Westpac rolling out ‘digital mortgages’

Westpac plans to offer refinancers a simpler digital mortgage process where some customers could gain unconditional approval in as little as 10 minutes.

The digital mortgage process will be rolled out in the final quarter of this year for select customers refinancing to Westpac’s Flexi First Option home loan, and then expanded to more refinancing customers next year.

“Historically, refinancing can take weeks and involve multiple manual processes,” said Westpac consumer and business banking chief executive Chris de Bruin.

“Our digital mortgage makes applying for a home loan simpler and faster for customers.”

Richard Burton, managing director of Westpac’s mortgage business, said the bank was using third-party data sources and analytics to replace a lot of the paperwork that’s in the mortgage process.

“For our customers that means no more looking for pay slips, no more looking for bank or credit card statements – they just need to sign up and give us their consent to work with them.”

Westpac would still be “performing the right checks and balances to ensure we are lending responsibly,” Mr de Bruin said, so some customers would need to have their applications assessed by the lender.

To be eligible for a “digital loan”, customers will be required to have 20 per cent equity in the property and be on a PAYG income.

RateCity.com.au research director Sally Tindall said CBA and NAB had already rolled out a streamline application process after fintechs such as Tic:Toc, Nano, OneTwo Home Loans and ubank shook up the market with simple applications and fast approval times.

“For decades, the big banks have held on to cumbersome legacy systems and lengthy application processes at the frustration of customers,” she said.

“That’s all changing thanks to the entrance of a handful of tech-savvy lenders, which have challenged the status quo.

“Westpac might be a bit late to the party, but the bank has shown it plans to be a serious contender in the digital home loan space.”

Westpac also announced on Wednesday it was rolling out new personal finance tools in its Westpac app next quarter, following its acquisition of MoneyBrilliant last year.

The enhancements include letting customers check their balances at other financial institutions and tagging expenses throughout the year in preparation for tax time.

Derek Rose
(Australian Associated Press)

 

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