New non-bank lender on the scene

by Madison Utley02 Dec 2019

A group of Australian “finance industry veterans” have joined forces to launch into the non-bank SME lending space, with plans to expand into residential lending in the near future.

The team at Azora Finance boasts over 100 years of combined industry experience, comprising of former Pepper Money co-group CEO Patrick Tuttle, former Pepper COO David Holmes, former Virgin Australia group treasurer Philip Sullivan and former Pepper head of credit Andrew Paterson.

Previously trading as the Little Lease Company, the re-branded Azora will initially focus on asset finance for commercial equipment and business vehicles, but has plans to introduce a new SME business loan, as well as a “comprehensive range” of residential home loans and consumer car loans in the first quarter of 2020.

Azora’s initial asset finance product offers equipment and vehicle loans from $2,000 to $60,000, with approvals made within three hours. 

Executive director Patrick Tuttle said, “We are excited to re-launch Little Lease Company as Azora Finance and boost our presence in Australia’s small business lending space.

“With the new branding, we bring a fresh approach to asset finance supported by highly flexible lending criteria, fast turnaround times and a strong technology backbone.

“We [will provide] bespoke, risk-based pricing solutions for business-critical needs – delivering fast, customer focused outcomes for Australian SMEs who are the engine room our economy”.

According to Tuttle, the new product offerings cater to any borrower looking for a more flexible solution than many banks or prime lenders are able to provide, including small business owners, the self-employed and non-conforming borrowers.

“We have built this business around our team, our product flexibility, our speed to approval and our valued broker relationships,” he added.

“This means we can deliver broader and more innovative products to our brokers and customers, industry leading service standards and improved access to finance for small businesses to meet their immediate needs”. 

Azora has a variety of distribution channels, including a national finance broker network, a number of bespoke vendor financing, white-label partnerships and a new direct to market strategy.

“We don’t just want to be another run-of-the-mill lender; we want to make a real difference,” said fellow executive director David Holmes.

“We value our broker relationships and will continue to work closely with them to ensure our product offerings and application and approval processes stand out from the pack. Our lending criteria is always evolving, and we see moving into other areas of lending as a natural extension to our current asset finance offering.”

“The credit quality of our loan book is very strong, providing us with a solid foundation from which to further industrialise the platform and grow market share.”