the adviser logo

The right solution: Non-Bank Product of Choice 2023

by Annie Kane24 minute read

With so much choice out there, it can be hard to know what product is leading the way. So, to understand which non-bank product brokers most value, we asked them! Annie Kane reviews the results from the Product of Choice: Non-Banks Survey 2023

Which non-banks have the best products for your clients? To find out, we asked brokers about the non-bank lenders they most favoured for their clients’ residential, business, and personal finance needs.

The 2023 Product of Choice: Non-Banks Survey polled brokers from across the industry between 15 and 28 April 2023, asking them to evaluate and rank non-bank lender products.

This year’s survey asked brokers to rank non-bank lenders across 12 different product categories:

  1. Prime owner-occupied loans
  2. Near-prime loans
  3. Investor loans
  4. Specialist loans
  5. Personal loans
  6. Short-term loans
  7. SME loans over $250,000
  8. SME loans under $250,000
  9. SMSF loans
  10. Commercial mortgages
  11. Debtor finance loans
  12. Equipment and asset finance loans

Once again, the results revealed that non-banks have evolved from being specialists in one particular area to having a range of products that delight brokers and their clients.

Pepper, for example, was once again ranked particularly well by brokers, taking out the first position across three product segments this year: Near-prime loans, Specialist loans, and Equipment and Asset Finance.

Liberty Financial and Prospa also both took out multiple awards. Liberty was named the lender with the best Prime Owner-Occupied loans and SMSF loans while Prospa made a clean sweep in the SME loan categories (SME loans under $250,000 and SME loans over $250,000).

For the second year running, La Trobe Financial topped the ranking for Commercial mortgages, while ScotPac was also found to be the non-bank lender with the best Debtor finance offering once again.

Meanwhile, Firstmac was ranked the best of the non-banks for its range of Investor loans, while personal lender Plenti secured the top spot for the Personal loans category.

And a relative newcomer made it into the ranking this year, with bridging finance specialist Bridgit — which was founded in 2021 by mortgage broker Nick Jacobs and capital markets specialist Aaron Bassin — named the non-bank lender with the best Short-term loans.


The Non-Bank Product of Choice Survey was conducted via an online survey of mortgage and finance brokers from The Adviser’s mailing list.

Between 15 and 28 April 2023, respondents were asked to nominate who they believed were the best non-bank lenders offering products for each of the 12 given categories.

For each nomination, the top-ranked lender was allocated 3 points, the second position was allocated 2 points, and the third lender received 1 point.

The points were then tallied up and the lender with the most points was ranked first.

Hear from the top-ranked non-bank lenders

In the following Q&As, we catch up with the top-ranked non-bank lenders from each category to find out what they believe makes their products so popular with brokers.


1st place: Near-prime loans, Specialist loans, and Asset and equipment finance

Coming top of three product segments this year was non-bank lender Pepper Money — prized by brokers for its near-prime, specialist, and asset and equipment loans. We speak to Pepper Money chief executive Mario Rehayem to find out what makes the lender so popular

Q. What do you think makes your products so popular with brokers?

There are five keywords that consistently emerge in our broker feedback verbatim — fast, flexible, easy, consistent, and transparent.

This doesn’t happen overnight; we start by listening and understanding what matters most to our customers and brokers.

Across the business, we practice ideation and an open dialogue with our extensive network of aggregators, white label partners, brokers, and customers to help us understand the challenges being felt in the market. Starting here helps us to ensure our lending options meet the unique needs of brokers and their customers — filling the gaps where other lenders fall short.

We also undergo extensive third-party research and data analysis to uncover pain points or key milestones for segments in the market that require a flexible but real-life approach, for example, those customers who have endured a life event and no longer meet bank lending criteria.

With over two decades of rich insights and strong relationships with our network, Pepper Money has made non-bank lending easier than ever. We’re getting sharper, smarter, and better every day in our ability to deliver automated decisioning for our customers and brokers. Our approach to innovation is underpinned by leveraging smart tech and our flexible credit policies to deliver a highly competitive loan experience across a range of options and borrower profiles.

All of this is brought to life through our industry-first and award-winning technology platforms, such as Pepper Product Selector and Pepper Resolve. Backed up with our strong BDM support and continual product development and diversification, it’s clear we are empowering more brokers to provide true value to their customers.

This year alone, we have experienced a significant increase in the number of brokers who have submitted a loan to Pepper Money for the first time. We’re also supporting more mortgage brokers to grow and diversify their business with other offerings such as commercial real estate and asset finance because we have stripped away the complexity.

While Pepper Money originates more loans than any other non-bank, there’s still room to grow. I don’t believe the ceiling is anywhere near in sight.

Keeping our finger on the pulse is crucial to continually improve our offering and providing tangible value to brokers and their customers.

On behalf of Pepper Money, I would like to thank all our brokers and business partners for their continued support and trust in our people, products, and processes.

Q. What are the main benefits of these products to borrowers?

Customers tell us and our brokers that they feel seen and heard. They appreciate how we always try to find a way to help. We research, we test, and our frontline people are on the ground listening to the voice of customer and voice of broker to inform our approach and product development. We are relentless in making sure that we are creating financial inclusion in every way we can, whether through mortgages, commercial real estate loans, or asset finance. This enables us to deeply understand our customers — not just at the touchpoints when they interact with us but through their real-life experiences behind those interactions.

Pepper Money has consistently tried to push the envelope with regards to products that satisfy the real-life needs of real customers. We want to make sure that our mission of helping people succeed is synonymous across everything that we do — in technology, product design, and customer service. We want to maximise the best possible outcome and the best service for our customers.

At Pepper Money, we never stand still and we’re consistently investing in new ways to help more customers and brokers succeed.


1st place: Short-term

A new entrant has taken the top spot for short-term loans this year, as bridging loan specialist Bridgit delights broker clients. We find out more about the proposition from head of distribution Stephen Doyle

Q. What do you think makes your bridging product so popular with brokers?

It was very early that the Bridgit team identified the importance of brokers and put a huge amount of effort into servicing the market. In doing so, our solution has had an extremely positive response and we are very proud of this recognition from our broker partners.

What makes us different is that we are a specialist in the bridging space and brokers now have a trusted and knowledgeable lender to engage with. Our product is tailored to the needs of the customer and our team is experts in bridging, making it much easier for brokers to engage with us and understand the bridging solution. We also have tech systems that complement our outstanding partnerships team so that we can streamline the bridging process. What was traditionally slow and long-winded is now simple.

But it’s not all about our product; we also understand the importance of service and education. We focus on educating our broker partners on the ins and outs of bridging finance, supporting them to understand how to identify, workshop, and qualify their clients’ bridging needs. This has allowed brokers to diversify their offerings and introduce new revenue streams into their business operation.

Q. What are the main benefits of these products to borrowers?

A home owner no longer has to wait for their property to sell to buy their dream home; they no longer have to worry about multiple moves and finding temporary living; they can buy before they sell to avoid these barriers that come with selling first.

Our product is also designed around the customer’s needs, with a flexible loan structure, including three months interest-free, no monthly repayments, and fair pricing. These features give customers peace of mind and the time to sell their home when they opt to buy before they sell.


1st place: Investor loans

Brokers said that Firstmac’s investor loan products were the best of the non-banks. Here, we catch up with Jake Sanders, Firstmac’s head of third-party sales, to find out what makes their offering different

Q. What do you think makes your investor loans so popular with brokers?

Firstmac has always been a lender of choice for investment loans because of our policies and approach towards investment lending.

We cut our teeth in the investment market from the early days. We believe that it’s a highly performing market segment. We have compelling lending policies that allow brokers to assist investors in achieving their desired goals.

We don’t believe that investor loans perform any worse than owner-occupied, so we have a favourable approach towards them. We understand that people want to create wealth by acquiring multiple investment properties and we help brokers facilitate that type of lending.

We understand investors better than most lenders and we give them greater flexibility to own multiple investment properties.

Along with our competitive interest rates, that means we have a very strong offering for brokers.

Q. What are the main benefits of these products to borrowers?

There are few things more frustrating for a borrower than knowing they could service a loan but will be rejected because of an arbitrary rule.

We have got very strong servicing for investors, giving them strong borrowing capacity. That can be seen in key policies. 

The debt-to-income ratio used by most banks is one example. Many lenders won’t lend money to a borrower if debt is more than a certain multiple of their income, which excludes many good borrowers.

At Firstmac, we do NOT use a debt-to-income ratio to determine serviceability.

As long as the deal services at a minimum of 1.00:1 NDI (net disposable income) level, we can consider the application. That’s one of the reasons that Firstmac’s serviceability is among the best in the market!


1st place: SME loans under $250,000 and SME loans over $250,000

Sweeping the board for SME loans this year was Prospa. We catch up with Prospa’s national sales manager Roberto Sanz to discuss what makes the non-bank’s business products so popular with brokers and their clients

Q. What do you think makes your SME products so popular with brokers?

At Prospa, our mission is to unleash the potential of every small business in Australia and New Zealand. We do this by working with our broker partners to ensure small businesses get the funding they need, when they need it.

Prospa is committed to providing market-leading lending solutions that are purpose-built for SMEs, with flexibility, speed, and support core to our customer promise. This commitment also extends to our network of 14,000 trusted brokers, accountants, and aggregator partners to deliver flexible funding solutions to their clients.

Our partners have been there alongside us since day one. As an extension of our team, we regularly seek feedback to further refine, improve, and build new products and features to ensure we meet the needs of all their clients. Our partners have always had — and will continue to have — the option to be involved as much or as little as they choose.

We are ‘customer obsessed’ and invest in creating a faster, better customer and partner experience. We do this by providing a range of educational and marketing resources to help our broker partners understand the various challenges impacting their SME customers, how to support them, and more easily diversify.

Q. What are the main benefits of these products to borrowers?

Since 2012, Prospa has provided more than $3.4 billion of funding to support the growth and operations of thousands of small businesses.

From day one, we aimed to give our customers an experience that is not just a little better but 10 times better. Prospa’s business lending specialists take the time to understand every small business and to get the full picture, so our customers can get the best funding solution possible to make business happen.

Prospa’s differentiation has long been our customer focus, our flexibility, and our speed, which is powered by our proprietary credit decision engine and supplemented by the Prospa team.


1st place: Prime owner-occupied loans and SMSF

Liberty Financial has been able to provide brokers with products that delight both the masses and those requiring a more specialised product. John Mohnacheff, group sales manager, outlines the benefits of its prime owner-occupied loans and its SMSF products

Q. What do you think makes your products so popular with brokers?

Liberty has remained dedicated to SMSF lending when others have pulled back, committed to supporting brokers to help customers interested in investing for their retirement. With a clear policy, a strong focus on compliance, and dedicated broker support throughout the loan process, it’s not surprising Liberty SuperCredit remains the first choice for many brokers assisting customers with LRBAs.

Our prime owner-occupied loan offering continues to be a competitive option with flexible features that help brokers meet the needs of more borrowers. One of many home loan solutions offered by Liberty, it provides more options for brokers to help borrowers reach their home ownership goals. We take the time to understand the needs of each customer and work together with brokers to help customers find their best fit.

Q. What are the main benefits of these products for borrowers?

In the current economic cycle, borrowers are seeking more flexible financial support. At Liberty, the flexibility and personalisation of our solutions are what really benefit borrowers and brokers alike. Our SMSF, prime owner-occupied, and broader range of loans are clear examples of our freethinking approach to lending.

Our unique Liberty SuperCredit product enables established SMSFs to invest in either residential or commercial property using their super. Liberty SuperCredit has no minimum contribution requirements and offers LVRs up to 90 per cent of the property value.

Our prime owner-occupied loans offer flexibility in both purpose and features. And with the ability to accept low deposits, non-standard income sources, and non-genuine savings, Liberty can help more customers get financial help.


1st place: Personal loans

Taking out the top spot for personal loans this year was Plenti. Nicki Olds, Plenti’s head of personal lending, explains what makes their loan products so popular

Q. Why do you think Plenti’s personal loans are so popular with the broker channel?

Brokers like working with Plenti because we consistently provide them with a fast, tech-powered experience that lets them get more done in their day.

Our flexible personal loan product is growing in popularity among brokers thanks to being a low-effort, high-reward process that helps them offer their clients finance for a wide range of purposes.

We’ve also placed a lot of emphasis on our technology and automation capabilities, so that brokers can enjoy a streamlined end-to-end digital experience. By implementing third-party integrations and automations, we’ve successfully scaled our efficiency in the decisioning and settlement processes without compromising consistency and accuracy.

Our market-leading broker portal also helps brokers help themselves, further speeding up the process of writing a loan with us. The easy and intuitive portal lets brokers self-service common tasks and offers live chat for those who need real-time assistance.

Of course, none of these things would matter without the people behind the products. Our national team of business development managers, relationship managers, and broker support representatives are highly responsive product experts who are ready to help brokers during any part of the process.

Q. What are the main benefits of your personal loans for borrowers?

For borrowers, I think the most appealing part of working with us is often the speed of the service they receive. We understand the time-sensitive nature of personal loans and borrowers can get the funds if they’re approved* in around 24 hours. This is all made possible because of our tech-powered processes, including an all-online experience and digital drawdown process.

Plenti offers competitive, personalised interest rates from one to seven years* and never charges early repayment fees*. Borrowers love that they can access their Borrower Portal anytime to make changes such as repayment date, debit account, loan reamortisation feature, and more.

*Current as at 22 May and subject to change without notice


1st place: Debtor finance loans

As one of the oldest non-banks to specialise in debtor finance solution, ScotPac knows a thing or two about helping SMEs with their cash flow needs. ScotPac chief executive Jon Sutton unpacks what he thinks makes its debtor finance solutions stand out

Q. What do you think makes your debtor finance products so popular with brokers?

ScotPac has the most flexible range of SME finance products in the market and the scale to deliver cost-effective solutions across a breadth of industries and business situations. We understand that time is the most precious asset that business owners have and that is why our team is there to support SME owners and their brokers every step of the way.

Brokers understand that partnering with ScotPac can help them assist more of their business clients in more situations than any other non-bank lender. Not only do brokers know that we will take the time to understand their clients’ situations and deliver the right solution quickly and easily, but they also know they will get a level of flexibility they won’t get from the banks.

ScotPac’s best-in-class Partner Portal, launched in 2022, is a must-use support tool for brokers. It provides a single landing place to source the right products, lodge and track applications, and communicate with current and prospective clients. It is backed by ScotPac’s leading business banking team that has a reputation for delivering outstanding results for brokers and their clients.

The fact that ScotPac is Australia’s largest and longest-standing non-bank lender gives brokers a level of comfort that other lenders can’t match. Across 35 years of specialist business lending, ScotPac has continually expanded its capabilities with a clear focus on supporting as many SMEs and brokers as we can. Our breadth of products means we can work with brokers to tailor solutions for their clients’ needs now and into the future, rather than following a cookie-cutter approach.

Q. What are the main benefits of these products to borrowers?

Borrowers love the fact that ScotPac’s products can deliver fast, flexible, and hassle-free working capital when they need it most and they know they have a finance partner they can rely on for the long term. The old saying that ‘cashflow is king’ has never been more relevant for Australian SMEs.


1st place: Commercial

For the second year in a row, La Trobe Financial was named the non-bank lender with the best commercial mortgages. We catch up with Cory Bannister, La Trobe Financial’s vice-president and chief lending officer to find out how they do it

Q. What do you think makes your commercial mortgages so popular with brokers?

It’s a combination of our people, who are highly experienced and accessible to brokers, along with our flexibility and product terms that make our commercial offering so attractive to brokers.

It starts with our national sales team, with each member well versed in both our residential and commercial lending policies; straight away convenience is ‘baked in’ to our commercial offering.

Similarly, we don’t make brokers jump through any additional or laborious hoops to begin writing commercial loans with us. If a broker has partnered with a major aggregator that is accredited with La Trobe Financial, that broker is automatically accredited to write all of our loan products, including commercial, SMSF, construction, and development finance.

This ease of use ensures our commercial product suite is simple to use for experienced commercial brokers and less daunting for a broker to begin enhancing their service proposition to new and existing clientele by way of expanding their knowledge of commercial loan options.

Q. What are the main benefits of these products to borrowers?

La Trobe Financial offers an appealing ‘set and forget’ commercial product, particularly as our maximum loan size (of $25 million) means we are one of few non-bank lenders able to stretch to assist blue-chip commercial property owners while also maintaining convenience for the borrower.

In a large number of cases, commercial loans set with major lenders contain regular and ongoing review clauses and covenants that means that each year and, in some cases, more regularly, key commercial loan ratios are reviewed for compliance, which may include a revaluation of the property to test the LVR threshold; a review of the interest cover ratio (ICR) to ensure the approved ratio is maintained; or a review of a borrower’s debt-to-income position. And this is just a sample of some common review items.

non bank product of choice p  vi fr


You need to be a member to post comments. Become a member for free today!
Read the latest issue of The Adviser magazine!
The Adviser is the number one magazine for Australia's finance and mortgage brokers. The publications delivers news, analysis, business intelligence, sales and marketing strategies, research and key target reports to an audience of professional mortgage and finance brokers
Read more