AFG welcomes Granite Home Loans to panel

AFG Head office

Australian Finance Group is today announcing the addition of a new lender onto the AFG panel. Granite Home Loans will join the panel with a new Self-Managed Super Fund (SMSF) product, making AFG’s one of the broadest residential lender panels in the Australian mortgage market.

Head of Sales & Distribution, Chris Slater engaged Granite Home Loans after seeking the feedback of AFG’s brokers. “We invited a core group of brokers from across the country to join an information session with Bridget Sakr and Yianni Socratous from Granite to see if there was interest.”

“Our brokers were clear they wanted AFG to continue building the panel and provide more options, so we are very pleased to be adding Granite’s SMSF product to the platform,” said Chris.

“In addition, AFG has a relationship with Bridget that goes back a long way and it’s great to be working with her again.”

“We’re extremely excited to be bringing our first product to the AFG Panel. Being a full service lender, I co-founded Granite to develop innovative products and processes to meet the needs of today’s borrowers and brokers.” Bridget said.

“We pride ourselves on service, offering a commitment to AFG brokers of 48 hour first touch, including a full assessment and issuing a tailored indicative offer. We’re soon launching a new Equity Keeper refi product to our partners, and look forward to re-releasing our No LMI Professional product to AFG when the market returns to some normality. Thanks to the team at AFG for the seamless onboarding, and I’m excited to be working closely with Mark and Chris again, and appreciate their ongoing support.”

“Delivering competition to the lending market is vital and has been central to AFG’s strategy since inception more than 25 years ago,” said Chris. “The addition of Granite to the panel confirms AFG’s commitment to expand the options available to customers of AFG brokers in the SMSF space.”

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AFG launches new client assistance calculator for brokers

AFG Head office

AFG has released a COVID-19 Action Plan Calculator to help brokers outline the options available to their customers if their circumstances have changed due to COVID-19.

AFG Head of Sales and Distribution Chris Slater explained the development of the tool: “We developed this tool for Brokers to help them have a more informed discussion with their customers whose circumstances have changed as a result of COVID-19.”

“Lenders are offering support to mortgage holders if they have suffered a loss of income due to COVID-19, however our brokers are telling us their clients need help to understand what changing the structure of their loan to arrangements like Interest Only or Hardship and what those alterations to their loan structure will mean long term.”

“To help our brokers have a more informed discussion around the different options available we’ve created a ‘COVID-19 Action Plan Calculator,” said Chris.

“The calculator enables a broker to demonstrate a clear picture to their clients of how their loan will look now and into the future based on a variety of options available from the lender.”

Some of the scenarios that can be run through the calculator include:

  • Paying the minimum loan repayment on a loan
  • Moving to Interest Only repayments
  • Changing the monthly loan amount to a preferred amount
  • Pausing repayments completely for a period and the impact that will have when repayments start again

The calculator provides a holistic view to the broker and customer of the potential impact each scenario would have on the loan balance, maturity date and monthly repayments.

The calculator is easy to use with editable fields and once a scenario is complete, the broker can save the sheet as a PDF and email or share via video call with their customer.

“The relationship between a broker and their customer continues to be strong and at times like this the broker’s ability to work with their customer and their understanding of lenders and the available options, are just as important as the assistance the broker provides a customer when considering a home loan choice.

“We encourage all mortgage holders affected by a loss of income due to COVID-19 to start the conversation with their broker and lender as soon as possible to find their way through the current situation.”

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AFG transitions to digital solution to support brokers and their clients

AFG Head office

As the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic continue to take hold, AFG has rolled out a digital offering to help brokers overcome some of the challenges disrupting business operations.

AFG Head of Sales and Distribution Chris Slater explained the move: “With this ever changing and fast-moving environment the verification of identity (VOI) and ‘knowing your customer’ process was one that needed a solution.

“It is vital to allow brokers and their clients to proceed with loan applications and still ensure the VOI is completed within the appropriate guidelines,” he said.

“To adapt to the current environment, we have introduced a remote Verification of Identity Solution to support brokers and their customers by implementing MSA National’s IDyou.

From 1 April 2020 AFG has enabled the use and acceptance of MSA National’s IDyou VOI mobile App for both in-person and remote verification of a customer’s identity. IDyou is a secure tool that provides an assisted approach to capturing all VOI data ensuring the correct information is held and that the quality of information meets compliance standards.

“This move is aligned with the new guidelines recently released by Australian Registrars’ National Electronic Conveyancing Council (ARNECC) to meet social distancing requirements.

“IDyou will be used by our brokers in conjunction with individual lender interview and VOI requirements. To support brokers and their customers during this time IDyou have waived their normal usage fee during the month of April for AFG brokers” said Chris.
MSA National’s CEO Ayhan Baba, said “We are excited to be supporting AFG’s growth. Our IDyou VOI App is fast, simple, secure and best of all can be done remotely. MSA is committed to supporting brokers during Covid-19 restrictions, to ensure they continue to deliver an experience that is convenient and sure to win the praise of customers.”

“For AFG, it has meant an update to our policies to enable VOI requirements to be completed by the broker and their clients through IDYou in this uncertain time,” he concluded.

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AFG appoints senior sales executive in NSW

AFG State Sales Manager David Vizza

AFG is strengthening its sales team with the appointment of David Vizza as State Sales Manager for New South Wales.

AFG National Manager Strategic Partners and Recruitment Them Lam announced David’s appointment today: “David has more than 10 years’ experience in the finance industry and we are thrilled to have him on board.

“David has a passion for helping his mortgage broking clients grow their businesses and achieve both their personal and financial goals. In recognition of this commitment David won the 2019 MFAA National Aggregator BDM of the Year Award and was a finalist in the 2019 Better Business Awards Best Aggregator BDM category. We have no doubt his depth of experience will be an incredible asset to the AFG team.

Prior to joining AFG David worked in a senior sales role at Finsure and has extensive lending experience from his time as a Business Development Manager at Bankwest.

David said he was looking forward to joining AFG in a time of rapid change in the industry. “I’m excited to join AFG to expand their vision that aggregators are no longer just a panel of lenders and a payment system for commissions. Instead, their value has, and continues to be, in being technology leaders, business coaches and educators.

“For the past 25 years, AFG has consistently provided value to its brokers through growing their businesses, simplifying complexities and providing a protective compliance framework that actually enables a broker’s business, rather than ‘ticking a box’.

“The industry is more sophisticated, and the role of an aggregator, more demanding than ever. AFG has always led from the front and by example, which suits my leadership style.

David joins Them’s high performing Sales team today.

2020 Finalists – Better Business Awards

Better Business Awards 2020

The Adviser announced their state-based finalists for the 2020 Better Business Awards. The awards celebrate the top performing brokers around the country and also the aggregator and lender BDMs who partner with their brokers to grow their businesses. Once again, AFG Brokers and AFG BDMs are represented in force amongst the finalists this year.

We owe the success of our business to the high performing brokers we work side-by-side with. We specialise in equipping our brokers with the technology, service and support to grow their businesses and perform at their peak.  It’s fantastic to see so many AFG brokers achieving outstanding results for their customers and their businesses.

It’s also fantastic to see our AFG team being recognised for the value they add to their broker’s businesses.

Congratulations to all! Check out the full list of finalists below:

QLD

Best Customer Service (Individual)
Zac Goodman, Mortar Finance

Best Newcomer
Zac Goodman, Mortar Finance
Ewan Ramsey, Ramsey Property Wealth

Rising Star
Zachary Goodman, Mortar Finance
Ewan Ramsey, Ramsey Property Wealth

Best Regional Broker
Nick Smith, Red10 Finance (Reedy Creek)

Best Independent Office (5 brokers or less)
Living Home Loans (Coolangatta)

WA

Best Aggregator BDM
Jia Jia Wong

Best Customer Service (Individual)
Michael Harris, The Perth Mortgage Specialist
Matthew Posselt, Elite Finance Australia
Narinder Singh, Indoz Finance Australia
Leonie Stratton, Boutique Finance Perth
Michelle Towner, Towner Finance

Best Newcomer
Michael Harris, The Perth Mortgage Specialist

Best Residential Broker
Adam Donald, Capita Finance Solutions
Warrick Greaves, Launch Finance
Matthew Posselt, Elite Finance Australia
Michelle Towner, Towner Finance

Mentor of the Year
Matthew Posselt, Elite Finance Australia

Rising Star
Daniel Cole, Capita Finance Solutions
Amber Nathan, Harken Finance
Narinder Singh, Indoz Finance Australia
Gareth Ward, Reward Financial Services Australia (WA)

Best Branded Office
Capita Finance Solutions (Leederville)

Best Customer Service (Office)
Elite Finance Australia (Perth)
Towner Finance (Winthrop)

Best Independent Office (5 brokers or less)
Harken Finance (Maylands)

SA

Best Customer Service (Individual)
Richard O’Grady, Rise High Financial Solutions
Evan Sourbis, Henley Home Loans

Mentor of the Year
Marissa Schulze, Rise High Financial Solutions

Best Customer Service (Office)
Rise High Financial Solutions (Prospect)

NSW

Best Aggregator BDM
Hannah Carter

Best Lender BDM (Non-Bank)
Joseph Khal

Best Customer Service (Individual)
Fane Levy, Shore Financial

Best Finance Broker
Fane Levy, Shore Financial

Best Residential Broker
Fane Levy, Shore Financial

Rising Star
Parag Dixit, Nfinity Financials
Misa Huynh, Smartmove
Fane Levy, Shore Financial

Best Community Engagement Program
Birdie Wealth
Pink Finance

Best Customer Service (Office)
Shore Financial (North Sydney)

Best Independent Office (more than 5 brokers)
Shore Financial (North Sydney)

Best Independent Office (5 brokers or less)
Birdie Wealth (Miranda)

VIC

Best Aggregator BDM

Foti Apostolidis

Richele Janjatovic

Mentor of the Year
Sam Gawenda, Rising Tide
Pauline Ryan, Loanworx Group

Best Customer Service (Office)
Empower Wealth (North Melbourne)

Best Independent Office (more than 5 brokers)
ARG Finance (Notting Hill)
Inovayt Finance (West Melbourne)

Best Independent Office (5 brokers or less)
Empower Wealth (North Melbourne)
Rising Tide (Docklands)

Best New Office
Energy Lend (Scoresby)

AFG enhances home loan transparency

AFG Head office

Australian Finance Group Ltd (AFG) has raised the bar on transparency for the home loan market, unveiling a new standard that summarises crucial mortgage information in a consumer-friendly format for home loan customers.

Home loans arranged by authorised credit representatives in AFG’s national network of mortgage brokers now require both the customer and the mortgage broker to approve a simple one-page summary that clearly explains why the home loan product is appropriate for the customer.

The concise one-page document spells out to the customer their requirements and objectives, the recommended product, the reasons why the product was selected and any remuneration to be paid by the lender. The document also provides similar material about other products considered before settling on the final product selection.

The new one-page disclosure will be included at the top of the existing AFG National Consumer Credit Protection documents. Attaching the summary on the front page of the credit proposal ensures both the customer and the broker are clear about what is available and why it was selected.

AFG’s move pre-empts the Federal Government’s best interests duty laws currently in the parliament and reinforces to customers that they remain the number one priority for mortgage brokers.

AFG Chief Executive Officer David Bailey said ASIC challenged the mortgage broking sector to source the information and present it objectively and transparently so that customers clearly understand their options.

“Good customer service is embedded in a mortgage broker’s DNA. It’s central to their business model. To demonstrate that we are meeting the best interests test, rather than just complying with the new law when it comes in next year, we are taking proactive steps to demonstrate to customers that they have always been, and remain, the number one priority.

“We are lifting our disclosure obligation to customers and this information is presented in a way that is easy for customers to understand. It eliminates the need to scour reams of pages looking for the detail.

“AFG is not waiting for others to set our agenda. If it’s in the best interests of customers, then we should be doing it today. That’s how the mortgage broker business model works.

“The reality is the new obligations under the proposed best interests duty don’t come as a surprise to most mortgage brokers. A mortgage broker’s business is entirely dependent upon their relationships with customers. Without good customer service a customer will not return to their mortgage broker and they will not refer friends or family. A mortgage broker’s business is built on fostering long-term relationships. In the main, mortgage brokers are small businesses focused on looking after their customer in the hope that word of mouth will open up new opportunities.”

A Deloitte report into the mortgage broking industry shows nearly three-quarters of a broker’s business is generated from referrals1. Mortgage brokers now account for almost six out of 10 home loans lodged in Australia.

“Without an absolute commitment to the customer, it would be impossible for mortgage brokers to carve out such a significant slice of market share,” Mr Bailey said.

One in every 11 home loans in Australia last year was arranged through AFG’s 3000-strong national network of brokers, with settlements of more than $31 billion in the 2018-19 financial year.

“Now that AFG has lifted the bar to further demonstrate our customers are first and foremost, we are looking forward to working with ASIC and the rest of the industry on a regulatory guide to formalise the framework for the best interests duty.”

AFG appoints WA Sales Manager

AFG has today announced the appointment of Anita Lindsay to the role of Sales Manager for Western Australia.

AFG National Manager Strategic Partners and Recruitment, Them Lam, said Anita’s depth of experience in business development will be a valuable asset to the AFG WA team. “Anita joins AFG from NAB and she has a proven track record in strategic business development, new business acquisition, complex portfolio management, and people leadership.

Commenting on her appointment, Anita said she is looking forward to helping AFG brokers in WA grow their businesses. “I’m extremely passionate about customer experience and delivering what matters to brokers to help them be successful, especially in a challenging WA market.”

“We look forward to Anita putting her stamp on the Perth market place with her drive and tenacity and her desire to partner and assist brokers with the growth of their businesses,” concluded Them.

Australian Finance Group prices $500 million RMBS issue

Australian Finance Group Ltd (ASX:AFG) has successfully priced its $500 million AFG 2019-2 Trust Residential Mortgage Backed Securities (RMBS) issue after once again receiving strong oversubscription. This is the second RMBS issue this year for AFG.

AFG Chief Executive Officer David Bailey welcomed the issue. “Building on the success of the 2019-1 issue earlier this year, we are very pleased to see an increase in domestic and international investor participation. The 2019-2 issue represents the first transaction with a deal roadshow to UK investors and the strong demand across domestic and international investors has allowed the deal to upsize from $350 million to $500 million.

“There is a growing understanding of the unique position AFG holds in the RMBS market and the flow on effect that has on our overall portfolio performance.

“As both an originator and a distributor of mortgages, our experience frames our credit policies and lending practices. Our portfolio, 100% broker introduced, has a track record of outstanding performance.

“On behalf of AFG, I would like to express my thanks to our investors for their strong show of support that has enabled the company to issue $1 billion of paper into the market this year. It is also important to acknowledge our brokers, who have demonstrated confidence in our products and service by recommending them to our clients.”

Details relating to the $500M AFG 2019-2 Trust RMBS transaction are below:

Class Issue Size A$(m) Expected Ratings S&P / Fitch Initial Credit Support Interest Rate Expected WAL
A $450.00 AAAsf/AAAsf 10.00% BBSW + 115 bps 2.7yrs
AB $29.25 AAAsf/NR 4.15% BBSW + 175 bps 4.5yrs
B $8.00 AAsf/NR 2.55% BBSW + 205 bps 4.5yrs
C $6.25 Asf/NR 1.30% BBSW + 250 bps 4.5yrs
D $3.15 BBBsf/NR 0.67% BBSW + 375 bps 4.5yrs
E $1.70 BBsf/NR 0.30% BBSW + 575 bps 4.5yrs
F $1.65 NR/NR undisclosed 5.0yrs

Low interest rates and property market recovery drive record home loan activity

Australian suburban street

Home loan activity has rebounded strongly in the September quarter, with interest rate cuts and an active property market driving record mortgage volume, according to the AFG Index released today.

The Index – acknowledged as a reliable barometer of quarterly home loan activity across Australia – revealed a record $15.7 billion in lodgements in the three months to 30 September 2019. Volumes were up 21 per cent on the previous quarter and 11 per cent on the same period last year. More than 29,000 mortgages were lodged, the highest in almost two years.

The renewed momentum has accelerated the shift away from the major banks, with the market share of non-major banks climbing towards 46 per cent, the highest levels since the GFC more than a decade ago.

Multiple interest rate cuts this year combined with changes to serviceability have encouraged buyers back into the market, particularly customers purchasing their first property. First home buyers accounted for 15 per cent of mortgages during the period – the highest level in seven years.

The low interest rate environment has also cemented the trend away from interest-only loans, with record numbers of borrowers looking to pay down debt through a principal and interest loan. During the September quarter, 82 per cent of loans were principal and interest loans, the highest proportion in the history of the AFG Index.

AFG Chief Executive Officer David Bailey said “We have seen a significant change in the home loan market recently. Best-ever quarters in NSW and Victoria – buoyed by these record low interest rates, a rebound in the Sydney and Melbourne markets and changes to lending criteria – have fuelled the recovery in national numbers.

“The shift in sentiment is encouraging. With the impact of further cuts by the RBA yet to flow through the market, we anticipate the improved affordability will see positive momentum continue through to the end of the year and into 2020.

“There is no doubt customers are benefitting from the enhanced competition in Australia’s home loan market. Consumers are continuing to express a desire to seek out competitive offers. First home buyers, upgraders and mortgage holders refinancing have driven the market share of the non-major banks. From the perspective of loan volumes, we are now approaching a 50-50 split between the majors and non-majors. Something unheard of as little as five years ago.

“This represents a fundamental shift in the dynamic between lenders. Consumers are sending a very clear message that they want the choice and the transparency of a competitive home loan market in Australia and mortgage brokers are delivering.”

Non-major banks accounted for 45.9 per cent of lodgements in the September quarter, the highest since 2007. Macquarie Bank and AMP emerged as the big winners among the non-majors taking business away from the larger banks. Both lenders have more than doubled market share in the past 12 months.

Download full report here

AFG founding director Kevin Matthews to retire

Australian Finance Group (ASX: AFG) today announced co-founder Kevin Matthews will retire from his position as a Non-Executive Director after more than 25 years with the business.

Mr Matthews will leave the AFG board effective Monday 28th October 2019.

Mr Matthews founded AFG with Brett McKeon, Malcolm Watkins and the late Brad McGougan in 1994 and has been an integral part of the company from its beginnings in Perth through its national expansion and successful transition to a public company in 2015. He became a Non-Executive Director when AFG listed on the ASX and served on the remuneration and nomination, audit, and risk and compliance committees. He remains among the top 10 AFG shareholders.

AFG Chairman Tony Gill paid tribute to Mr Matthews’ significant contribution to the company and long-term commitment to the wider industry during more than 35 years in the finance sector.

“Kevin has been fundamental to the success of AFG through both his management and board roles. In his time as Executive Director of AFG, he was responsible for negotiating and managing key relationships with banks and lending institutions, product development and the commercial arm of our business.

“Kevin’s passion for the industry and his breadth and depth of knowledge of the market has been an invaluable asset to the company. On behalf of the board, I would like to thank Kevin for his commitment to the company and wish him well in his retirement.

Mr Matthews, who has relocated to London from Perth, said the time was right to step down from the board.

“I am very proud of the achievements of AFG as it has transitioned from a private company to a highly successful listed entity with a national footprint.
“AFG is in great shape and its strong financial standing leaves the business well positioned for future growth, with the flexibility to pursue potential opportunities. I remain very optimistic about the future for both AFG and the mortgage broking sector more broadly.

“The role the mortgage broking channel plays in ensuring true competition in the Australian lending market is vital and I am proud of the leadership position AFG has taken in highlighting the benefits for consumers.”

Mr Matthews is a former director and life member of the Mortgage and Finance Association of Australia (MFAA) and a Senior Fellow of the Financial Services Institute of Australasia (FINSIA).