SME lending a “river of gold”

by Miklos Bolza14 Dec 2017
Mortgage and wealth management franchise Yellow Brick Road (YBR) is positioning itself for a future in which small and medium enterprise lending will play a major role within the financial space.

In an interview with Australian Broker, YBR executive chairman Mark Bouris said that the current push by government into the small business space would transform banking, lending and finance.

“I reckon within three years, every discussion in this country around financial services will, by necessity, include the small business market as a huge market.”

To tap into this growing sector, YBR has been planning its move into SME lending for the past 18 months, seeking suitable products and partnerships to strengthen its panel.

“My personal vision has always been that we become a small business lender, not just for unsecured but for secured as well.”

Bouris said he had been talking with the small business community during this time. This was a sector that was “totally underserviced” by the banks despite being a “river of gold” for the country, he added.

“Everyone keeps talking about them as the engine room of Australia. Right now, I’ve got 1,500 small businesses which are brokers under Vow. Every one of those is a small business owner. And I know it’s not just capital for these guys – they need all sorts of things.”

In his own research through his podcast and conversing with small business owners on social media, Bouris said the sector had a massive demand to grow their businesses but were locked out of the necessary capital.

The first step toward entering the SME space was YBR’s recent partnership with online lender Prospa which will make their products available to both YBR franchisees and Vow brokers.

“It’s going to be rolled out in January next year at our annual conference.”

The transition into SME lending should be simple with YBR already experienced in the small business space, Bouris said.

“We don’t have to do the credit, it’s just the product. So it’s more a matter of identifying small business borrowers and getting them onto the Prospa system.”

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