Tellers to provide financial advice as bank downsizes

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National Australia Bank intends to train all its tellers to provide a ‘lite’ version of financial advice, as it moves to downsize its branches but increase its market share.

The bank intends to shrink its branches by 25% while adopting digital technology, as consumers move increasingly towards online banking.

NAB's executive general manager retail Vicki Carter told Business Day bankers would deal less with transactions, and more with providing ''lite advice'' to customers.

''The reality is that a lot of Australians won't pay $4000, $5000 for a financial plan,'' she said.

''But many Australians still need help with simple rollover products, their superannuation products and their simple protection needs. That is unfilled at present, so…this is actually a gap in the market.''

The bank said it will still employ qualified financial planners across 15% of its branches, but tellers will deal with less complex issues.
  • Matthew Ross on 10/12/2013 7:18:00 PM

    Comment of the week goes to...Brian Woods. Well said Rob Ferguson and Bill Bowler.

    Refreshing to hear comments from advisers who understand the true value of what we do and clearly not threatened by initiatives like this that don't lead to advice - that will ultimately be a sales pitch.

  • James Smith on 10/12/2013 5:27:07 PM

    I spoke to FOS today about a hearing impaired person who was sold a loan by a teller (even though he had cash in the bank in greater value than the loan ) and given the cash ($25k) on the spot. No checking of his assets, no clarification that he understood what he was signing and no need for lawyer or planner to check what he was signing. Turns out he was being conned by a female drug addict who took the money and ran. FOS view was that the bank was not at fault because they were not providing advice and followed their process ? This light advice has a similar flavour ? Poor bugger is working 6 days a week at $20 per hour to pay off the debt and all the bank care about is that they followed their process and were not giving advice ? Amazingly FOS agrees.

  • Bill Bowler on 10/12/2013 1:30:30 PM

    you are all missing the point. banks make $billions via mortgages , credit cards fees, personal loans. they do not need Financial Planners to make profits. why would you be a planner with a bank and walk away after 20 years of service without any equity because of your efforts. let them go for it and the public will realise they are talking with an employee with basic training only...on the other hand it sounds even better , maybe I should get a "cushy " bank job

  • Brian Woods on 10/12/2013 12:33:05 PM

    I my humble opinion I support the Rob Ferguson's comments, Nab has got this all wrong they will fall on the sword of their own making. Has the major banks ever understood Advice and best interests of clients it has always about the transaction and platform never really about client centric advice. This will benefit the advice business that are delivering value to clients with value and great advice long live the Self employed Professional

  • Rob Ferguson on 10/12/2013 10:22:10 AM

    I don't suppose the tellers will be able to recommend something other than MLC? You know, best interest and all that? So now my clients will be harassed by some poor young teller with a sales target every time they venture into a branch. Oh sorry that already happens! The beautiful thing about this is that every time they do it a little bit more of the banks goodwill floats off into history

  • PETER CORRIE on 9/12/2013 1:49:03 PM

    FOFA legislation has failed to provide more financial advice to Australians.
    Fees for service are in most cases a failure because a client won't pay or cannot afford to pay fees. As a result clearly the bank is avoiding the cost of employing Financial Advisers/Planners wherever possible.
    Tellers will be subject to non disclosure, misrepresentation and inappropriate advice even if it is scaled advice.
    A large percentage of the policies sold will be useless at claim time with nobody to represent them either and most will lapse between 0--4 years.
    Now that's not a good way to provide good advice , however one advantage for us could be that it plays into our hands in the future, if we are in a position to offer these bank customers comprehensive professional advice.

  • Innocent Observer on 9/12/2013 1:43:52 PM

    Clearly she doesn't realise that even the "simple" stuff requires a process to be followed, which costs time and money. Whether of not they can successfully provide a so-called "lite" offer in a in the best interest of the client while adhering to all compliance/regulatory responsibilities and without sales incentives is something I would be interested to see. I can see this going pear-shaped

  • Barry D on 9/12/2013 12:53:53 PM

    Why can't one be educated in a general sense to give general advice and then refer to an expert? Works for me.

  • Craig Yates on 9/12/2013 11:47:09 AM

    I can only assume therefore that the word "lite" refers to "light", meaning light weight and subsequently useless.
    Just like when you go to the supermarket and look at the back of most products with the word "lite" on them...they have usually taken out all the good stuff, replaced them with artificial ingredients in a bid to make you believe you are doing the right thing.
    This type of approach goes against all the foundation of what the legislation is really trying to achieve in the provision of relevant, researched, compliant advice that is appropriate,in the clients best interests, is concise and can be clearly understood.
    Yep,quickly rollover some super, lose the insurance cover and then try and find the bank teller when you are lying in the hospital bed riddled with Cancer to come a help you fill out a claim form for the Life or TPD insurance you no longer have !

  • Tony R. on 9/12/2013 11:33:33 AM

    The teller is correct!!
    Of course the CBA is the best as it ranked the top out of 20 in the latest Roy Morgan Research Consumer Brand Rankings Table.
    So, technically the teller is correct. Wouldn't it be so easy if we could all just quote consumer research.

  • Lite advice on 9/12/2013 10:57:10 AM

    Im confused? How is it actually possible to provide 'lite advice' for simple rollovers and simple protection needs? What is simple protection needs...what about finding out what the client actually requires providing advice in writting, comparing products, acting in the clients best interest and working out a risk profile for their 'simple' rollover?
    I was surprised recently when helping my 17 year old son set up a simple on line bank account with the CBA that he wasn't required to do the 100 point test and when he said it was so his part time work with KMart could be paid there the pleasent teller asked him about his superannuation stating that she can give him forms to complete and give to his employer because to quote 'their's is the best becasue he can view it on line" . When i explained that i was a finacial planner and im happy for his $72 per month SG to go to REST she stated 'But then you should know that ours is the best' that simple lite advice?? That just simply horrifies me!

  • Jeff M on 9/12/2013 10:38:22 AM

    Well done deskilling of the existing work force is a must for all business models. The more educated and trained the staff are, clients will be provided more solutions and the staff become less dispensable. No one can afford for the team to being doing the stuff as that can be outsourced or computerised. Yes technology has already made great in roads into the stuff and hence better use of existing human resources is a must.
    Article I believe was general in nature but will produce results within legislative boundaries.

  • Phil on 9/12/2013 10:22:22 AM

    What a total misunderstanding of the advice industry. If 'lite (compliant) advice' could be provided in a cost effective manner then the whole industry would be doing this. If i didn't need to charge my clients $4,000-$5,000
    for a financial plan to cover cost and make a 10-20% profit margin i wouldn't

    As it is at the moment it is not possible to do this so called 'lite advice'

  • Josh on 9/12/2013 9:41:59 AM

    ''......still need help with simple rollover products, their superannuation products and their simple protection needs.'' Good luck with that ! Current FoFA legislation that does not allow for 'simple' matters to be addressed in a timely or economical fashion. Let's hope the 'scalable' advice concept is embraced in the Coalition's proposals.

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