ANZ talks Home Loan Coaches

Glenn Stevenson, Head of Mortgages at ANZ, tells TMM about plans to broaden the scope of the bank’s lending advice through its new ‘Home Loan Coaches’ initiative, and what the move means for mortgage advisers.

Last month ANZ launched the scheme aimed at guiding customers — particularly first-time buyers — through the home-buying process. The bank’s 450 lending advisers have undergone additional training to give customers advice about the market, budgeting and legal help.

Why did ANZ come up with Home Loan Coaches?

“It was born out of research into the first home buyer’s market. Many genuinely don’t have an idea about what they are doing and don’t necessarily have an advocate in their corner. It leads to frustration and many buyers’ expectations are not aligned with reality. The role of the coach is getting alongside customers and reframing their sense of reality and what options are available.”

What advice do Home Loan Coaches offer?

“We’re making customers more aware about the experience they’re about to go through. Historically the part we play has been based around financing, and what we found is that customers buying their first home or investment property need support. It might be as simple as explaining jargon around LVR restrictions, or when they need a solicitor. It can also be about helping them look at wider property types, or creating enough equity to find the right home down the track.”

Do your staff need need any extra training or qualifications to become Home Loan Coaches?

“It is purely internal training. All our staff go through an internal course to have their own lending accreditations. That is a standard process, but this is more about being aligned with the needs of customers over and above the financing aspects. It was a training exercise every lender went through across a day.”

Are Home Loan Coaches filling the roles of specialist real estate advisers?

“We don’t have the extent of property information that real estate advisers do. But certainly in the concept of being able to look at properties within a client’s price bracket. Providing a better frame of reference for customers is valued, and getting them on the right track helps.”

Kiwis often go direct to their bank rather than seeking specialist advice. Is the Home Loan Coach initiative a response to this trend?

“If you look at other countries, you find there are home buying agents. Rather than having someone to sell the property, it is their job to help someone buy it. We don’t have that type of proposition in New Zealand to a great extent. There is a space for it, and I’m not saying we are filling that void, but there are parts we believe we can play.”

Are Home Loan coaches performing the traditional job of a mortgage adviser?

“I don’t think so. A customer goes to a broker for similar reasons they go to a bank. The thing about the broker proposition that differentiates it is being able to look across the market. Outside of that, I think invariably we are similar in terms of what we are trying to do for customers, but complementary.”

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