David Hyman, the CEO of the newly merged Lendi Group, speaks to The Adviser about what’s next for the Aussie and Lendi brands under the new Lendi Group.
On Tuesday (4 May), it was announced that the merger between major brokerage Aussie and online loan platform Lendi had officially finalised, with the Lendi Group coming into being.
Speaking to The Adviser following the merger, the CEO of the newly merged group, David Hyman, revealed that while the ACCC had greenlit the merger in March, the transaction only completed at 2.30pm on Monday afternoon (3 May).
According to the group CEO, the new Lendi Group aims to “bring together two [mortgage] businesses that are at the top of their game in their respective part of the markets” into one, with both the Aussie brand and the Lendi brand remaining in market but moving to adopt more of the Lendi technology.
The Lendi Group now comprises three business divisions:
Lendi Group, which also owns and operates the Domain Home Loans brand, now employs approximately 1,800 people, including approximately 1,200 Aussie brokers.
Mr Hyman noted that Lendi currently has an employee model (with Lendi home lead specialists), as well as a self-employed model (with Lendi home loan consultants), but will “seek to bring those channels in line with the Aussie channels over time”.
“Ultimately, under the distribution division, we’ll be operating the two brands in market through multiple channels… You can access a Lendi Home Loan specialist or Lendi Home Loan consultant through the Lendi brand and you can access an Aussie broker, a senior Aussie broker or a franchisee, through the Aussie brand,” he said.
Moving to the Lendi platform
However, Mr Hyman explained that one of the key points of focus for the new group will be moving all parts of the distribution division onto the same platform.
Mr Hyman explained: “We've spent tens of millions of dollars building the Lendi platform, and the ability to deliver that to customers and brokers alike is significant...
“Brad [Cramb] and Sebastian [Watkins] will be working very hand-in-hand together as we work through the plan to roll the Lendi platform out, in steps, to integrate those two parts of the business into the ultimate distribution division.”
According to Mr Hyman, an “internal, consultative process” is now taking place, with approximately 100 people in the product and technology team working to identify the “various permutations as they relate to Aussie brokers and franchisees, and how [Lendi Group] might need to adapt processes and system functionality”.
“Off the back of that, ultimately, we will be looking to deliver a technology rollout plan that will be phased over the next couple of years,” he said.
The Lendi Group CEO continued: “If we fast forward to the future where we’ve rolled the Lendi platform out to the Aussie brand (whether that’s 12/24/36 months), that will mean we will be able to deliver an omni-channel experience to the Aussie customers.
“So, if you are a customer and you want to start [your mortgage journey] in store, you’ll still be able to do that. But you will now be fully supported by the Lendi platform powering that experience. It will still be Aussie branded, and you’ll be able to interact in store, but if you get 60 per cent of the way and you need to, for example, have your significant other upload their ID, they’ll get an SMS with a login to the platform and they’ll be able to continue that process online.
“And the same thing will apply to online customers. If you’re an online customer looking for Aussie, you’ll be able to start your Aussie experience online. And we’ll be able to work with you on the platform to then determine when that [process] kicks out to be in store [instead of online],” he continued.
“In a ‘clicks-to-bricks’ approach, we’ll be able to take those online customers and direct them into a store experience, whether that’s in person, whether that’s via chat with the franchisee/broker in store, or one of the hundreds of Aussie brokers around the country.”
He continued: “So, in whichever way, shape or form the customer drives the experience, it will be truly omni-channel.”
According to Mr Hyman, while the team is currently “focused on just understanding the problems and then using that to drive what the rollout looks like”, for now it is “very much business-as-usual but with the added benefit of collaboration and best practice sharing”.
“As we roll the platform out to brokers and customers alike, we think that the paradigm will certainly shift and propositions will be super strong for all the key stakeholders.”
Looking forward, Mr Hyman told The Adviser that the Lendi Group would also look to build on “Aussie’s world-class aggregation business”, including by offering Aussie brokers centralised services, such as loan administration, and compliance support.
According to the Group CEO, the platform already has “codified compliance” built into it covering responsible lending obligations and the best interests duty, and will be continually updated to cover “anything else that may come down down the track”.
“There’s a number of these things that we’re looking forward to augmenting, on top of Aussie’s (already-leading) offering in market,” he said.
“But, while there won’t be any changes tomorrow, as we roll the platform out, what that will ultimately deliver to Aussie brokers (whether they’re a new broker or an existing broker), is all the benefits that come with that.”
[Related: Aussie-Lendi merger officially completes]
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.
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