MoneyPlace CEO Stuart Stoyan is banking on Liberty’s broker relationships and funding capabilities to execute an ambitious strategy for the widespread distribution of personal loans through the third-party channel.
Few marketplace lenders have been able to successfully crack into the Australian broker market. Yet peer-to-peer lenders, fintech players and alternative online funders offering personal or SME loans are now a well-established feature of the Australian lending landscape.
According to KPMG, Australia has overtaken Japan as the second-largest alternative finance market in the Asia-Pacific region, growing by 53 per cent in one year to US$609 million ($774 million) in 2016.
While home loans are the mainstay for mortgage brokers, Liberty CEO James Boyle believes the timing has never been better for brokers to add a consumer loan offering.
“There has never been a time when good customer outcomes have been in more focus,” Mr Boyle told The Adviser. “Brokers reach out to their customers and do check-ups to see if there is anything they can do to help them manage their finances and obtain better outcomes. To do that effectively, they need different tools in their toolkit.
“A mortgage is great if you’re buying a house, but you may not necessarily want to remortgage if you are doing a renovation or consolidating some debt.”
Liberty on Wednesday announced that it had acquired online marketplace lender MoneyPlace for an undisclosed sum. MoneyPlace founder and chief executive Stuart Stoyan said that the lender has spent the past six months working with individual brokers, aggregators and larger broker businesses to develop its third-party proposition. The company accredited over 100 brokers over the period.
“That was intentionally done at a smaller scale because we wanted to refine the proposition,” Mr Stoyan said. “We have designed our processes with the broker in mind. We respect the relationship a broker has with their customer.
“I expect that, in the next 12 months, we will have touched every broker that is part of the Liberty network around personal lending and hopefully have successful referrals from those brokers. With Liberty’s support, I see that as a pretty achievable goal.”
The CEO outlined that the lending platform has been designed “specifically for brokers” and can provide a personalised, indicative rate in two minutes, with a full application ready to lodge in 10 minutes.
“We are bringing a consumer lending proposition to the market that is made for brokers. We have seen one in two Australian mortgage borrowers now going to a broker. We are expecting to have similar penetration in the personal lending space,” Mr Stoyan said.
The MoneyPlace founder said that it has been interesting to see how brokers have integrated a personal loan product into their offering. For example, some have been able to help existing mortgage customers finance a small renovation or consolidate debt, while others have employed a dedicated loan writer to manage demand.
The CEO said: “We have seen some mid-tier brokerages that are able to refer the personal loan opportunities to one person in the team who processes all of those applications. They have become the consumer lending specialist of the group and develop expertise in that area.”
MoneyPlace’s proprietary technology reportedly uses 10,000 data points to give consumers a personalised interest rate. Once approved, the funds are available within 24 hours.