ON THE SOFA WITH

STATER AND DE HYPOTHEKER

Partnership, the credit crisis, new systems and growing pains

On the sofa with De Hypotheker and Stater

Partnership, the credit crisis, new systems and growing pains

WE'RE SITTING ON A SOFA IN THE ZONE, A STYLISH OFFICE SPACE AT NIBC. MICHEL KANT, MEMBER OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AT NIBC, WELCOMES TWO CLOSE CONTACTS: THERA GERRITSEN, CCO OF STATER AND MENNO LUITEN, CCO OF DE HYPOTHEKER. WE COULD SAY THEY’RE OLD ACQUAINTANCES. THE HISTORY BETWEEN NIBC AND STATER GOES BACK QUITE SOME TIME; IN 2017, THE BANK AND THIS SERVICE PROVIDER CELEBRATED THEIR TWENTY-YEAR COLLABORATION. AND NIBC HAS BEEN WORKING WITH DE HYPOTHEKER FOR NEARLY 15 YEARS. ALTHOUGH MENNO HAS ONLY BEEN WITH DE HYPOTHEKER FOR A YEAR, HE HAS KNOWN NIBC FOR MUCH LONGER.THEIR DISCUSSION IS FOCUSED ON THE DEVELOPMENTS IN THE MORTGAGE MARKET. “WE ARE SEEING THAT CONSUMERS WANT MORE AND MORE PERSONAL CONTROL.”

Michel: “NIBC began providing mortgages in the mid-90s (white label, meaning not under the NIBC brand). Since then, the mortgage market has changed dramatically. What are the major changes in your view?”

THERA: “The key development we have experienced as a service provider is the increasing need for consumers to take control. The consumer is more critical and more present. We have mainly worked behind the scenes, acting as a kind of administrative office. We still don't have any contact with consumers, but we support lenders so they can provide their clients with the right data and information.”

MENNO: “For me, one of the most important changes is that there is clearly an increased focus on duty of care, which is a very positive development for consumers. The abolition of the mortgage broker commission in 2013 also had a major impact. Choosing a lender became a much more objective matter. Lastly, I’ve seen an increase in the number of providers over the last five years, which means a lot more competition. Just after the credit crisis, the market was mainly dominated by the three major banks in the Netherlands, which negatively affected prices, processes and product conditions. I think the increased competition has been hugely beneficial.”

Michel: “Indeed, alongside the traditional providers, such as banks, there are now more non-banking providers such as the so-called regiepartijen or mortgage funds.”

MENNO: “I'm glad about that. The newer providers and mortgage funds are often a thorn in the side of the larger providers, which creates better market forces. Prices are falling, margins are getting smaller, steps are being taken in the application process and product conditions are improving considerably. These are very favourable developments, both for the consumer and the market, and they wouldn't have come about without these mortgage funds.”

NIBC DIRECT

Under this label, NIBC offers understandable mortgages and online saving products without complex conditions. We stand out for our transparent, simple products and services with favourable conditions.

VASTGOED HYPOTHEEK

This mortgage enables small and larger investors to invest in properties that are rented or to be rented. The NIBC Vastgoed Hypotheek is for clients with corporate goals such as commercial rental property.

LOT HYPOTHEKEN

This is NIBC's newest label. A mortgage provider founded in 2020, Lot provides sustainable, hassle-free mortgages with favourable conditions. The sustainable aspect is reflected in digital communication and a free energy efficiency report. With the unique Lot sustainability mortgage, you can borrow an additional amount for energy-saving measures at a low interest rate. Lot has appealing interest rates. When the label was launched, Lot was the first mortgage provider to offer a 10-year interest rate lower than 1%, namely 0.99%.

Michel: “How did you experience the arrival of our consumer label NIBC Direct in 2013?"

THERA: 'That was an enormous change for us. It gave Stater its first mid-office proposition, which we built together. There were joint teams of employees from NIBC and Stater. It was a huge step at the front of the market. This way we were able to position our mid-office proposition.”

Michel: “And Menno, how does De Hypotheker experience that?”

MENNO: “In 2013, the effects of the credit crisis were still being felt and a small group of providers dominated the market in the Netherlands. The smaller, mostly foreign providers had disappeared, which meant the advisory channel had an urgent need for a fresh, new provider. That's where NIBC Direct came in. The timing was exactly right, which was why all the advisors jumped at the chance of working with NIBC. I do remember that it also caused some disruption to your processes.”

Michel: “I remember that too. Things didn't go exactly to plan.”

MENNO: “This also illustrates the need for such a provider, and now you're a fixed presence in the market. You score well on 30-year rates and your acceptance conditions are good. The process is also going very smoothly at the moment. We can clearly say we have a partnership with NIBC. We hold regular consultations and jointly explore how processes can be improved, which is greatly appreciated. I also receive feedback from colleagues that there's still room for improvement in terms of management, but you are not unique in the market in that respect.” THERA: “I also acknowledge the early growing pains we experienced. But I now see a mature organisation with a fully-fledged product. I also understand that collaborating with NIBC in particular adds a lot of value. Our relationship is an example of how we want to work with business partners because it is in working together that we achieve success.”

Michel: “In 2015, we started granting loans to housing investors through buy-to-let mortgages under the label Vastgoed Hypotheek. Did this also boost collaboration?”

THERA: “Definitely. You were our first client in that area as well. It was quite a complex project. As a service provider, we would be deliberately absent at the beginning of the process. But NIBC both challenged and helped us. In the end, it tremendously enriched our system and we started offering the service as standard.”

MENNO
“After the credit crisis, the market needed a fresh, new provider and that's where NIBC Direct came in!”

Michel: “The term regiepartij or 'mortgage fund' was mentioned earlier. Since 2016, NIBC has embraced this trend and introduced a hybrid strategy, in which we provide mortgages for both our own balance sheet and external investors. Was this transition noticeable in the market?”

MENNO: “The term mortgage fund doesn't mean anything to the average consumer who mainly looks at the conditions, process and prices. But thanks to your hybrid funding model, you have good rates across the table, where traditional banks generally do well on the short-term fixed-interest periods and the pure mortgage funds have favourable longer fixed-interest periods. And that is something both an advisor and a client would notice, but they’re not concerned with what happens behind the scenes.”

THERA
“Stater and NIBC always encourage each other, which results in great collaboration!”

Michel: “That's great to hear. Consumers don't need to know that's going on under the bonnet. As long as the car drives perfectly! And that's why Lot was created at the start of this year. It's a mortgage service that allows us to provide the consumer with even better and faster service.”

MENNO: “Quite a few new labels have appeared on the market in recent years and they are being scrupulously examined. As far as Lot is concerned, I'm getting good feedback from colleagues about the process. Lot's speed and sustainability are very much appreciated.”

THERA: “In fact, it was due to the speed of the processes that Stater had to find new working methods and procedures. Our employees also had to get used to that. It’s really about the speed, but this too ultimately appears to have been a success.”

Michel: “This has been a great opportunity to reflect. What future developments do you expect, and what's your own challenge in all of this?”

MENNO: “Clearly, the IT processes in the mortgage landscape are changing. You now have robo-advisors, big data and algorithms. But it's vital that the information is interpreted correctly is essential. Digitalisation in the mortgage landscape makes it easier for the consumer, but we are convinced that personal advice is the key. That is the strength of consultancy organisations such as De Hypotheker. We think it is important to give personal attention and financial advice to customers. And we'll continue to do that in the future.”

THERA: “Above all, we want to standardise our platform, but each party needs to be able to more or less maintain its own direction and brand. Moreover, we want to do more at the front end, while we also face many challenges in the back office, such as cyber security.”

Michel: “If you were the boss of NIBC for one day, what decision would you make?”

Menno laughs provocatively: “Hahaha, I would start by creating a priority lane for De Hypotheker. But seriously, what I'd change is the acceptance process. The current process among mortgage lenders is outdated. It has been the same for half a century, while so much has changed in society. We still assess risks by looking to the past. If only we could start assessing risks by looking at a client's future. We would have to start with a blank canvas and explore how we would do that using modern scientific methods.”

Michel: “And you, Thera, what if you were the first female CEO of NIBC?”

THERA: “I would be honoured, of course. But I would be more outspoken. I would use Lot's marketing strategy more regularly and show who we are and what we can do. I would also embark on an adventure abroad with Stater.”