Newcastle Permanent Building Society (Newcastle Permanent) has deepened its partnership with Athena Home Loans (Athena), with the mutual lender agreeing to invest a further $250 million in mortgage funding into the direct-to-consumer mortgage lender.
In September 2020, the two companies announced their first strategic partnership with Newcastle Permanent agreeing to an initial $300 million investment.
Newcastle Permanent chief executive Bernadette Inglis said the continued partnership with Athena – which has reportedly settled more than $3 billion of mortgages since its 2019 inception – is part of a company strategy to pursue opportunities that leverage its financial strength while also growing the business.
“We are one of the largest customer-owned financial institutions in Australia, with a strong financial position and unique capital strength. This puts us in a great position to seize growth and investment opportunities, like our partnership with Athena,” Ms Inglis explained.
While Newcastle Permanent has increased its investment in the direct channel, Ms Inglis added that it was in addition to its broker arrangements.
“Our purpose is to help Australians purchase homes, directly through Newcastle Permanent’s own highly capable people and through our successful broker network partnerships,” Ms Inglis said.
“Investing in these Athena-sourced, high-quality mortgages complements our own home loan business and our ability to continue to deliver value to customers.
“Athena has consistently demonstrated its commitment to generating high-quality customer outcomes, which made continuing this partnership all the more attractive for Newcastle Permanent.”
The CEO highlighted that the move comes as the customer-owned lender explores new avenues of growth, including a potential merger with Greater Bank, as announced last month.
“We’ve shown we have the appetite and the agility to take bold steps to realise growth and ensure sustainability,” she concluded.
“In a competitive industry with constantly evolving customer expectations and regulatory demands, partnerships like this [with Athena] have a significant impact.”
Athena co-founder and COO Michael Starkey added that the partnership with Newcastle Permanent is delivering growth and competition benefits for the digital lender.
“We are delighted to partner with the forward-thinking and customer-centric Newcastle Permanent,” he said.
“This innovative deal is important in underpinning Athena’s growth and bringing more competition to the Australian mortgage market.”