As every broker knows, home loans aren’t just about connecting clients to the right lenders. There are multiple stakeholders and plenty of milestones to track along the way.
When The Loan Company signed up with PLAN Australia, the Perth-based broking firm was looking for a customisable technology platform that could help them to improve the lending administration process. Their innovative approach resulted in new business processes and a better way of working.
The Loan Company is part of the BGC Group, one of the largest building companies in Australia. This means a lot of its business comes from first home buyers who need construction finance, a longer process than applying for a standard home loan.
“We settle $400-$500 million a year, so finance approval dates have the potential to get missed,” says Simon Kahl, The Loan Company’s General Manager. “As soon as a deal becomes a deal in the building company system, it also comes through in our system. We put in the finance approval date due, the conveyancing agent, the building company – all of these details are captured at the very start of the process. We then have a report so things never get missed.”
Kahl says The Loan Company switched aggregators to be able to work on a customisable system. PLAN Australia’s Podium platform allows his brokers to track someone from lead to interviewee to client, and easily see where they are in the process. They can also see any documentation that has been received, whether they need further documentation or signatures, and when conditional approval comes through.
The platform automatically shares relevant information with the appropriate stakeholders, such as contract administrators from the building company. “We use the job number the building company allocates and line that up against our applications,” Kahl says. “If we want to run a report and cross-reference that with a building company report, we can update a hundred jobs in the space of 10 minutes to say ‘this is what they’re up to’.”
Kahl also uses the reporting function to provide a status update at the start of every week, which then prompts staff to follow up on missing documentation or details. “I get a dashboard and I can see overdue tasks, total workload for brokers and broker support,” he says. “We have KPIs around our interview timeframe, so if a broker receives a deal and hasn’t booked in to see a client within 10 days, that means we’re not reaching our KPIs with the builders.”
Taking the lead
The Loan Company has taken advantage of the adaptable technology to automate many time-consuming non-core business processes, such as generating leads for key insurance and financial planning partners. Brokers simply tick a box and the platform will pull out the relevant data, send and track the referral. They can also add their own comments to help the lead recipient.
The business wasn’t transformed overnight, though. Kahl says it took about eight months to work through the list he wanted to achieve. And, he admits, for about half that time staff hated him. But within three to four months, everyone came around. “We’re now at the point where the system isn’t flawless, but everything we wanted to achieve, the process of what we first wanted it to do, is now happening.”
Starting with a simple wish list, The Loan Company has shown other brokers what’s possible with customisable technology, which is why it took out the PLAN Australia Achievement in Innovation (Technology) 2016 award.