel significant competition. This is a great opportunity for brokers.

What feedback are you hearing from brokers in terms of key business or customer issues?

A key issue for everyone in the sector is regulatory change and complexity in the market – whether that’s as a result of the regulatory changes or individual lender requirements. These changes impact us all, but we stand out in terms of our response.

NAB Broker places the utmost importance on disclosure and transparency and we were the first in the marketplace to disclose fully and frankly what the tangible impact of these reforms will be for the broker and the rationale behind them.

How do you see the broker industry evolving over the next five years?

The broker market share will continue to grow and a 55% share of the market in the next five years is a real possibility. In addition to growth, I think the industry will also evolve, and customers will be looking for more than just a loan. Providing advice around all of a customer’s needs will become increasingly important, and when combined with knowledge of services and products, advice will take centre stage.

What is your advice to brokers to grow a sustainable mortgage practice?

If you want to grow, know your customer, know your market and have a sound business plan.

How is business going?

We have had a strong year at NAB Broker, and we will continue to provide additional support to our broker partners in this very competitive market. We remain focused on what is happening at a macro level in the market.

What makes NAB Broker stand out from the competition?

NAB Broker is fully committed to the broker industry and we are constantly working to empower brokers with flexible products, efficient processes and shared knowledge.

We’re in it for the long term, making our focus the provision of the best possible solutions for brokers and their customers, including our Ramped Trail commission structure, which rewards brokers for maintaining long term relationships. We lead the market and want to continue innovating when it comes to products. We remain committed to showing our leadership and commitment to the broker channel.

Our high quality BDM team, support to industry peak bodies and dedicated credit coaches for our brokers also make us stand out from the pack.

What’s on the radar in the year ahead?

We are continuing to explore further opportunities for brokers and their customers through small business, commercial finance and asset finance. We’ve had a great response to our SME lending program pilot phase, and will be planning a full rollout late this year.

We are also placing a continuous improvement focus on our application and settlement processes, to ensure more efficient processing of broker applications.

NAB Broker recently released its Housing Market Report – how important are reports like these for brokers to impart information to their client?

Consumers are continuously seeking information about the housing market, whether they’re interested in buying, investing or even just checking out the market. Brokers provide valuable advice and with CoreLogic RP Data we were able to provide an easy-to-use resource for brokers and their customers.

Reports of this type are very important as we provide access to accurate and timely information about the market to brokers, enabling brokers to have high quality conversations with their clients and improving their service offering. This is just one of the ways we support brokers to help them deliver the best outcomes to customers.

The report was released to the broker market in advance of the wider market, giving further evidence of our commitment to brokers and helping them grow their share of the market.

What is the best aspect of your role as general manager?

As General Manager of NAB Broker, providing solutions to the vast majority of Australians to satisfy their property needs, whether for investment or as their principal place of residence, is very fulfilling. Brokers provide an extremely valuable service, so to be part of this industry is an exciting place to be.

If you could change one thing now in the industry, what would that be?

I think more can be done to streamline the whole property purchasing process, although there have already been major strides and progress made in this area. This includes advancing electronic lodgement, e-conveyancing and technology to enable customers to access services more readily.

There is so much potential for new technologies to improve the way loans are processed, and so far the pace of change probably hasn’t been as quick as it could be.

As a lender, we’re always looking at ways we can make life easier for brokers. On the technology front NAB is working on a number of ways to use technology to drive innovation and bring to life opportunities to enhance the customer experience in the third party market.


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