Facing tough trading conditions, A/NZ non-bank lender Resimac is on a drive to automate its business and reduce headcount.
Resimac is aiming to rapidly expand the sophistication of workflow processing leading to full digitisation of the business, chair Warren McLeland told shareholders on Tuesday.
"This includes the evaluation and early-stage adoption of AI and other tools to achieve full digitisation of Resimac by the second quarter of the financial year 2025," he said.
CEO Scott McWilliam said progress in 2024 was being bolstered by the key technology initiatives delivered in 2023, including an asset finance origination platform, a new mortgage origination platform and a new digital loan management portal for customers.
"We will continue to deploy technology throughout the company where it will deliver volume or efficiency benefits, and I am excited by these prospects," McWilliam said.
"Achieving our growth targets while continuing to exercise a strong cost discipline means embracing a digital operating model, and we’ve done this in a way that ensures our customers and brokers receive a better user experience."
In ASX-listed Resimac's annual report, released last month, chair McLeland said balancing an incessant demand for system improvements to "stay in the game”, let alone to progress was becoming an increasing and difficult challenge.
"Technology 'eats' capital and seems to possess an insatiable and irrepressible appetite!" he told shareholders.
"Our workplace environment faces a huge task in managing complexities and simultaneously minimising, if not eliminating, vulnerabilities such as cybercrime.
"But overarching every challenge is a level of excitement as we achieve the small wins that ladder up to bigger achievements."
In 2020, Resimac partnered with Infosys to migrate its core system to the cloud-based Finacle banking system. Loanworks was to replace Resimac’s existing origination platform, providing integration with credit decision technology Equifax DecisionPoint and the digital application submission platform NextGen.
Resimac reported a normalised net profit after tax of A$73.7 million in the year to the end of June 2023, down from $104.4 million in 2022.
McLeland said while business and investment confidence was "at best subdued" and supply problems continued across many sectors compounded by the impact of the Ukraine War, Resimac's difficult operating conditions were caused by far more than that.
"Our significant decline in earnings was largely due to an unintended consequence of the Reserve Bank of Australia's decision to financially support the local banks and [authorised deposit takers] during the worst stage of the COVID crisis, but especially the major banks providing the sector with A$216 billion of term funding at near to zero cost."
This assistance was introduced for effectively four years, providing cheap funding to act as a stimulus to the banks to boost lending to retail customers and small to medium-sized businesses.
"While sounding simple, the unintended consequence of the [term funding] led to extreme price competition between the major banks eliminating any sense of competition between the banks and the non-banks," he said.
The result was to increase market share for the major banks which only exacerbated the chasm between the big banks and market participants such as smaller banks and non-banks.
"Fortuitously, Resimac’s product and asset class diversification programme which commenced a few years
ago permitted Resimac to have an in-house buffer against lower levels of lending in the prime mortgage space," he said.