An internationally recognised financial services executive has given an insight into how Australia’s mortgage industry may look after further regulatory reform and the likely impact this will have on brokers and lenders.
Steve Weston, who until recently was the CEO of Mortgages at Barclays in the UK, is spearheading the Finance Brokers Association of Australia’s (FBAA) 2016 National Tour, which kicked off in Brisbane last week.
From 2008 to 2012, Weston was responsible for the now National Australia Bank owned PLAN, Choice and FAST aggregation businesses. After spending the last four years in London, he is sharing his experiences from the UK mortgage industry at the personal development event.
“The mortgage industry in the UK is similar to the Aussie market but there is a much higher level of regulatory intensity over there, which has both its positives and negatives.”
“A big positive for me is that in the UK, the customers’ interests are put at the heart of everything that banks and brokers do but at the same time innovation has suffered because lenders are so focused on complying with regulations that they are too scared to stick their heads above the parapet.”
Weston also touched on how lenders and brokers can use data and technology to improve customer experience, increase productivity and tighten regulatory compliance.
“Brokers now account for over 70 per cent of mortgage flow in the UK and given the similarities with the Australian market, there is every reason to believe that broker flows should increase significantly above the low 50 per cents currently being experienced here,” says Weston.
“That said, Australia’s robust economic performance and strong property price growth may have created a false sense of security that the way that business is being done today will still be considered compliant by regulators in five or ten years from now. The UK financial services industry has learned through painful experience that the interpretation of regulations can change over time.”
Weston shared examples of areas where Australian brokers may need to review their processes to protect themselves against a potential change in the interpretation of regulations in the future. Feedback from the Brisbane event was that brokers found Weston’s insights informative and where necessary they will look to make changes to their business processes.
The FBAA’s Peter White is urging all brokers to come along and hear Steve’s thoughts and advice, saying it’s a wonderful opportunity to get a glimpse into Australia’s broking future.
“Steve is a legend in broking circles with so much knowledge at hand, and the FBAA is privileged to have him as part of our National Tour.”