Firstmac expands stake in BNK Bank

Alliance designed to build growth

Firstmac expands stake in BNK Bank



Privately owned non-bank lender Firstmac has declared a “deeper alliance” with former takeover target BNK Bank, with the expansion of its stake in the business to 19.9% last week.

Firstmac and its associates increased their holdings in BNK (ASX: BBC) after two of its non-executive directors, including John Kolenda (pictured above left), decided to sell down their holdings in the bank.

Kolenda, the head of strategy and growth at MA Financial Group, reduced his holding from 12% to 0.15%, while fellow non-executive director Kar Wing (Calvin) Ng reduced his holding from 7.27% to 4.1%.

Firstmac agreed to purchase both parcels of shares for 70c a share, which will result in Kolenda stepping down from the board of BNK. Ng is due to stay on as a non-executive director.

Firstmac said it had maintained a relationship with BNK for more than 10 years and was deepening the alliance. “We look forward to working in partnership to grow our respective businesses,” it said.

The non-bank said it had excess surplus capital on its books, and that it was pleased to deploy some of this into “solid investments with strong growth prospects” such as BNK Bank.

BNK chief executive Allan Savins (pictured above right), said Firstmac would be an important institutional investor that would strengthen its shareholder base and support the execution of its growth strategy.

From takeover target to partner in growth

BNK Bank was formerly known to the market as Goldfields Money. Starting out as a small, regional credit union in 1982, it made the decision to rebrand its business throughout the course of 2022.

The bank is now aiming to become “a national, digital savvy alternative to traditional banking in Australia,” thanks to the utilisation of what it said is “new and improved technology”.

Under its former brand name, BNK Bank was the subject of a Firstmac cash takeover offer in 2017.

In response, then Goldfields Money announced a surprise merger with mortgage aggregator Finsure, which although it successfully completed, it went on to offload to MA Financial Group in 2021.

BNK announced earlier in March that it was purchasing a A$150m mortgage book from a warehouse financed by Goldman Sachs, for which it provided origination, underwriting and servicing.

The transaction increased BNK’s loan book by 13% to $1.3 billion.

What has your broker experience with the recently rebranded BNK Bank been like so far? Share your thoughts on this topic in the comments section below.

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