Bendigo Bank Head of Group Processing Samantha Chandler spoke to PEXA about how online property transactions are more efficient and support their commitment to provide a better customer experience.
PEXA: Bendigo Bank is transitioning towards 100% online property transactions. How are you facilitating this change to benefit customers?
Samantha Chandler: For us, a key project deliverable was to ensure that we could fulfil a major need of our solicitor/conveyancer customer-base, enabling them to utilise their trust accounts to perform property settlements online via PEXA. Financial integration has delivered these benefits to both our customer’s and internal business processes with the direct exchange of funds occurring in real time, removing manual processes that exist in the paper settlement process.
Another objective of our delivery was to ensure that PEXA was integrated into our core business rather than creating streamlined teams with PEXA capability. This has ensured that all staff within our settlement processes are equipped to support both PEXA and paper settlements while the industry continues to move towards 100% digital.
PEXA: You finished a pilot process and have now launched it into BAU, explain the pilot process, some of the internal changes you made and how it is working so far?
Samantha Chandler: Our bank’s Project Team worked closely with PEXA, completing current-state and future-state mapping of all processes to identify how electronic settlements can streamline our existing settlement process. The objective was to identify best practice while ensuring that integration into our existing core business structure could be achieved. Impacted stakeholders within the Bank were engaged and pilot groups established to test all facets of settlements via the PEXA platform, which resulted in some re-engineering of the settlement process for PEXA settlements.
We’ve established a new PEXA Team who remain responsible for the management of all PEXA invites, conversations and emails in addition to holding our Bank’s digital signing capability to finalise and monitor all PEXA settlements/requests.
PEXA: Online property transactions are arguably the biggest change to the mortgage process and property industry at large. How has Bendigo Bank communicated this across the business?
Samantha Chandler: Communication strategies have been developed to ensure that we keep our multiple stakeholders informed and aware of changes within the Bank and upcoming mandates within the industry. The way in which communication is delivered is assessed by our business leads and based on impact to our stakeholders. It may be as simple as an internal email communication to our processing teams up to the delivery of Power Point presentations within our Group Processing Operations or formal communication via proposal letters to our Mortgage Managers.
PEXA: What are the benefits of going digital compared with sticking with the traditional paper-based way of settling property?
Samantha Chandler: Based on our assessment of the electronic conveyancing settlement process, efficiency gains by the removal of several manual processes (i.e. drawing of cheques, generation of paper documentation, postage) in addition to the reduction in agent costs are the most prevalent to date. The nature of the PEXA system also enables the centralised capture of all conversations relevant to settlements amongst all required parties while enabling the direct input of all settlement figures removing the need for phone calls and emails.
Bendigo Bank’s solid progress towards 100% digital hasn’t gone unnoticed by the industry. March this year saw the team hit double-digits for refinance invitations – doubling its personal best. They’re eager to continue sending invitations and welcome more coming their way.