NZ Adviser recently released the results of its Advisers on Banks survey which asked advisers to score banks across a range of different criteria, and also questioned advisers about some of their most positive and negative experiences with lenders.
Survey participants were asked to recall the best and worst things a lender had done for their business/clients over the past twelve months. The results were interesting, varied and showed a broad spectrum of opinions and experience, a selection of which are detailed below.
Quick turnaround times and prioritisation of urgent, time-sensitive deals were the most common praise factor for lenders. One adviser recalled that they only had three days to confirm finance and the bank returned a confirmation in less than 24 hours of the application being lodged, while others had their home loans approved in as little as two hours.
Advisers also appreciated some flexibility around lending requirements. Westpac was noted as having approved a loan for a long-term ACC recipient where no other main bank would do so, and ANZ was praised for being “prepared to look outside the square, communicate lending thinking and deliver accordingly.” One adviser managed to get an approval from Resimac for a non-resident client with a Kiwi partner, and The Cooperative Bank offered a loan on a remote property that “no other bank would consider.”
Good commission structures and not fighting advisers for business were also common themes among the answers, along with good training and BDM support.
Overwhelmingly, poor turnaround times were the biggest complaint, along with loans being declined for seemingly no good reason.
One adviser criticised the “insanely slow turnaround times” and “extremely pedantic forms and procedure”, and noted that it was too easy to have your trail commission stopped if the client went somewhere else to refix their loan. Another recounted how one lender took seven weeks to decline a deal, while another took twelve days until the client rang them up direct and got an approval in three hours – something which doesn’t give advisers a good look.
Banks turning down broker deals and approving the same deals direct was a complaint which cropped up quite a few times, leaving advisers feeling like they were battling with banks for business.
Outdated online systems also got their fair share of flak, with one respondent noting that advisers were forced to use “horrific, clunky software to submit deals,” made worse by broker groups encouraging its use.
Clawbacks, commission structures and products
When asked if clawbacks were a major problem for their business, over half of the survey respondents said no. Several said that they hadn’t been a problem in the past but were starting to become more of an issue, while others said they were no more than the occasional pain.
On the flip side, approximately a quarter of respondents said clawbacks were definitely an issue, with some banks penalising advisers for early customer repayments more than others.
When asked if commission structures had improved or worsened, the result was a 50:50 split. Product ranges and pricing got better feedback, with a solid 80% of advisers agreeing that they had improved.
When asked if adviser platforms and technology had improved, the result was a resounding, all-caps no, with only one respondent commenting that that they had improved “slightly”.