SMSF Service Provider Awards 2014 – Westpac: Residential property loans

Improving the knowledge and understanding of SMSF lending has been fundamental to Westpac’s strategy over the past 12 months, particularly the suitability and processes for limited recourse borrowing arrangements.

“Our philosophy is that SMSFs are not for everyone and gearing within an SMSF is also not right for everyone,” Westpac head of SMSF Sinclair Taylor says.

“As such, only suitably accredited Westpac Group staff are involved in SMSF lending. A specific SMSF credit policy exists to ensure there is a prudent approach to this lending.”

Westpac continues its focus on educating its staff around lending procedures and has a dedicated SMSF Connect team of specialists, who are able to deal with clients on a general advice basis to assist with lending and other product-related queries, Taylor says.

Lending to SMSFs is conducted through the bank’s normal lending departments, guided by specific lending policies, he says.

“In addition Westpac has a dedicated SMSF business unit focusing on the bank’s overall SMSF offering,” he says.

“The responsibility of the team is to engage with all product areas across Westpac to ensure that our individual product offerings are relevant to SMSF trustees, are market leading and are compliant with all legislative requirements.

“The primary interest in residential SMSF loans has come from the trustees themselves, so upon receiving an enquiry we strongly encourage any trustee considering borrowing to seek independent financial and legal advice.”

Both trustees and advisers are continually seeking further information about gearing in SMSFs, covering the end-to-end process and associated costs, he says.

As a result, the bank works closely with its frontline staff to determine new business volumes in the lending space and provide any support material.

Formal reporting and analysis is conducted monthly, Taylor says.

“We’re also looking to streamline our lending processes to provide a greater customer experience in what some trustees might find a cumbersome process,” he says.

“Achieving success via the CoreData awards is another indication the hard work being made in this segment is paying off.

“Due to the size of Westpac, the award is the result of multiple areas engaging together to ensure the right product offering is in the market.

This involves continual engagement with mortgage product teams, credit policy, risk and compliance, distribution, marketing and external stakeholders.

“We’re constantly seeking to improve our lending offer for SMSFs and all of our other SMSF offerings across the bank. This work will continue in 2015.”

Westpac head of SMSFs Chris Lumby accepted the award on the night.

Award winners

  • Class Super: SMSF accounting software/administration
  • Cromwell: Property
  • Macquarie: Cash and term deposits
  • FIIG Securities: Fixed income
  • Westpac: Residential property loans
  • CommSec: Australian shares
  • TAL: Insurance
  • BT Wrap: Investment platform
  • Magellan: International shares

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