MKM plugs into the digital age

by MPA10 Aug 2021

MKM has recently embarked on a best-in-class technology upgrade project. The company has rolled out a full suite of ApplyOnline digital solutions and, accordingly, plug-and-play access to the Australian broker channel.

Leading global investment bank and asset manager MA Financial Group (formerly Moelis Australia) acquired a 47.5% stake in MKM late last year. MA Financial Group is injecting substantial funds into the non-bank lender, a portion of which have been applied towards automating and digitising MKM’s electronic lodgement and loan acquisition process. Together, the vision for MKM and MA Financial Group is to become a recognised leader in the non-bank residential mortgage lending space.

“Our partnership with MA Financial Group was principally designed to scale up MKM’s product and origination strategy,” says MKM Managing Director Graham Mendelowitz.

“The combination of MKM’s operational track record combined with MA Financial Group’s balance sheet and corporate presence makes for a strong partnership in terms of us becoming a significant player in the non-bank mortgage space. Of course, part of that scaling up required a technology investment.”

Mendelowitz believes that the decision to choose NextGen.Net as MKM’s technology partner came down to three key specifics.

“One was NextGen’s experience in the marketplace. It’s a long and well-established business that comes very highly credentialled. The second component was our strong sense of their ability to provide us with ongoing support beyond just the implementation. The third element was that they have the entire aggregation market covered. Whilst we have our own relationships with aggregators, NextGen has the ability to connect us with even more broker groups. No other provider in the marketplace has that level of coverage.”

NextGen.Net worked closely with MKM during the set-up.

NextGen.Net Customer Account Manager Mike Ponsonby says MKM initially wanted to confirm that NextGen.Net could service the company’s needs at the same level as it offers the larger lenders it also partners with.

“I assured them that we work with over 60 lenders at all levels and apply the same methodologies and approach and devote the same time and care to all our clients,” he says.

MKM went live with ApplyOnline on 24 June 2021.

“They have a full lodgement experience,” says Ponsonby. “They’ve got ApplyOnline ‘Supporting Docs’, the compliance tab activated, and a digital experience for signatures and borrower ID. So they’ve digitised the broker lodgement experience from end to end.”

Speaking about the way MKM anticipates ApplyOnline will strengthen its relationship with the broker market, MKM Chief Operating Officer Russell Nelms notes, “ApplyOnline currently provides electronic lodgement solutions to over 97% of Australian mortgage brokers and facilitates around 70% of Australia’s loan applications per year.”

Mendelowitz adds, “It will be easier for brokers to submit applications. Up until now brokers have been interacting with us via an email process. Now, having ApplyOnline, a tool they’re all very familiar with, will allow them to submit their applications and lodge their applications
in a much more efficient and effective manner.

“We’ve built a more streamlined, technology-enabled credit-decisioning process that provides greater efficiencies in the processing of applications. This will ultimately extend to our in-house loan management system, which is also being redeveloped to create a modern back-end platform to support fast turnaround times and processing efficiencies.”

Ponsonby says, “MKM recognised the importance of a great broker experience and our ability to help them achieve that. Their focus was on establishing simplicity and a really great digital experience.”

Mendelowitz points to the differentiating factors that set MKM apart and which he says brokers are beginning to pick up on.

“MKM of course accepts normal mainstream borrowers like all the major non-banks.
We differentiate ourselves by being purely a mortgage provider. We don’t offer any other loans. We are focused only on the mortgage space,” Mendelowitz says.

“Within the mortgage space we focus on two sectors. The first is near prime. In that space, aside from competitive interest rates and fees, we’ve got some key points of difference. We accept a number of alternative income sources, and for new businesses we will accept one-day ABNs for self-employed borrowers, for example. We will also lend on land.

“We also lend on partially complete construction, and we’ll consider ‘cash-outs’ for verifiable purposes. Then at a broker level, unlike most lenders we don’t have a commission clawback.”

MKM’s history has been essentially in the specialist end of the market. Together with MA Financial Group, its strategy is to scale up and mainstream the brand into the near prime space.

“Our intention is to have a combination of near prime and specialist products. NextGen and ApplyOnline are supporting
our aspiration,” says Mendelowitz.

“Obviously, if you’re going into the volume space you need your business to have an element of efficiency, and NextGen’s technology will certainly provide that for the broker channel in terms of submitting applications to us and our ability to communicate with the brokers via the ApplyOnline platform.”