Liberty’s Boyle on the business of lending in the “new reality”

  • By Kate Weber

Ensuring employees feel comfortable coming forward with suspected breaches or infringements is important for finance company Liberty in engaging its staff, accroding to Liberty CEO James Boyle.

Speaking amid the recent Westpac AML fallout which saw its CEO Brian Hartzer is officially stepping down, Boyle was commenting more broadly and specifically on how his business is supporting transparency and governance. 

“We spent a lot of time being really clear in having a conversation with the team to say, this is what important.

“We want you to raise your hand and call it out if you're seeing something that doesn't align with our values.”

Speaking at a recent Randstad Leaders Lecture in Melbourne, Boyle spoke at length on the changing face of the finance including the increasing levels of consumer standards and accountability.

The rampant speed of technological advancements has increased consumer expectations resulting in heightened standards the finance industry is held against. 

“We as an industry are being held to higher accounts because these same technologies allow for the masses to hold those who are responsible for them higher account.

“It’s very reasonable for consumers of our services to be very clear and very transparent and very loud with us when they say we want more from you, what you think you've done in the past, even if you think you've done it really well isn't enough.”

In the shadow of a royal commission fairness has become the topical discussion said Boyle. 

As the industry moves into a “new reality” post-commission Boyle believes becoming risk aware by understand risks from a compliance perspective whilst also adjusting price to fits customer needs. 

“The core number one for us is risk awareness. The second is customer experience.

“We have to really make it our business to understand the risks inherent in our circumstances.

“The first is from a compliance perspective, understanding the circumstances about customers and making sure that we've made satisfactory inquiry and record of same. 

“The second is the service that we offer to our customers, but the price. We seek to understand the individual circumstances of each of our customers and to offer them a price that is fair for those circumstances.

“We think this is what the future look like.”

Continuing to look to the future, Boyle believes the customer experience will continue to grow alongside consumer choice. 

Today neobanks allow money transfers within minutes which Boyle described as “breathtakingly phenomenal” yet will become the expected norm within a few short years. 

Innovation from all banks have also created a “reasonable’ price point for consumers in the mortgage  sector continued Boyle, stating consumers now have real choice in mortgages as well as reduced rates.

“Any of us within reason can expect to get a reasonable offer and that choice for us extends even beyond home loans, but the choice of different products, how you want to engage with us and when you want to engage with us.” 

Continuing to look forward Boyle believes greater regulation and a “fragmented industry” will be the way of the future.  

“More regulation is absolutely on the cards. 

“The expectations of the community are not going to go backwards. The account to which each of us will be held in the provision of our services will continue to increase and we need to be okay with that.

“We need to lean into that and make it our reality to deliver. 

“I'm horrendously confident that we can, but there is going to be more regulation.

“In responding to these community standards, legislators and regulators alike as we have seen since the royal commission and making it their business to make sure that if you're not doing it yourself, they're giving you a helping hand.”

Describing the divided finance industry as the most significant future change Boyle said the market can expect more entrants into the space resulting in further choice. 

“What we've seen in response to the royal commission is big businesses that had accumulated a lot of breadth whom had now slimmed down and focused on their core, whilst smaller businesses have come in and made it their business to deliver to these standards. 

“We're going to see lots of more entrants into financial services, this will mean lots of more choices for employment and hopefully all of them focused on helping more people use finance to lead better, better lives.”