According to La Trobe Financial’s vice president and chief lending officer, Cory Bannister, the non-bank lender is ramping up to release new products by the end of this year.
Speaking to Mortgage Business, Mr Bannister outlined that the lender had placed its product roadmap – which included new product launches – on hold when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but is ramping up to launch these new products in the second part of the year, to meet growing demand.
Mr Bannister said: “When the virus started, we didn’t withdraw any products from the marketplace, but we certainly curbed our appetite where there was some uncertainty as it was prudent to do that.
“We’re starting to see that relax a little bit now where we have a bit more certainty into the economy, and it has certainly rebounded a lot quicker than we first expected. So, we’re starting to get back to somewhat of a normal product setting.”
Mr Bannister is therefore looking to revisit its product launches “towards the back half of this year”.
According to the chief lending officer, one such product they have been trailing is a bridging finance product, which he suggested had become increasingly relevant since the pandemic hit.
Mr Bannister elaborated: “A product that we have been doing silently in the background and are looking to more publicly launch later this year is a bridging finance product.
“I think this is a product that is going to see growing demand for a couple of different reasons. Firstly, there is a real opportunity to cater for the downsizer market better. I think the pandemic might have scared a few elderly citizens who are sitting on some pretty nice property in the Eastern suburbs, for example, but might have realised that they might not need the backyard with the Hills Hoist [clothes line] anymore, just for two people. So, I think that’s a market that needs catering for.
“Secondly, people’s superannuation has probably taken a bit of a hit throughout COVID-19, so some of our older Australians might see it as a good time to downsize and free up some equity.
“So, we’re looking at those loans on an ad-hoc basis at the moment and a full launch is likely to take place towards the later part of the year to cater to these needs, which will likely continue to play out at the back of this pandemic,” he told Mortgage Business.
Mr Bannister concluded that he believed it was this ability to service a wide market that contributed to its recent win of the Non-Bank Lender of the Year award by Money magazine’s Consumer Finance Awards, which scores lenders across seven attributes: product range, business strength ability to raise lending capital, innovation, corporate transparency, loan quality and customer depth.
He concluded: “We have been in operation for seven decades and have one of the broadest product ranges in the non-bank space, offering unique products that cater for underserved markets.
“Our ability to raise lending capital – for example, we had a transaction that went out in the middle of all this for $1.25 billion – was another strong point, particularly, through this environment. And that’s one of our real points of difference in the non-bank space, our diverse funding model.”
[Related: Non-bank lender issues $1.25bn RMBS]