National aggregator AFG said last Friday that AFG Home Loans’ settlements grew 31% to $1.62bn and its loan book increased 40% to reach $6.5bn in the first half of FY18 over the same period last year.
AFGHL has serviced more than 17,000 retail customers and now accounts for 8.7% of AFG’s total residential settlements – up from 7.8% in FY17, said the group.
Lodgments for January 2018 are up 7% on the same month the previous year.
The company said AFGHL’s profit before tax was 97% above the first half of FY17, driven by such factors as increased settlements and improved net interest margin.
At the group level, core residential business saw settlement growth of 6% to $133.6bn from the first half of FY17. The group reported an underlying net profit after tax of $14.4m, up by 11% from same period of FY17.
AFG chief executive David Bailey said non-majors now bring in more than 37% of the group’s flows.
He highlighted the role brokers play in non-majors’ growing share of the lending market at a time of public and regulatory scrutiny.
“Without the distribution network provided by mortgage brokers, non-major lenders would simply not be able to compete, and the competitive nature of mortgage pricing would not exist,” said Bailey.
“Australian consumers would be paying more for their mortgages,” he said.
The group recorded more 2,900 active brokers at end-December 2017, up from the over 2,650 at the end of FY16.
It saw a decline in the number of brokers in Queensland and South Australia from end-June 2017, while the figure was flat for Western Australia.
As Australian Broker reported last month, AFG was said to be building up its focus on its own label of mortgage loans to bolster profit margins. It was reported to have informed its business development managers of the plan, with the view that they and brokers will grow their focus on white label mortgage products.
In his AGM speech last November, Bailey identified growing the penetration of AFG branded products as part of the company's strategy to grow its share of the mortgage broking market.