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Virgin Money broadens distribution footprint

by Reporter6 minute read

Virgin Money has expanded the availability of its home loan offering, after signing a new partnership with mortgage aggregator FAST.

Earlier this year, it was revealed that aggregator PLAN Australia would be exclusively offering its members the Reward Me Home Loans (both fixed rate and variable), which offers customers Velocity Frequent Flyer Points on settlement each month and on specific anniversaries.

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However, just three months after entering the Australian mortgage market, the company has broadened its distribution footprint to FAST, in line with its decision to distribute widely through the third-party channel.

Speaking to The Adviser, Virgin Money Australia's GM for lending, cards and deposits Johnny Lockwood said that the home loan offering was “always planned to be a staged rollout”, but that PLAN Australia was always the “first pick”.

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He said: “PLAN Australia were our first pick to launch with, and they’ve been an excellent partner. We have between 500 and 600 accredited brokers through PLAN and that’s translating into some pretty pleasing applications.

“The business we’re getting is national, it’s not just from one or two states, and we’ve had good feedback from customers, who’ve said they’ve been really happy with the service they’ve been getting through them.”

Mr Lockwood added: “We’ve got a couple of months under our belt now and they’ve helped us get here and enabled us to expand.

“FAST was one of the ones we had on our partner list so we've just opened the doors with them, and there are good synergies there, being part of the Advantedge group. But, it really comes down to them being an organisation that shares Virgin Money's commitment to simplify money and delivering great customer experience.”

According to Mr Lockwood, the partnership with FAST forms part of the brand’s “ambitious growth plans”, which include the introduction of more mortgage broker partnerships, “together with, potentially, direct origination over the next year”.

FAST CEO Brendan Wright welcomed the addition of Virgin Money to its lending panel, saying: “Since our inception, we have worked hard to build strong relationships with multiple lenders to deliver a strong and diverse lending panel to brokers.

“Well-known across the world for its novel approach and popular customer rewards program, we are excited to bring Virgin Money to our brokers.”

Virgin Money accreditation sessions for FAST brokers are taking place throughout August and September.

Double Velocity Point offering

As well expanding the accessibility of the home loans, Virgin Money has also announced that it is doubling the number of Velocity Frequent Flyer Points new borrowers can earn at settlement.

Customers who apply for Reward Me Home Loans between 15 August and 31 October, and settle by 28 February 2017, will earn 20,000 Velocity Points for every $100,000 borrowed at settlement.

This is in addition to its standard offering of 1,000 points per month for each loan split, plus 30,000 bonus points every three years.

According to Virgin Money, this means that a borrower taking out a $400,000 mortgage could earn enough points over 10 years to fly a family of four from Sydney to Los Angeles and back.

Customers could also potentially earn more points if they take up the loan in tandem with Virgin Money’s credits cards or insurance offerings.

Mr Lockwood told The Adviser that although the Velocity Points are “part and parcel” of the home loans, the interest rates are “one of the most important considerations for borrowers”.

As such, he said the brand was “pretty pleased to pass on the RBA’s August rate cut in full”, meaning that the loans are now available at a variable rate of 3.69 per cent per annum for owner-occupiers.

Mr Lockwood added: “Having a home loan doesn’t mean that holiday dreams go on hold.

“Our competitive interest rates could help our Reward Me customers pay down their home loans faster, while also allowing them to benefit from earning Velocity Points that can be turned into flights, accommodation, and more.”

[Related: Virgin unveils major lead generation platform for brokers]

Virgin Money broadens distribution footprint
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