AFG has announced that it will be introducing asset finance options to its suite of commercial finance products on its new business platform.
The AFG Business platform was launched earlier this year to provide brokers with the analytics and technology required to offers small business owners with a range of finance options.
Currently, the platform offers access to a range of unsecured lenders, self-managed super funds, debtor finance and a range of commercial finance products.
As of next month, the platform will also offer asset finance products (both vehicle and equipment finance).
Speaking to The Adviser about the new offering, AFG CEO David Bailey said: “We’re expecting final testing to be completed in the last week of July, with a soft roll-out in early August. We will start off with two asset finance lenders but will grow very quickly to five.”
Mr Bailey continued: “It is similar to what the AFG Business proposition is with commercial loans or commercial mortgages; it will provide that concept of choice in one spot for brokers to select an equipment finance product for their clients.”
The AFG CEO added that the decision to build asset finance options into the platform came off the back of growing demand and represented a significant opportunity for brokers and would bring further choice and competition to the market.
The CEO said: “Our business has always been about competition and providing choice to the consumer and to the end market. This development is an efficient means of delivering to brokers that choice and competition for the consumer.”
Commercial BDM hires
The aggregator has recently completed a series of AFG Business training sessions for brokers and has developed a series of webinars, learning pathways and tools to support brokers in this area.
AFG also told The Adviser that, aside from expanding the AFG Business platform, it was also supporting finance brokers with commercial finance by bringing in additional resources.
AFG has recently hired four new commercial business development managers (BDMs) across the country and established a dedicated AFG help desk to assist brokers that wish to diversify into business lending.
The new commercial BDMs are:
Mr Bailey commented that he was pleased to hire the four new BDMs and three new help desk staff.
He told The Adviser: “The idea with the commercial BDMs is to work closely with our state-based sales officers to help increase the knowledge set of our existing broker base around the commercial proposition.
“These BDMs are specifically targeting to get brokers to use the platform.”
The major aggregator has been increasingly focused on finance broking, having not only rolled out the new AFG Business platform earlier this year but also acquiring a strategic interest in commercial lender Thinktank.
In April, it was revealed that AFG had entered into a binding agreement to make a strategic investment of 30.4 per cent (fully diluted) in the commercial property lender for $10.9 million in cash consideration.
As part of the strategic investment, it will distribute a white label commercial property product through its network of brokers.
Speaking of the move at the time, AFG CEO David Bailey said: “Our strategic investment in Thinktank represents the next evolutionary step for AFG to diversify its earnings base.
“The ongoing success of AFG Home Loans and the introduction of AFG Business are important contributors to the future growth of AFG.
“It makes sense to participate further in an asset class that we are comfortable with — both directly through the white label opportunity and indirectly through our shareholding to generate further earnings for AFG.”
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