Bankwest deploys digital verification tool for mortgage applicants

WA-based CBA subsidiary Bankwest has rolled out a stop-gap electronic identification (eID) solution for new home loan applicants, allowing brokers to verify customer identities swiftly and remotely amid coronavirus restrictions.
 

The electronic verification of identity (VOI) solution, accessible through any smart device, follows the lender’s decision to accept digital submissions of its identity verification and privacy consent forms for new and existing customers.

Through the new eID system, customers will no longer be required to visit a Bankwest branch or Australia Post outlet for identity checks, thus completing the bank’s digital homebuying toolkit following the launch of its e-signing service in August 2019.

In a statement, Ian Rakhit, Bankwest’s GM third party, commended mortgage brokers for “helping people find a place to call home” during the Covid-19 uncertainty whilst citing eID as a means for the bank to offer support.

“We want brokers and customers to know we’re open for business and this solution sends that message loud and clear, potentially delivering an even faster home buying experience,” Rakhit said, highlighting Bankwest’s ambition to be Australia’s “best broker bank”.

Speaking with FST Media, a Bankwest representative confirmed the eID solution was developed in partnership with Equifax. Collaborations have also been established with HomeTrack and Core Logic for mortgage valuations, Docusign for digital signing, and NextGen for lodgement of broker originated applications.

Bankwest clarified that the eID tool will serve only as a temporary fix, the continued use of which would be determined “in due course” once Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

The bank further noted that mortgage documents will still require physical signatures on paper copies, as per relevant Land Title Office requirements.

Bankwest’s eID rollout follows similar measures taken by fellow lenders, including NAB and ME Bank, who have also adopted remote VOI systems in response to Covid-19 shutdowns.

The lenders’ decision to switch on digital onboarding is in lockstep with guidance from global money laundering and terrorist financing watchdog the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), which has encouraged the adoption of digital VOI where possible to reduce the risk of Covid-19 transmission.

FATF, in a statement, urged the “fullest use of responsible digital customer onboarding” by banks and financial services providers, including simplified customer due diligence where risks of financial crime were sufficiently low.

The international watchdog further directed financial institutions to its recently published Guidance on Digital ID, outlining the potential of trustworthy digital ID systems to improve security, privacy, and customer convenience for remote onboarding, whilst also mitigating ML/TF risks.

FATF’s full Covid-19 response statement and digital identity guidelines can be accessed here.