Firstfolio’s new chief executive is confident that the troubled mortgage group is beginning to see the benefits of restructuring.
In the six months to 31 December 2014, the group’s loan book declined by $0.5 billion to $17.7 billion.
Firstfolio’s reported net loss after tax was $2.6 million, which included a $4.9 million non-cash adverse movement of its NPV (net present value) net asset and $1.2 million of costs for restructuring and non-recurring items.
Chief executive Peter Andronicos said the business environment continued to be challenging for the company, but it had made important progress in re-engineering the business and positioning its brands for growth, particularly the market-leading eChoice online mortgage platform.
He said it remained a “heavyweight in the industry”, with a $17.7 billion loan book and $3.1 billion in new loans settled in 2014.
“Our new strategy is already getting runs on the board,” Mr Andronicos said.
“We have made important changes that are starting to show in improving business metrics. This builds a stronger foundation for the business heading into the remainder of 2015.”
Mr Andronicos pointed to the 21.9 per cent increase in average monthly settlements in aggregation and broking over the past 18 months, compared to the average of the preceding 18 months.
“The underlying indicators in this business are positive and reflect the work we have done in the last two years,” he said, adding that the first-quarter result reflected an important period of consolidation and transition for Firstfolio.
Costs associated with this restructuring resulted in one-off impacts to the company’s headline result, although the bulk of these were non-recurring.
Last year’s appointment of Mr Andronicos as CEO – who was previously general manager of eChoice – was an important strategic step for the group.
A new business strategy was announced at the November 2014 AGM following his appointment.
Over the six months to 31 December 2014, Firstfolio re-signed and extended its lead generation partnership with Fairfax’s Domain – one of Australia's leading property websites. The group also launched the eChoice Broker Graduate Program.
Further leveraging off the success of eChoice, the company will ask shareholders at a general meeting on 27 March to approve a change of name for the company from Firstfolio Limited to eChoice Limited.