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Non-bank lender expands leadership team

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Annie Kane 7 minute read

A non-bank lender has appointed three new executive general managers to support its growth and “further strengthen its executive ranks”.

La Trobe Financial has today announced three new executive general manager (GM) appointments as it looks to grow and “rebalance” the market share between banks and non-banks.

Effective immediately, La Trobe Financial has announced that it has appointed Luke Jones as executive GM, head of resi operations, Ron Dunbar as executive GM, head of commercial, and Michelle Bannister, executive GM, head of distribution.

The appointments come as the lender reportedly focuses on “market opportunities following the retreat by the major banks from several lending segments”.


New head of distribution

Michelle Bannister, who has been a “distribution leader” for 23 years and a BDM, has held senior roles in both credit and sales during her career. She will now lead the dedicated 30-strong national BDM team.

La Trobe Financial’s vice president, head of major clients, Steve Lawrence, stated: “Michelle’s performance and track record of delivering for her clients and her colleagues is outstanding. Michelle is a great exponent of our company ethos of putting ‘others before self’.

“We look forward to Michelle leading our 30 BDM national distribution team as executive GM with the 3,000 loan brokers we deal with across Australia.”

“This appointment demonstrates our ongoing commitment to the third-party channel notwithstanding the potential impact of recommendations of the Hayne royal commission on broker remuneration,” he said.


‘We do not intend to make any preemptive changes to our broker remuneration model’

Mr Lawrence continued: “We are committed to continuing to assist quality brokers provide the best products for their customers, and we do not intend to make any preemptive changes to our broker remuneration model before Treasury and government has had an opportunity to fully consider and reflect on the royal commission recommendations.

“We are listening to our loan customers who support the present model of lenders paying fees to brokers for the valuable services the brokers provide to their customers,” Mr Lawrence said.

New head of commercial

Commercial credit analyst Ron Dunbar, who recently joined La Trobe Financial, has been appointed executive GM, head of commercial.

Mr Dunbar has over 30 years of experience in the banking and finance industry, including a 14-year career with Challenger, where he was the national lending manager.

He will now lead and support the 30-strong commercial credit underwriting team alongside other senior commercial underwriters such as Gary Skelton, Mark Hood, John Mallon, Bart McKay and Nick Watson.

La Trobe Financial chief lending officer Cory Bannister said: “We are delighted to have Ron join our team as an executive GM, his exceptional knowledge of commercial credit makes him a valuable addition to what is a strong performing asset class for us.

“We will continue to broaden our commercial product footprint in 2019 and Ron will play a major role in executing on that strategy in Australia largest team of experienced commercial underwriters for any non-bank.”

New head of residential operations

Meanwhile, former credit manager Luke Jones – who has worked at Challenger and Westpac and was also formerly a mortgage broker himself – has been with the non-bank lender since 2010 and has now been appointed executive GM, head of residential operations.

Mr Bannister commented: “Luke displays a passion for his broker and borrower clients, leaving no stone unturned. Having walked in their shoes professionally for a number of years, Luke brings a highly valuable customers’ voice into our business. Luke will make a fantastic executive GM for the residential underwriting team of 70 staff.”

Bev Christou, vice president and head of HR, concluded: “[T]hese appointments show the true depth and calibre of people that we have at La Trobe Financial.

“Our staff are our greatest asset and together we are helping customers achieve their dreams of financial independence and improving the communities in which they live by lending over $4 billion per year to the Australian public.”

The appointments come amid a period of growth for the non-bank lender, following its December 2017 partnership with New York-based alternative asset manager Blackstone. It has since grown to have more than $7 billion in assets under management, 320 staff, and lending of $400 million per month in loans to both residential and commercial borrowers. 

La Trobe Financial is expected to make further announcements shortly.

[Related: Rise of the non-banks]

Non-bank lender expands leadership team
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Annie Kane

Annie Kane

Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.

As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts. 

Email Annie at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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