Eighteen years ago, ANZ took its first steps into the franchising industry - offering an opportunity for individuals to start, run and grow their own business by operating as authorised representatives under the bank’s credit licence.
Today, ANZ has a unique position in the market as the only major Australian bank with a franchised proposition.
After measured growth in both the number of franchisees and in contribution to the bank in its formative years, recent growth in this channel has been extremely rapid. ANZ Mobile Lending now extends to more than 160 territories across Australia with around 140 business owners and a network of 430 accredited lenders supported by 50 head office staff and field teams.
Although larger businesses exist in the industry, ANZ’s Mobile Lending proposition punches well above its weight in terms of the overall success for the bank – consistently contributing 15 per cent of all home loan flows into the bank with bold aspirations of increasing to 20 per cent over the next two years.
Stepping in to lead the Mobile Lending business almost two years ago, I was keen to immerse myself in an already well performing business. I was relatively confident in my abilities to add value as a leader however I quickly realised the journey ahead would be more complex than previously thought.
ANZ Mobile Lending is a fascinatingly complex, highly charged business brimming with inspirational small business owners. Every day brings a fresh challenge - from regulatory conversations on franchisee governance, engaging with industry peers on Franchising Code obligations or collaborating with internal stakeholders such as Marketing or Customer Service Operations – in ensuring we have a compelling proposition for our franchisees in market. And ensuring our staff are engaged and fulfilled.
Our customers are also quite unique in that many of them have been with ANZ and their aligned Mobile Lender from the beginning.
Naturally, those longstanding relationships contribute to an ever-improving customer experience, one that is often reflected in our regular customer feedback.
What has been, and continues to be, the most inspiring aspect for me is the opportunity we provide for enthusiastic and passionate small business owners across the country. I often hear stories of how ANZ Mobile Lending has provided an unrivalled platform to build customer-centric, family-owned businesses which ultimately build financial wellbeing. In fact, many ANZ staff eventually take the leap into business ownership through ANZ Mobile Lending.
Owning your career
Lorenc Franja, franchisee of our Carlton territory in Melbourne, spent a decade at ANZ across a range of customer facing, frontline and sales leadership roles, with the most recent being Area Manager for Small Business Banking at the flagship St. Kilda Road Business Centre.
Lorenc says he was broadly familiar with ANZ’s Mobile Lending proposition and his tenure with the bank gave him insight into the cultural values-led infrastructure that underpins ANZ, something many other franchisees have never experienced.
“Though I had always harboured an insatiable thirst to run my own business, I also felt loyalty to the brand which had supported my career to date,” he recalls. “Embarking into small business ownership as a franchisee provided an ongoing connection to ANZ and an opportunity to repay that loyalty.”
Lorenc said he wanted to pursue the opportunity to build his own completely autonomous business and, in time, provide financial support to create the life he wanted for his family.
“Throughout my eight roles at ANZ, I developed an acute understanding that banks, on the whole, were broadly similar in product offering. Any differentiation in the experience for customers rested with the service or experience provided by the individual.
“I knew customer experience was - and of course remains - a priority for all financial institutions. But with large numbers of employees who evolve and progress over time, providing a relationship-first model to every customer proved challenging.”
At that time, Lorenc’s belief was that in running a small business he could be more agile, flexible and focus 100 per cent of his time and effort on his strategic direction. That same customer-first strategy has infused its way through his entire team.
“My mantra is to provide a world-class customer experience at every opportunity and let the rest fall into place,” he explains. “I often reflect on my time at ANZ and how each role prepared me for life as a Mobile Lender. Whether it be the leadership roles that taught me how to lead, coach and inspire our wider team, or the technical roles that built requisite credit expertise, each played a critical role in our team’s success.”