The non-bank lending group already operates in Australia, the UK, Spain, Ireland and Asia and has today (16 September) opened its New Zealand business after receiving regulatory approval.
Pepper Money in New Zealand will now offer borrowers prime, near-prime and specialist loans through the adviser network and also on a white label basis through Ascenteon.
It has also reportedly secured a warehouse funding facility with an undisclosed banking partner.
New Zealand-born Aaron Milburn, Pepper Money’s director of sales and distribution in Australia, will become the director of sales and distribution for Australia and New Zealand, heading up the new Auckland-based business.
Mr Milburn commented: “Today’s launch is the culmination of more than a year of close consultation with advisers and intermediaries, lending partners, regulators and borrowers.
“It’s clear there is a gap in the New Zealand market that Pepper Money’s flexible lending products can fill.
“Pepper succeeds because of our technology platform, our focus on customer value and service, and our genuine willingness to tailor mortgages to each borrower’s unique circumstances.
“We are the lender for real-life situations – we look for reasons to lend to, not decline borrowers. We’ll be doing the same here and we’re very confident Kiwis will embrace our proposition,” Mr Milburn added.
Speaking to Mortgage Business, Mr Milburn noted that the business will be run 'by Kiwis, for Kiwis".
He explained: “The New Zealand housing market is realy quite a different market to Austrlaia. It has to be really understood well; you cant just lift and shift an Australian model into New Zealand because it simpy doesn't work. You have to have New Zealanders on the ground that understand the New Zealand market and can solve the challenges that are over there. That's why our strategy is 'For Kiwis, by kKwis'.
“So, it's really, really important to us that we have a team of Kiwis on the ground over there but also a Kiwi management team. We are really passionate about helping New Zealadners and we feel that having a Kiwi team deliver the service over there is the right way to go."
Michelle Sargeant, national sales manager, has relocated to Auckland and will head up the day-to-day sales operations in New Zealand, while Pepper Money in New Zealand will also have a NZ BDM team and an on-shore credit team, based in Auckland.
Mario Rehayem, CEO of Pepper Group in Australia, commented: “Our expansion into New Zealand is a mark of confidence in Pepper’s business model and our ability to execute on strategic growth initiatives.
“The New Zealand arm of Pepper will embrace the local culture whilst staying true to the DNA of Pepper’s renowned global credit proposition – putting the borrower first. That focus has underpinned our success in every market we have entered, and we look forward to having a significant impact on New Zealand’s mortgage lending market.”
[Related: Non-bank to roll out ‘green mortgage’ scheme]
Annie Kane is the editor of The Adviser and Mortgage Business.
As well as writing about the Australian broking industry, the mortgage market, financial regulation, fintechs and the wider lending landscape – Annie is also the host of the Elite Broker and In Focus podcasts and The Adviser Live webcasts.