Advisers save BNZ's market share

Outgoing BNZ chief executive Anthony Healy has described the bank’s latest results as “satisfying”.

“I don’t know if it’s like the Olympics and the best ever,” he says, referring to the fact that BNZ reported a profit of $1.04 billion two years ago.

In the 12 months to September BNZ has reported net profit after tax rose $24 million to $937 million.

Healy says BNZ’s decision to enter the mortgage adviser market was important.

“Had we not entered that market our marketshare would be going backwards significantly.”

Overall BNZ’s market share has remained flat and sits at 15.6%

In this year its home loan growth was in line with system growth of 6.5%.

Currently BNZ has partnerships with more than 900 mortgage advisers across six aggregator groups, of which 60% are in Auckland.

“We’ve got critical mass,” he says.

During the year 11% of home loans were originated through advisers compared to just 2.9% in March 2016.

Healy says the rollout into third party distribution was rapid and it has slowed down now.

He says BNZ is “70% of where it wants to be” in this market. There will be some expansion, but it is not as critical now.

BNZ’s parent company NAB is a strong player in third party distribution of home loans and owns a number of aggregators including Plan, Choice and FAST.

Healy says buying aggregators in New Zealand “isn’t something we have contemplated”.

But he also says; “never say never.”

One of the strengths mortgage advisers have is that they are seen as independent, he says.

However, they also face risks. BNZ, like the other banks, has highlighted its work in developing digital tools to help their customers.

“We recognise that the world of banking is changing and we’ve invested heavily in creating more seamless customer experiences, from our market leading digital platforms to our new and emerging technology partnerships,” Healy says.

He says that as the banks ramp up their efforts in this area, customers may choose to buy bank products through these proprietary channels rather than through branches and mortgage advisers.

This is a threat to advisers, and they need to digitalise their businesses too, he says.

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