US lender tipped to enter Australian mortgage market

A San Francisco-based online lender is currently recruiting local mortgage professionals, suggesting the group could be making a play in the Australian home loan market.

Social Finance, or SoFi, provides student loan refinancing, personal loans and mortgages in the United States.

Established in 2011, the marketplace lender moved into the American home loan space in 2014 with big plans to grow its mortgage business.

“Our underwriting approach may allow you to qualify for more financing than traditional lenders offer,” the company website states. “We offer flexible down payments ranging from 10-50 per cent, even on jumbo loans.”

SoFi now looks to be preparing to enter the Australian mortgage market after posting three job advertisements on LinkedIn over the last week. The company is hiring a manager, mortgage operations, an operations manager and a marketing manager, all to be based in Sydney.

One job ad states that SoFi is seeking an experienced mortgage operations/underwriting manager who is passionate about the mortgage business and has the skills and experience to lead a team to deliver outstanding results.

“You will be responsible for building out an in-house mortgage customer service and underwriting operation to serve SoFi’s new mortgage business line,” it states.

“Recently ranked as one of the fastest growing fintech companies in the US, we’ve grown from 150 to 600+ employees in the past year and just raised a US$1 billion ($1.3 billion) round of funding.”

SoFi carved out a niche as a fintech lender offering peer-to-peer loans for US college students. However, the group has since moved into the securitisation markets.

In 2013 it became the first P2P lender to complete a public securitisation, which included US$152 million ($202 million) of post-graduate student loans and was underwritten by Morgan Stanley.

Since then the company has completed securitisation deals in consumer loans.

An article in US-based news site Housingwire.com from 12 December reported that SoFi is preparing to launch its first mortgage securitisation.

The article pointed to a presale report from Fitch Ratings, which revealed the certificates are supported by 270 loans with a total balance of approximately US$168.79 million ($224.48 million) consisting of prime fixed-rate mortgages originated by SoFi Lending Corp.

Fellow US-based fintech lender OnDeck entered the Australian SME finance market in April 2015 and last year confirmed plans to begin working with brokers.

[Related: US lender enters Australian market]

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