Kiwibank set to enter adviser market

Kiwibank says it will be fully entering the mortgage adviser market later this year.

Kiwibank chief executive Steve Jurkovich says the bank is in the process of setting up a fully-fledged broker unit and expects it to be up and running later this year.

"By the end of this financial year I expect us to have a strong, competitive, dedicated broker unit."

"We are three to six months away from being out there in full force."

He says customers have made it clear that they want to use mortgage advisers. "The market has spoken. They really value what third party brokers and intermediaries offer. It's here for good."

Currently, third party distribution is a pretty small proportion of Kiwibank's business, he says, but "I could see a time where over the next couple of years it would easily be 20% of our flows".

"Part of our strategy is to make sure we are supporting [mortgage advisers]."

He says it is very important the bank has the right service proposition for the broker.

"What I don't want to do is let people down."

Kiwibank has appointed a head of its broker unit and has done a global search for tools that the bank can invest in which would make the life of the customer, the broker and the bank better.

"We've got some interesting ideas there and they need to be worked up with third party."

He says technology will play a big part in the proposition.

Kiwibank currently originates mortgages through its own branch network and through its fully-owned subsidiary NZ Home Loans. It doesn't disclose the split between the two channels, and when asked again at its half year results last week declined to disclose the figure.

"I wouldn't go into a breakdown. I will pass on that one," Jurkovich said when asked.

In the six months to December 31 NZHL "played a very important part" in helping Kiwibank grow its lending book.

"They are a significant contributor."

During the period their mortgage book grew by $1.78 billion to $19.63 billion. Jurkovich says this is well ahead of system growth.

System growth is sitting around the 4% market. He says if Kiwibank's growth was annualised, and with all things being equal, the bank would be at 8%.

Another way of looking at it is that Kiwibank accounted for 10.1% of bank lending in calendar year 2019.

The growth has come from competitive pricing, and it had "some offers that have had people talking. Current promotions of Fiji trips have contributed too".

Kiwibank has been "working really hard on just retention".

"More customers are saying we will stick with you," he says.

In every week, across the six month reporting period, it has grown the number of borrowers.

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