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The evolution of specialist lending

by Brendan O'Donnell11 minute read
The Adviser

Specialist lending is growing to be an unstoppable force in the mortgage broking industry. Liberty Network Services managing director Brendan O’Donnell explains how this space has transformed over time, and how the lender is helping brokers tap into this relatively new revenue stream.

The specialist lending market has changed dramatically since the GFC. Instead of seeing only a few brokers offering speciality lending solutions, today we are seeing a much broader broker base embracing diversification – and thriving as a result. For Liberty, it’s been about discovering new gaps and expanding the boundaries within the prime and specialty lending space. For example, Liberty offers a 95 per cent plus cap LMI loan (above 97 per cent LVR) for applicants with non-genuine savings. We continue to expand broker thinking about what constitutes “prime”.

Liberty further applies its expertise across a numbers of asset classes including home loans, motor finance and commercial mortgages. As a result, we continue to master the speciality lending space while building a reputation of providing competitive products in the more traditional markets. This has resulted in over 185,000 satisfied customers by advancing well over $15 billion in funds and growing our network of Liberty advisers – now over 80 today.

Writing specialist loans – hard or easy?

When you are fully supported throughout the entire loan process – it’s easy. That is why Liberty has such a high rate of repeat business from our business partners. The feedback we receive from brokers is that our service levels reflect well on our business partners in the eyes of clients.


As there is no typical borrower, Liberty always looks at ways it can help its brokers and business partners. We offer superior customer service and support to guide our brokers through even the trickiest deals. That, plus the added benefit of access to our highly skilled, experienced and knowledgeable sales and underwriting teams, means more communication and a better chance to help their customers.

With Liberty Network Services, our leading technology, Spark, provides our advisers with an advantage when tackling a tricky deal. Spark leads our advisers through the process by virtually holding their hand, prompting the next steps, information requirements, compliance and so on. It makes things easy and intuitive across the entire spectrum of prime and custom applications where lead management, customer management, loan assessment, submission and settlement are paramount. They also have access to a panel of lenders providing a full range of mortgage options for customers.

The opportunity

Speciality lending offers a highly lucrative revenue stream as well as a great opportunity for any broking business to look great in front of clients. We are seeing more brokers than ever looking to expand and provide a full service of finance solutions to customers. For example, consider the self-employed sector, which has a large percentage of start-ups and businesses looking to purchase a vehicle for personal or business use – this is just one example of the types of clients who may require a more specialised approach. Liberty has one of the broadest and deepest lending appetites of mainstream and speciality lenders. As well as having a broad range of home loan and motor vehicle finance products, Liberty also offers award-winning commercial and SMSF lending products. For brokers wishing to grow or start a new business, Liberty Network Services offers a broad and deep service proposition that is hard to beat.

Broker support

A broker with a client looking for a specialised solution should demand leading products, compliance and service from their lender. Ongoing communication is vital, and direct access to the decision-maker such as the underwriter can be the difference between getting a deal across the line or not. Liberty prides itself in holding the hand of brokers faced with a specialised deal, whether it is their first time or fifth time.

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