Non-bank celebrates 20 years of broker support

by Miklos Bolza10 Aug 2017
Non-bank lender Liberty has celebrated 20 years in the business by extending its thanks and providing additional support to its 15,000 broking partners across Australia and New Zealand.

“We’re really proud of how far we’ve come as a business, but we couldn’t have got here without the support of broking partners, who are just as important today as they were when we started. The best part is that we have grown together with a lot of our partners, and that’s what matters most,” said Liberty group sales manager John Mohnacheff.

“Turning 20 is a big milestone – it’s been an exciting journey full of twists and turns. We were one of only a few to continue lending right through the GFC – which is testament to the support for our hard working broking partners during those tough times.”

Since establishment, Liberty has had to grow through a great deal of change, Mohnacheff told Australian Broker.

“The world in 1997 looked nothing like the world in 2017. It was so different. When Liberty started, there might have been several thousand brokers at best. Aussie and AFG were still very young. We had the emergence of PLAN, FAST and other smaller start-ups.”

Until 2007-08, there was a massive proliferation of broker businesses such as Connective and Smartline. After the GFC, the world changed and consolidations between businesses occurred, he added.

“But the biggest change has been the evolution of the consumer engagement with the broker. It was embryonic 20 years ago. Now, nearly 55% of all home loan transactions go through a broker. That has been the single biggest shift that we have seen.”

Twenty years ago, Liberty started with the strategy that it was going to distribute home loans through brokers, Mohnacheff said.

“We weren’t going to have a proprietary channel. There was one there already: the brokers. Brokers provide choice so we said we’d focus on the broker channel and grow with it. And what a great idea it was. We’ve gone from 0.003% market share to nearly 3.0% market share.”

In total, Liberty has written more than $23bn in loans for over 270,000 customers since its establishment. It is now one of the only lenders to offer products across the entire lending spectrum including custom and prime residential, motor, commercial, personal and SMSF loans as well as insurance.

Liberty’s investments in small business lender Moula, Liberty’s own proprietary broker channel Liberty Network Services (LNS), and the recently acquired aggregator National Mortgage Brokers (NMB) demonstrated the company’s focus on building up the broker channel, Mohnacheff said.

A current example of this is the commencement of a consumer focused marketing campaign which further supports Liberty’s broker partners, especially those new-to-industry who are struggling to explain Liberty to clients.

“We’ve helped over a quarter of a million people with loans but it’s time for us to elevate our consumer presence. When a broker is talking to a potential borrower, they’ll have heard the Liberty ad or seen it in the paper. It creates consumer comfort.”

“We’ve always been a push strategist so we were pushing ourselves into the broker space. That’s slowly turning into a pull strategy. As consumers come through the broker, the broker will be comfortable to pull them in and bring them to Liberty. The consumer might even ask for Liberty after hearing the ad.”

Liberty has taken a “free thinking approach” to everything it has done over the past 20 years, Mohnacheff said.

“It’s all well and good to create a product but if nobody wants it, what’s the point? Liberty really prides itself and always strives to find an innovative solution that is relevant to the consumer’s requirements. That means we can’t have set-and-forget, in-the-box policies.”

The free-thinking aspect means removing barriers to home lending for consumers, digging deeper to find a solution that fits with the individual’s unique circumstances.

“There are things that we certainly cannot write. That’s given if you come to us with no deposit, no job, no assets, etc. We’re sorry but that’s a no. However on the credit spectrum between 0% and 100% risk, somewhere there may be a solution. So let’s not have a blinkered approach. Let’s use a little bit of free thinking and find a way.”

Related stories:

Non-bank buys up aggregator

Non-bank releases new loan tracking app

Improved SMSF product opens market to brokers

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