Lender offers brokers an olive branch and says it's time to move on

Brokers have largely been wary of BOQ since the GFC, but the lender says it's time to move on



BOQ has announced the expansion of its distribution footprint through the acquisition of Virgin Money (Australia) Pty Ltd (VMA), which the lender says is a reinforcement of its intention to re-enter the broker market.

The acquisition delivers BOQ exclusive Australian rights to the Virgin Money. Initially, the licence from the Virgin Group will be for retail financial services for consumers and SMEs, with provisions to expand into corporate financial services.

However, broker scepticism around the lender has remained heavy since BOQ pulled out of the market during the GFC – but BOQ spokesperson, Jamin Smith, tells Australian Broker it’s time to move on.

“We understand that some brokers may have this view.  The reality is that the global financial crisis challenged the regional bank sector, particularly in relation to their ability to access affordable funding, and some very difficult strategic decisions had to be made – we find that most market participants appreciate this.” 

Furthermore, Smith says BOQ’s current management team is committed to providing customer choice and notes that the mortgage broker market is an important part of this. 

#pb# “Our plan is to re-enter the broker market in a cautious and measured way while also seeking feedback from brokers to make sure we get our offering right.  We think that BOQ, which is truly independent of the big banks, will provide choice to brokers and their customers.”

BOQ managing director and CEO, Stuart Grimshaw, says the bank has worked hard to successfully re-establish the fundamentals of its business over the last 18 months and is now expanding its focus to growth.

“The acquisition of Virgin Money Australia immediately delivers increased geographic and income diversity, and allows us to fast track our existing multi-channel distribution strategy through access to an iconic brand and a business with proven capability in online customer acquisition and product distribution.”

Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin, said, says the company sees Australia as one of its most important markets.  

“I am excited that, in partnership with BOQ, we will be able to develop more leading products and distribute them even more widely, so many new customers will get to experience the benefits of Virgin Money.”

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