Specialist lender boasts 52% SME surge

by Miklos Bolza09 May 2017
Bluestone Mortgages has reported a 52% year-on-year increase in the volumes of one of its leading small and medium enterprise (SME) home loan products.

Named Lite Blue, the mortgage is aimed at individuals, companies and trusts which have had an Australian Business Number (ABN) registered for at least 12 months.

“While the market continues to attract start-ups, we’re also seeing more established SMEs seeking alternate financial solutions which align with the increased demand for our Lite Blue product,” said Royden D’Vaz, national head of sales and marketing at Bluestone Mortgages.

“This can be largely attributed to the product’s flexible lending criteria that accepts applicants who have been trading for 12 months, but fall short of the standard 24-month requirement for funding required by traditional lenders.”

The product caters for people who have just started up their business or who have just begun being self-employed D’Vaz told Australian Broker.

To mitigate risk and ensure borrowers can still pay back the loans, Bluestone looks at a range of documentation beyond the simple tax return, he said. This includes bank statements, the business activity statement (BAS), or even getting in touch with the individual’s accountants.

“There are a myriad of things that we use to make sure the risk profile fits and we’re making a good commercial decision. While we may not use the traditional tax return and notice of assessment, what we get actually tells us a bit more.”

In broader terms, 58% of Bluestone’s turnover is attributed to self-employed products. Of these, Blue Lite makes up a majority 80% share which D’Vaz said reflects the true demand within the sector.

With close to 100% of all loans coming through the third party channel, Bluestone has worked hard to provide brokers with products designed to assist and benefit more types of customers including those who are self-employed, he added.

The increased turnover is being met through an expanded national BDM team to ensure brokers receive one-on-one support and extra guidance for brokers.

The expansion involves a complete restructure, D’Vaz told Australian Broker, with BDMs now reporting to newly appointed state managers along the Eastern Seaboard. Three additional BDMs have been hired in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria.

While Bluestone still had representation in South Australia and Western Australia, these states were not growing at the same rates and so will be left as is, he added.

For incoming brokers, Bluestone holds regular workshops in conjunction with the aggregators. These go over how to sell specialist loans as well as the technical details behind these products.

“We help brokers around how to position these types of loans and educate brokers on where to go to find these clients,” he said.

“A lot of their referral partners don’t know that this is available to them. It’s important for brokers to tell their referral partners not to let anyone go; that they can help just about anyone.”

Bluestone also holds regular coffee meetings between five to 10 brokers to go through the opportunities the self-employed and SME lending sector provides.

“We try and let them know that if they don’t take on this opportunity, they’re missing out. They have to diversify their income and not just deal with cookie cutter loans.”

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