As brokers our job is to find the best deal for our client. That said, what is their best interest and how do we place an objective value on something that is inherently subjective like service?
We assume that price is the determinant factor, the decision driver for our clients. We have collectively spent millions on software that chooses for us, and no client has ever said that they want to pay more. I am yet to see a mathematical algorithm for service, there is no check box on the software for “Made in Australia” or “Answers phone within 2 hours”. Everything comes down to which bank and at what rate.
So if the cheapest rate comes with an international call centre, an assessment policy with no grey areas and no lateral perspective, then it’s a winner every time and along with every other deal from across the country it’ll sit in that queue until we’ve pulled our hair out, our clients are stressed and the vendors walk away.
One of our Big Four were slaughtered in the media for off-shoring some back-end processing from Melbourne, ironically the assessment team covering everything west of the Barossa was already set up in Bangalore. I was going to say up and running but by the evidence and grumbles from brokers- it’s not running at all. That’s only what we know about or at least have heard rumours of. I may just be suspicious but based on accents and surnames dealing with many other banks I doubt that the bank in blue is exactly unique in this exercise.
But it all comes down to price, unless we can put an objective value on something inherently subjective; “Economic well-being”, ”The greater good”, and, yes, “ Service” that will never change. To which end I suggest the following exercise.
At the end of an arduous loan approval process of stress and unknowing, heading cap in hand to the vendor to seek extension after extension, and perhaps losing the dream property thus having to start over again… Given the option would Mr and Mrs Homebuyer rather pay an extra $750 per year on their $300k mortgage to a lender who could have said Yes within a week? Would they pay that little bit extra to be with a lender that assesses and processes the loan locally?
Price has become such a driver that our lenders are cutting corners to save, to be competitive; they are cutting the payments to service providers. The lowest bidder is their choice whether that is brokers, valuers, solicitors, and even nations that employ their own staff.
Far from being a Nationalist, or blinded to the contribution that immigrants have made to make Australia what it is, but if our banks are outsourcing processing of loans offshore, and we can’t service our clients due to their service levels, and our industry loses the very skilled, compassionate, understanding and lateral thinking assessors that have made our Banking Industry amongst the most resilient in this time of Economic Crisis just to save 20 or 25bps then I ask again what price service?